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Nat Christie Centre

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Citadel Theatre

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Citadel Theatre

The Citadel Theatre began in the mind of founder Joseph Shoctor as he gazed out the window of his downtown office building. Directly across the street was a vacant Salvation Army building, and its potential seemed obvious. Shoctor bought the building and enlisted the help of a few of his friends, formed a board of directors and was able to raise enough money to begin remodeling the structure.

The Citadel Theatre opened in 1965 with Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The production garnered rave reviews and attracted the attention of many Edmontonians. In the Citadel's early days, Shoctor and his partners would often carry subscriptions with them, attempting to recruit anyone who would listen. Their efforts paid off and by the end of the first year, they had sold 1,300 subscriptions.

The new theatre's popularity remained consistent, outgrowing its location in 10 years. In 1976, the Citadel moved operations to its current location in the heart of the Arts District in downtown Edmonton. There are five theatres in the building: the Shoctor Theatre; the Maclab Theatre; the Rice Theatre; the Ziedler Theatre; and the Tucker Ampitheatre which is located in the beautiful indoor tropical gardens of the Lee Pavillion. There is also a Box Office, a bookstore, and a restaurant. The Citadel produces 13 productions a year, which has amounts to over 900 performances attended by over 100,000 people. The Citadel is Canada's largest, non-commercial regional theatre.

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Joe Shoctor talks about why the success of the Citadel Theatre has depended largely on good luck and timing.
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