Getting behind better seating at performing arts venues

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
March 14, 2019 - 5:00am Updated: March 14, 2019 - 11:00am
Sagebrush Theatre
Sagebrush Theatre Image Credit: Andrew Cooper

I MAY BE GETTING AHEAD of myself on this one but I have an early request for the new performing arts centre — if it ever gets off the ground, of course.

It’s about buttocks.

Frankly, the seating at both the Coast Conference Centre and the Oasis Church theatres are much better than at the Sagebrush.

Chairs at neither the hotel’s theatre nor the church are as expensive as the Sagebrush but their roominess is a welcome blessing.

Sitting at the Sagebrush is like cramming yourself into an Economy class jet plane. The ordeal begins when you have to cross over in front of somebody. They have to stand; you have to stretch your legs delicately past them, trying not to step on their feet.

Once ensconced, your knees are locked in place for the duration with no chance to stretch. During the break, the ritual of removing yourself from the sardine can repeats the exercise.

In short, seating at the Sagebrush is gawdawful. It was, after all, originally intended to cram several hundred students into high school assemblies.

Having attended both Western Canada Theatre’s Buddy Holly production at the Coast facility, and the Kamloops Symphony’s concert at the Oasis, I can report that in comparison to the Sagebrush, in both cases it was a treat.

In both the hotel and the pew seating at the church, there’s more than adequate legroom to get comfortable. It’s like travelling First Class compared to the Yoga-like contortions you have to perform at the Sagebrush.

So, no rush in getting repairs done at the Sagebrush. And to those lobbying for a new performing arts centre, please don’t try to cram too much seating into it at the expense of comfort.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at


Editor's Note: This opinion piece reflects the views of its author, and does not necessarily represent the views of CFJC Today or the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group.