The Port Theatre Society is a not-for-profit performing arts centre.

The City of Nanaimo formed The Port Theatre Society in 1989 to build an 800-seat theatre on the breathtaking waterfront in downtown Nanaimo. The Port Theatre opened in September of 1998, thanks to grants from the Federal/Provincial Infrastructure Works Program and an outstanding level of community support. Of the $13.1 million budget, $8.6 million came from the Infrastructure Works program. The remaining $4.5 million was from individuals, service clubs and corporate donations, the City of Nanaimo and Regional District Areas A, B, C, D and E.

The purpose of The Port Theatre Society is to stimulate and enhance artistic, cultural and economic activity of central Vancouver Island. The theatre is a focal point for residents and visitors alike, offering a broad range of cultural events designed to meet many diverse interests and needs. Programs involve local groups as well as touring attractions and provide access to events for families, seniors, youths and adults, thereby enriching the overall quality of life in the region. A landmark on the city's waterfront, it also serves as an important meeting place for a variety of community events, seminars and educational conferences. Over 250 events are held in the theatre each year attracting over 100,000 people.

Architect of The Port Theatre, Terry Williams' goal was to build a theatre that had good sight lines from all seats, excellent acoustics and a wonderful sense of intimacy. Audiences have raved about these features since it opened. 


Main Features

  • 804 seats in total (604 on the main level and 200 in the balcony)
  • 28 seating areas accessible without stairs
  • Excellent viewing from all seats
  • Maple panels and cement walls enhance acoustics.
  • The first two rows of seats sit on the orchestra lift. With the push of a button the lift goes down, the seats are removed and there is room for up to 34 musicians in the orchestra pit.
  • We can also put the lift at the stage level which creates a thrust stage out into the audience chamber.
  • The sprung stage floor is built to withstand many tons of rolling scenery and yet is soft enough for dancers not to hurt themselves while jumping.
  • The theatre has 48 line-sets for stage draperies, lights and scenery.
  • The deep stage allows lots of room for performers and sets.
  • Stage proscenium arch is adjustable: from 42 to 48 feet wide.
  • Minimum of 12 computerized pieces of equipment to operate lighting & audio systems.


  • Backstage dressing rooms on first and second levels.
  • Greenroom, Artist Lounge where lunch and dinner is served to performers and technical crews.
  • Loading Dock/Receiving Area: The loading dock can hold two 48' semi trailer trucks for loading and unloading scenery, props, costumes and sound gear. This area is level with the stage and lobby for ease and efficiency.

Harmac Pacific Room
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  • Available for private receptions, workshops, seminars, pre or post show events. 

Additional Services

  • Hearing assistance devices available
  • Bus and car pull-in areas for easy passenger service
  • Parking lot connected to Port TheatreTicket Centre on north side of Theatre Lobby
  • Coat Check at Audience Service Desk
  • Bar Service on both levels
  • Lost and Found
  • Direct Taxi line