The Soo Theatre closed in 2017, and the formation of the City of Weyburn Youth Council followed not long after. From the beginning of the youth being given an impactful voice in this capacity, their message was clear that Weyburn needed a new theatre.

Now, the Weyburn Youth Council's name is on the first sponsored star for the Prairie Sky Co-op Walk of Fame, which will be an inlaid tile as part of the concession floor in the future Spark Cinema.

While the Weyburn Theatre Community Service Cooperative came about with help from the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce, Weyburn Regional Economic Development, Theatre board member Ryan Janke said the Youth Council was the driving force behind having those conversations in the first place.

"They were the ones who said, 'what we're missing is a movie theatre. The thing that we need to have, that we don't have in our community, is that'. And they wouldn't give up. People would give them all kinds of reasons why it was never going to happen, why it wouldn't work, and they wouldn't take no for an answer until finally we got the ball rolling," said Janke.

Weyburn's first Youth Mayor, Landon Field, was in Weyburn for the unveiling of the star.

"This is something that we discussed back in 2018 after the theatre closed. We knew that it was important to have engagement from youth in the community, and I think that this is a really great project and a good undertaking that really shows really the leadership in the City that's existed already to allow the youth to bring forward their ideas, and I think it's a testament to Jeff Richards and past counselors Dick Michel, who really allowed the Youth Council to start in the community, and then it just has grown from there and it's really awesome to see that it's continued into a real tangible project like this."

"It's really great to see that this is something that's continued and that the Council has allowed this to continue, and the work of City staff, as well, just reaching out and staying connected with everybody," said Field. "But it's great to see that it's still engaged in the community and people want to share their opinions."

Former Youth Mayor Dalton Molnar said the idea began to snowball after COVID. 

"There were lots of kids who were realizing that a lot of the fun things that were happening in Weyburn and were slowly beginning to close down, and this was one in particular that we really wanted to fight for. Everybody in the community, youth-wise, wanted to see this movie theatre back in town, so it was super important to us to advocate with City Hall and with other counsellors as well, in order to get this project up and running."

Current Youth Mayor Nikola Erasmus said, "This project is more than just a building. It's about restoring a community space where memories will be made, especially for the youth in our community. We are honoured to contribute and excited to see the impact this new theatre will have on our city."

Erasmus has been a member of the WTCS for three years, as long as she has been part of the Weyburn Youth Council. She said that while the tile created for the presentation is a place-holder for the time being, it gives a good idea of how the tiles will look inlaid as part of the floor in the lobby.

"They'll be either epoxied or cemented into the ground," she noted. "They're there forever, so even if it's 'in memory of' or just like a family keepsake to have in the theatre, it's a really good idea that the Theatre Cooperative had. I really like it."

Erasmus said she hopes to see others inspired to donate to the project by seeing the inaugural star.

"You can go to the Theatre page and donate there. There's still seats open and the stars are $2,500, the seats are $500 and we're really looking for donations to help get this off the ground, and just to start construction and break ground pretty soon."

"It's been a good seeing how the theatre has developed, because when I joined, it was just an idea, and it was in the early planning stages. But now it's really good to see that the building's down, and a lot has happened in the three years since I've been on the theatre board. They're really making a lot of progress. So I'm really excited to see it." 

WTCS board treasurer Sean Purdue said, "The [Youth Councillors] have provided us with valuable insights from one of the key demographics eventually using the new facility. We share their passion for making Weyburn a better place to live and truly appreciate their enthusiasm for this project. We are thankful for their support and hope this encourages others to follow their lead through sponsorship of a star, seat, or another element of this project." 

Find the WTCS website HERE.