Sign up for our newsletter

About

the theatre

The Westdale screens art and independent films, and provides an intimate cultural space for public performances and exhibitions, showcasing Canadian and world content. The Westdale is a fully licensed and fully accessible theatre with described video and closed captioning technology.

westdale cinema group

The Westdale Cinema Group is a charitable corporation that owns and manages Hamilton’s premier repertory cinema and arts venue at the historic Westdale Theatre.

History

The Westdale Theatre has been an important part of Westdale (Canada’s first planned neighbourhood) since it opened in 1935. It was the first theatre in Hamilton built expressly to show sound motion pictures. The theatre remained in operation until it was put up for sale in December of 2016. The newly incorporated Westdale Cinema Group (WCG) submitted an offer to purchase the building that was accepted on January 27, 2017.

The full purchase and restoration budget was raised in Hamilton, by Hamiltonians, both residents and the City of Hamilton. After over 18 months of restoration and modernization of services (washrooms, wheelchair access, heating and air conditioning, etc.), the theatre reopened its doors on February 14th, 2019 as a cultural hub showcasing films, talks, music, performance and special events.

Vision

The Westdale will be a community-based cinematic, cultural and economic hub for Westdale Village, the City of Hamilton and the surrounding region.

The Westdale Mission and Objectives:

 The Westdale is a community-based cinematic, cultural, and economic hub for the Westdale Village, the City of Hamilton, and surrounding regions. Under this vision, The Westdale screens art and independent film, focussing strongly on Canadian content; engages the public through live cultural events in an intimate setting; and utilizes the arts as a vehicle for educating (learning through the arts) and connecting (through participatory activities) through community arts programming. Our primary fields of activities are rooted in the arts, which include cinematic presentation, artistic presentation (on screen, stage, and exhibition), and community-based arts creation, production, and dissemination in performance, media, and visual arts.

 Cinematic Presentation: 

  • Films selected for screening are thoughtfully curated, ensuring we show the best of independent films and documentaries, interweaved with cinematic classics and all-time favourites, giving special attention to showcasing diverse Canadian works; and
  • Feature interactive talks, Q&As, and demonstrations to accompany select films with filmmakers, industry experts, and special guests
 
Artistic Presentation:
 
•Feature a dynamic range of live stage performances and series of Canadian greats as well as international talents; from musicians, to dance, to comedic acts, to magicians, and beyond;
•Feature an artist’s lounge that showcases the work of local visual artists during seasonal exhibitions, as well as, work created during community-based arts programming;
•Feature artist-talks and literary readings;
•Support the work of non-profit organizations by providing use of our theatre (such as the Hamilton Fringe Festival, AGH Film Fest, Arts Fest, etc.); and
•Contribute to the cultural and economic development of the Westdale Village and all of Hamilton by attracting over 350 attendees to each event and the area.

 Community-Based Arts Creation:

•Link community groups and community members with artists in a collaborative creative process (SACHA, YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters Hamilton, Environment Hamilton, centre francophone Hamilton, Jewish Federation, McMaster University, etc.);
•Use art to explore commonalities and differences;
•Encourage the inclusion of diverse cultural groups;
•Position art as a maker of creative cities;
•Provide access to the process of art creation; and 
•Provide employment opportunities to artists and cultural workers.