History of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre
The Queen Elizabeth Theatre opened on July 5, 1959, with a concert by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Later that month, Queen Elizabeth II attended a concert at the theatre and officially gave it her name.
The impact of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on the local live entertainment scene was profound. By 1962, major users of the QET included the Vancouver Opera Association, the Vancouver International Festival, the Vancouver Symphony Society, World Adventure Tours, and Famous Artists Limited.
Vancouver's proximity to Seattle helped American promoters extend their western tours of Broadway shows by booking at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
In the 1960s, serious efforts were made to correct some of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre's flaws. Studies were done to improve the acoustics and the air conditioning, and a new shell was built for the Symphony.
The City decided to move ahead with major renovations when Vancouver was named as the host of Expo 86. The work included altering some existing spaces, and creating new ones to modernize the technical facilities and public areas.
In 1985 and 1986, alterations changed the look of the lobby. The original clean, understated design was replaced with shimmering reflective surfaces, broader columns, and more textured finishes. The theatre lobby was further altered by the construction of the new control room and by banners installed to camouflage the beams beneath the mezzanine.
A number of improvements were made to the theatre's public amenities in 1991 and 1992. Washrooms were expanded, a new concession bar was built in the lobby, and the theatre restaurant was renovated.
A long range capital plan for the three civic theatres was authorized by Council in July 1994, and a strategic plan was prepared by the architects. In the work done in 1996, two elevators were added to the west lobby of the QET, and the entry off of Hamilton Street was redesigned. In 1999, the QET added the salons, which can be rented for conferences and other functions.
In November 2009, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre unveiled a new look following a four-phase renovation which totally changed the auditorium and lobby spaces. Opening the lobby spaces created the new Queen Elizabeth Theatre Art Gallery. New theatre seating and acoustically improved panels in the auditorium provide a more vibrant, theatrical venue for all.