Rio Theatre launches petition to save its East Vancouver cultural space

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      An East Vancouver live performance venue, which is also one of Vancouver's last surviving single-screen theatres, is facing an uncertain future.

      Although the Rio Theatre's operators have an eight-year lease, the property at East Broadway and Commercial Drive, which includes the 80-year-old building that the theatre is housed in, has been put up for sale.

      In an effort to save the theatre, its operators are seeking to make an offer to buy the building. Their deadline is Feburary 6.

      They've also launched a campaign to save the theatre, by starting an online petition today (February 1) to gather signatures to show Vancouver's support for this venue as a valued cultural space, which has presents film screenings and live performances, including music concerts, standup comedy, burlesque shows, and more.

      "While the City of Vancouver has made provisions that a developer would have to include a 'movie theatre' in a new building, this does not ensure the same size, or that it would have live performance space," the petition states. "And during construction, East Van would be left with a cavernous hole in the ground, staff would lose their livelihoods, and thousands of patrons and performers—like you—would lose a beloved cultural space."

      Anyone who is interested in buying a part of the building can contact Rio proprietor Corinne Lea.

      The theatre has worked through challenges before, as in 2012 when its operators waged and won a battle with the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch to receive a license that would allow them to serve liquor at their live events. The Rio will celebrate its 10th anniversary this May.