Kirby Wirchenko

Kirby Wirchenko, Executive and Artistic Director at The Broadway Theatre, who helped raise money and install solar panels on the Theatre’s roof.
Kirby Wirchenko

Executive and Artistic Director
The Broadway Theatre
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

An innovative solar project on a heritage building

Saskatoon is one of the sunniest cities in North America—but we don’t have a ton of solar energy projects. This never made much sense to me—especially given the slogan, “Saskatoon Shines”, you see everywhere.

I run the Broadway Theatre, a community-owned arts and culture centre. We serve close to 80,000 people a year in a 70-year-old heritage building originally built as a movie theatre. We’ve got a broad swath of Saskatoon coming through the door to attend all kinds of events—music, theatre, dance, comedy, debates and so on.

50% powered​​ by the sun—and it feels fantastic

Because we have the project on our roof, because it’s so visible and because it’s a bit of a paradox—an innovative solar project on a heritage building, it’s become a point of curiosity. It gets people talking about the potential of renewable energy for our province.

We’re 50% powered by the sun and that feels fantastic. I get calls all the time, people just saying ‘Hey, thanks,’ or people wanting to know more about how to start up their own projects.

An inspiration to others

Tonight, before the Proclaimers play a live concert, I’ll go on stage and say to the audience: did you know tonight’s show is partially powered by the sun? I’ll say that we’re proud to bring in a band from Scotland, but also that we’re proud to be a community-owned theatre. We’re proud to have solar on our roof and that all of our products are recycled. We’re intentionally making the decision to run the place sustainably and steward it. Those 500 people will have to listen to me—and I hope they’ll go home and talk about it.

I want our Theatre to be an inspiration to others.

The Broadway Theatre is one of Canada’s only community-owned non-profit repertory cinemas. In 2014, the Theatre raised money for and installed an 88-panel solar system on its roof. Bullfrog Power customers helped fund the green energy project.

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