Ford Centre reopens with new name

Trevor Hughes, The Arts Report

Vancouver - The Ford Centre for the Performing Arts, which has been dark for three years following the collapse of former owner Livent, reopens Wednesday with a new name and a new show.

Rechristened the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts, the hall plays host to Of Heaven and Earth , an "action/musical" that combines martial arts, extravagant costumes, acrobatics and high-tech light and sound effects.

The show is the brainchild of Dennis Law, a surgeon from Denver, Colorado who has produced films and television shows in China.

"I wanted to launch this in Canada because of the multicultural background of Canada," Law said. "And so when people said, 'You couldn't rent this old Ford Theatre [but] would you like to buy it?' my first response was, 'Are you kidding me?' I mean, who goes buying theatres when you're out renting one?"

Law eventually decided to put up nearly $8 million to buy the theatre. Then he brought 97 performers and technical staff over from China. "And bringing them to North America was a troublesome task, to say the least," Law said. "It took the Chinese bureaucracy a great deal of difficulty. But they [approved] all the passports and, thank God, the Canadian Government was sympathetic and allowed the entry visas without a great deal of difficulty."

Of Heaven and Earth is scheduled for a two-week run with the possibility of a third. After the run, Law plans to rent out the theatre for film screenings, theatre projects and concerts.

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