ArtsWells Stages & Venues
The Wells Community Hall was built completed in 1938 by the Cariboo Gold Quartz Company as part of their mandate to develop an entire community rather than a typical “company town” The first social gathering held at the hall featured the local Wells Orchestra. Back in the day, the Hall featured a billiard and reading room (now the ballet room) and a pistol range in the basement in addition to the hall/gymnasium and kitchen. The gymnasium was boasted to be the largest dance floor in the BC Interior.
Since 1938, the Hall was restored twice, in 1967 and in the mid-1990’s. At ArtsWells, it is the largest indoor venue, featuring two stages – one upstairs and one downstairs.
(Music, yoga, workshops)
The Outdoor Stage comes to life in the Wells-Barkerville Community School field for the ArtsWells weekend. With bleachers and a large tent stage, it has a great outdoor atmosphere where you can dance in your barefeet on the grass and enjoy your lunch with music.
Next to the Outdoor Stage is the kids’ area and Tipi Village. The field is the venue for morning yoga and other workshops.
(Music, theatre, dance)
Originally a movie theatre built in 1934, the Sunset has been a dance-hall, BC’s first gambling hall (the Dominion Club), and even a morgue. The Sunset Theatre has changed hands several times throughout its history and was operated by the Wells Historical Society for many years during the late 1970’s – early 80’s. In 1999 when the building was purchased and over the past 15 years has been loving restored beyond its former glory offering professional live theatre, movies, boot camps and concert venue.
The Legion Stage is in the Wells branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. ArtsWells is grateful to partner with the Legion to provide music in this venue. Another small venue, it offers and intimate atmosphere and is a licensed venue.
The Cookie Cottage is located in south Wells, just next to the Northwoods Restaurant, and will be packed with amazing festival performances and workshops Friday thru Sunday!
Only in its second year as a venue, the Museum Stage is already making a name for itself as an intimate space to see your favourite act. The Museum stage is a tall white tent situated behind the Wells Museum, with hay bale seating and a warm vibe. The Museum itself is an extensive archive of information, artifacts and photographs related to the history of Wells – be sure to stop in before or after a show for your history fix.
Wells Hotel Pub
The Wells Hotel Pub is part of the Wells Hotel, another 1930s building. It is a small venue, but hosts the largest whiskey collection in Northern BC (potentially all of BC).
There are two venues in Barkerville that are part of the ArtsWells Festival. With your wristband, admission to Barkerville is provided for $5. Barkerville is 7km from Wells and there is a shuttle provided by the Festival if you don’t want to drive, walk or ride a bike.
St. Saviour’s Anglican Church is one of Barkerville’s iconic buildings. Construction of the church began in 1869 and was still not yet completed until after Reverend Reynard held the first service on September 18, 1870. It was built after the great Barkerville fire and the building that stands now is one of the original buildings still standing in the Barkerville Historic Site.
This historic site is another venue that provides amazing acoustics and memorable performances in a unique location.
The Methodist Church is an unassuming building that makes a beautiful venue in its simple wooden construction. The size and low level of the stage make the performances intimate and engaging for the audience.