Indian Head Theatre & Community Arts

Organization size: Medium
Discipline: Theatre
Location: Indian Head, Saskatchewan

Indian Head Theatre & Community Arts and RMIS Engineering Partnership

The small rural community of Indian Head with a population of less than 2,000 has come together to revitalize their local opera house. The historic site was built in 1904 and has been a staple in the community for over 100 years. Indian Head Theatre & Community Arts Inc., an organization comprised of united community members, purchased the historic Indian Head Opera House in February 2014 in an attempt to restore the building to the catalyst it once was. To more accurately represent the role it aims to serve in the community, the building was renamed “The Grand Theatre”.

Upon acquiring the property, the organization recognized the building required significant structural repairs to the original roof system as part of the restoration. As such, the board of directors approached a local resident who works for RMIS Engineering to ask for engineering advice. Shortly after that conversation, RMIS selected Indian Head Theatre & Community Arts Inc. as their charity of choice and became one of their first donors.

Indian Head Theatre & Community Arts Inc. later participated in the artsVest sponsorship program for two cycles raising over $75,000 through community partners. The artsVest program helped both organizations recognize the value in sponsorship, leading RMIS’s transition to their current sponsorship role and provided a range of new benefits for both partners.

Through their partnership, both organizations were able to better serve their communities, develop a friendship, and most importantly were able to save one of the oldest theatres in Canada.

“Since I am a local resident to Indian Head, in the summer, at our cottage at Katepwa Lake, we frequently attended movies at the theatre prior to the initiation of the partnership. I was always impressed with the nostalgic feelings the theatre brought to me. It reminded me of simpler times when small-town theatres were central to the fabric of the community. Since I spent large portions of my childhood in a small town, it kind of felt like home.”


- Percy Crossman, President & Senior Engineer
RMIS Engineering

The Grand Theatre

Indian Head Theatre & Community Arts Inc. is a group of individuals that have been working since June 2013 to ensure that Indian Head has a theatre and creative arts centre for years to come. When the Grand Theatre was built in 1904, it was known as the Indian Head Opera House and was the only opera house between Winnipeg and Vancouver and was used for plays, music productions, Chautauqua and splendid balls. In 1938, as the opera era closed, the building was sold and used for silent pictures thanks to the addition of a projection room and new talkie equipment. After several changes in ownership, the community purchased the theatre in February 2014 and renamed it “The Grand Theatre”.

The group intends to create a robust, financially self-sustaining movie theatre and performing & creative arts centre run by, and responsive to the needs of the citizens of Indian Head. It is their vision to own and operate the Grand Theatre and eventually restore it to its historic roots. While Indian Head is in need of a theatre, the building will offer much more as a cultural centre for Indian Head and district. In addition to weekly movies, the theatre will be a home for live theatre, dance performances, concerts, lectures, conferences, film festivals, and other community uses.

RMIS Engineering

RMIS is a Saskatchewan and Manitoba-based professional engineering consulting firm.  Since 1994, RMIS has specialized in the design and management of commercial roofing systems, building envelope systems and fall protection systems.  Their services include condition assessments, detailed design, tendering, project management, inspections, maintenance and repair.

RMIS believes in making a strong commitment to the communities in which they live. They demonstrate this belief in the provision of services to various non-profit charitable organizations and church groups by helping them make informed decisions regarding roof systems.  RMIS believes in supporting owners of Heritage type properties who often face significant challenges in the restoration and maintenance of their facilities. As in many circumstances and despite their best intentions, volunteer-based organizations undertake restoration works that may have negative long-term consequences to a historic structure.

Due to the expertise, RMIS has developed in this area, they feel an obligation to lend a hand to support these communities driving the restorations to ensure the long-term viability of facilities like the Grand Theatre while maintaining their historic appeal. Their support is often in the form of in-kind technical services and donations of materials to complete remedial repairs and restorations.


About the Partnership

RMIS Engineering provided Indian Head Theatre & Community Arts Inc. with engineering support at no cost while supplying materials and labour for removal and repair of all of the low-sloped roofs (about 25% of the entire roof). The last portion of the roof was finished in October 2017 meaning that for the first time in decades there will be no leaks in the building and that the sound system will be good for another 100 years.

“We could not believe our good fortune … and this was the start of a partnership and friendship as we started to repair or replace the entire roof system.”

- Dr. Bruce Neill, Chairperson
The Grand Theatre

Benefits to Grand Theatre

  • in-kind assistance from RMIS over the last three years with an estimated value of over $100,000
  • initial sponsorship-leveraged cash from artsVest grant
  • no cost engineering support, providing materials and labour for removal and repair of all of the low-sloped roofs (about 25% of the entire roof)
  • increase in credibility and support for grant applications and donor drives
  • setting an example for other trades and businesses to embrace meaningful causes

Benefits to RMIS

  • recognition in the Grand Theatre’s sponsorship program as their “Premier Builder”
  • verbal and written recognition on social media
  • on-screen advertising in the Theatre
  • advertising in monthly flyers, posters and at live events
  • complementary live event tickets and movie passes
  • increased recognition with the Heritage Community in Saskatchewan
  • increased pride amongst employees as individuals and as a team