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The Port Theatre’s 25th Anniversary

Wed Sep 13th @ 7:30 pm

SILVER JUBILEE – The Port Theatre’s 25th Anniversary
September 13, 2023 @ 7:30pm

The Port Theatre is a beautiful 800-seat theatre, proudly co-managed by The City of Nanaimo and The Port Theatre Society, that opened its doors in 1998.

Join us for a wonderful night as we look back at all our special moments. Enjoy live performances followed by a reception where you’ll connect with others who care deeply about the Port Theatre. Chat with founding members and champions of Arts & Culture who made all this happen, and meet our current team who are taking us forward in this next exciting stage of our journey!

Thank you for 25 years of support! We’re very grateful to all our donors, funders, board members, staff, sponsors, volunteers, community partners, and patrons. Let’s celebrate this landmark and all we’ve accomplished together.

Thanks to our Anniversary Sponsor

Meet the Guest Performers for the evening:


National Anthem  – Agasha Mutesasira & Nico Rhodes

Agasha is from Uganda and has lived on the Island for 4 years. They graduated last year with a bachelor in hospitality management, outside of work and school music is their passion. Agasha started singing and writing songs from the age of 10. The type of music that interests her varies from RNB / soul, Rap and Afrobeat. Agasha feels blessed to have 3 singles released on all streaming platforms, with the most recent one called, Take Time. Her goal is to be able to perform more and is excited to share the stage with everyone tonight.

Nico Rhodes is a musician who inhabits all styles, genres, and eras of music. As a music director, Nico has conducted over 40 professional musicals across Canada. As an arranger and orchestrator Nico has scored for choir, big band, symphony orchestra, and more. An active performer, Nico collaborates with Juno award winner Rick Scott, Joelle Rabu, Ken Lavigne, and others. A composer as well, Nico has over 400 original works, many written for his fantasy music commission business Off the Beaten Path.

Having started music at the age of 4, Nico’s formative years were spent learning from his mother Joelle Rabu, local musicians and attending shows with his late father Dusty Rhodes. Many of these moments took place within these very walls. Nico sang at the opening of the theatre in his mom’s choir, watched shows from backstage with his father, who would be working crew. Tagged along with the house technicians to learn the ins and outs of sound, stage, and lights. All his performances (as pianist, arranger, and singer) with the VIS started here, and just last year Nico premiered several new choral arrangements and music directed the band for Nanaimo Sings! As well, he premiered his first ever duo piano show, Piano Heist, to a packed Port Theatre crowd. He is so grateful to this theatre, and to all those who continue to make it thrive.

Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design

Ay Lelum is a second-generation Coast Salish Design House and Recording Artist from Nanaimo, BC. Sisters, Aunalee and Sophia, record music in Hul’q’umi’num language and English as part of the design process for each collection, capturing the essence of Coast Salish culture through art, language, music, and wearable art garments. They feature Traditional Coast Salish Art by their Father Dr. William Good and Brother Joel Good from the Snuneymuxw First Nation in each collection, making it a modern form of storytelling.

Their music is inspired by cultural teachings, stories, songs and artwork taught by their father, where they feature him while following strict cultural protocols. Each song has a unique attribute, like having a family member participate, using traditional instruments, and non-conventional instruments like the sound of carving wood, wool strands or spinning wool incorporated into the beats produced by Rob the Viking. They combine ancient and traditional art forms with modern garments and beats, while designing their collections for the runway in conjunction with each song.

Ay Lelum has been awarded the 2018 Indigenous Business of the Year Award in their category through the BC Achievement Foundation, a City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award in 2021 and has showcased at numerous Fashion Weeks since their debut in 2018, including New York Fashion Week.

Vibrant Dance Studios presents Royelle – directed by Carlo Atienza

Vibrant Studios, also known as VIBE, has had the honour of performing at The Port Theatre for the studio’s year-end shows for over 14 years now.  VIBE is known for our hip hop and styles of street dance like break dance, animation and popping, however we also have some wonderful ballet options, contemporary, and jazz.

Royelle  is a crew of 5 girls, under the direction of Carlo Atienza: Deeya Sharma, Sarah O’Brien, Olivia Rockall, Jorja Moore, Aili Wilson

Thank you so much for this opportunity, we are truly grateful to have been included in this wonderful event.

Joelle Rabu & Nico Rhodes

Over the past 4 decades, Joëlle has toured throughout 5 continents, she has been awarded 2 Jessie Awards, a Juno nomination, has recorded 8 albums, performed for royalty, and gave birth to, as she puts it, her best production yet: Nico Rhodes.

Joëlle has made several guest appearances with major symphony orchestras across Canada and the USA and has starred in numerous theatre productions. She is also the recipient of Nanaimo’s 2005 Excellence in Culture award, the 2003 BC’s Touring Artist of the Year award and most recently, Queen Elizabeth’s 70th Jubilee – Arts and Music Achievement award.

Joëlle and her late husband, Dusty, made Nanaimo their home in 1994. Both worked on the Port stage countless times. Dusty as a stage technician and Joëlle as a performer. In 1996, she sang at the ground-breaking ceremony and continued to champion the building of this theatre by participating in myriad fundraising campaigns. Two years later, her bilingual choir, The Young Island Voices, perform at the opening ceremonies.

Over the years, the Port stage has seen Joëlle produce dozens of events, perform countless concerts, MC her fair share of shows, and lend a hand backstage.

Musicians of the Vancouver Island Symphony

James Mark (violin), Alexandra Lee (cello), Emily Nagelbach (flute), Melissa Goodchild (clarinet), Stevan Paranosic (trumpet), Karen Hough (horn), Jonathan Eng (percussion), and Nico Rhodes (piano)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) – Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, Prélude
Michael Giacchino (b. 1967) – “Married Life” from Up
Georges Bizet (1838-1875) – “Danse bohème” (Gypsy Dance) from Carmen

The Vancouver Island Symphony is one of only two professional orchestras on Vancouver Island. Our home is at The Port Theatre where they have presented 7-10 concerts annually for the past 25 years. For 18 years, over 2000 elementary school students attend a special Symphony Education Show at the Port Theatre. 3 Artistic Directors have all performed on The Port Stage: Marlin Wolfe, Pierre Simard and Cosette Justo Valdes. In 2012, the VIS received the City of Nanaimo’s Excellence in Culture Award. In 2018, the VIS received the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Business Award for Arts & Entertainment.

The VIS released an album in March 2020 entitled A Quinary featuring five concerti commissioned by the VIS over a 5-year period. The album was recorded at The Port Theatre. In 2020, A Quinary was nominated for 4 Western Canadian Music Awards: Classical Artist/Ensemble of the Year; Composer of the Year nominations to Dorothy Chang and Stephen Chatman (who did win this award) and the VIS was also nominated for Community Excellence Award.

Tickets on sale now!
Adults $25 | Members & Students $20

Performance Sponsors

The land on which the theatre is built was gifted to The City of Nanaimo by the Snuneymuxw First Nation. We’re very grateful for the opportunity to live, work, dance, and celebrate the Arts on this traditional territory.

hay ce:p q̓a.

Thanks to our funders… investors in the Arts!


Wed Sep 13th
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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The Port Theatre Main Stage
125 Front Street
Nanaimo, British Columbia Canada
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