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. It also hosts the One-minute Play Festival and the Volunteer Party on the Monday night.
(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, film, 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.
Jack O’ Clubs Pub
Formerly the “Casino Stage”, the Jack O’ Clubs Pub is part of the Jack O’ Clubs General enterprise. Originally built as the bar area for the casino in the early 2000’s, the current owners continue to run a pub and venue, hosting musicians, comedians, events and a regular karaoke night.
Access to the Jack O’ Clubs Pub venue is only through the side door from Highway 26.
Bear’s Paw Stage
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).
Conveniently located between North and South Wells, there is a small park (parkette) with an inviting red gazebo. Stop by on your walk through town to play a few tunes, jam or listen to some ad hoc, unscheduled music. You never know who you might meet here! The Busking Stage has also be the location for an ArtsWells wedding and for a solar powered green stage. This is also one access to the beautiful Meadow Trails.
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.