Inside the World's Most Isolated Theater

Getting to the Patricia in British Columbia involves a complicated combination of cars and ferries.

Getting to Powell River, a small town in British Columbia along its Sunshine Coast, includes a complicated combination of cars and ferries. For the 13,000 people who do live there, entertainment options are limited. This makes its last remaining theater all the more important.

The Patricia first opened its doors in 1913. Named after the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, it was the mill town's first theater, showing not only silent films but also vaudeville acts, concerts and boxing matches. The original wood structure was replaced by a brick and stucco structure in 1928 so that spectators would no longer have to worry about high winds or flying bats.

The Patricia outlived the competition that followed, including two drive-in theaters and two full sized 35mm projection theaters. But even as the only theater in town, it deteriorated and nearly closed until Ann Nelson and her son, Brian bought it in 2002. They've slowly restored it since then, which is great for locals. The next closest place to catch a film is an hour ferry ride away

Compelled by the theater's story, Reuters photographer Andy Clark recently made the trip to Powell River to see the Patricia in its restored glory, an establishment that has entertained locals in a variety of ways for a century now:

A view of The Patricia Theatre in Powell River, British Columbia November 2, 2013. (REUTERS/Andy Clark) 
Cinema owner Brian Nelson waits for a movie to download into a digital projector (R) while leaning on one of the old projectors at The Patricia Theatre in Powell River, British Columbia November 2, 2013. The old 35mm projectors are no longer used following the installation of the new digital projector earlier in the year. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
Brian Nelson changes the marquee late in the evening in preparation for the following day at The Patricia Theatre in Powell River, British Columbia October 31, 2013. 
People use flashlights and wear newspapers on their heads while watching a late night screening of the movie "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at The Patricia Theatre on Halloween in Powell River, British Columbia October 31, 2013. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
Kathy Piechotta vacuums the aisles of The Patricia Theatre prior to an afternoon matinee in Powell River, British Columbia October 31, 2013. The theatre is open 364 days of the year and shows about 87 different movies a year. (REUTERS/Andy Clark) 
A row of original seats from 1928 sit on permanent display at the front of The Patricia Theatre in Powell River, British Columbia November 2, 2013. The current seats were made in the 1940s and were taken from a theatre in Vancouver that was being renovated several years ago. (REUTERS/Andy Clark) 
An old Hollywood Studio directory from 1918 is seen at The Patricia Theatre in Powell River, British Columbia November 1, 2013. The theatre had gathered a large collection of such books over the years but were all sold by the theatre owner in the 1990s. Many of the books including this one have been returned since then by local residents who bought the books year ago. (REUTERS/Andy Clark) 
Cinema owner Ann Nelson holds up an original slide from the movie Casablanca inside The Patricia Theatre in Powell River, British Columbia October 31, 2013. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
Local member of the Provincial Legislature Nick Simons is reflected in grand piano while rehearsing on his cello with pianist Helena Sandler for a Sunday afternoon concert at The Patricia Theatre in Powell River, British Columbia November 1, 2013. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
Master of ceremonies Kevin Cook warms up the audience with jokes during a vaudeville show at The Patricia Theatre in Powell River, British Columbia November 2, 2013. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
Scarlet Mary Rose puts on a burlesque performance during a vaudeville show at The Patricia Theatre in Powell River, British Columbia November 2, 2013. Many local residents put on the performances to help celebrate the theatre's 100th anniversary. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
Cinema owners Ann Nelson and her son Brian pose in the window of The Patricia Theatre in Powell River, British Columbia November 2, 2013.  (REUTERS/Andy Clark)

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