Since 1911, the building which houses the Al Whittle Theatre and Studio-Z has been a cultural icon on the main street of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. For more info about the predecessors of the Al Whittle Theatre – including the Acadia Cinema, the Acadia Theatre, the Orpheum Theatre, and the Wolfville Opera House, visit the Acadia Cinema Coop website.
We’re glad you asked! Not surprisingly, the Al Whittle Theatre was named after Al Whittle. From 1953-2000, when our venue was known as the Acadia Cinema, Al was the manager. He ripped the tickets. He made the popcorn. He chose the movies. He was a projectionist. In short, he did a lot of things.
A native of Port Elgin, N.B., A. Ellsworth (Al) Whittle began working in movie theatres at the age of 19. He came to Wolville by way of Amherst, Charlottetown and Truro when Gerald Spencer’s Ononette Investments hired him. After a brief stint in Middleton, Al returned to Wolfville (1953) to take a permanent position as the youngest theatre manager in Canada.
Although Al has retired from his managerial position, he is still very busy in and around Wolfville. Among other things, Al serves on the board of directors for the Acadia Cinema Cooperative, the volunteer-run organization which owns and operates the Al Whittle Theatre. He is a founding member of the Fundy Film Society, and an honourary board member. And he still makes the best (and most secret) popcorn in town.
Al Whittle: My Life in Movies 1953-2000
This short film features an interview with retired theatre manager, Al Whittle. Premiered at the Whittle Big Man Gala. April 26, 2013. Thanks to Noemi Volovics and Fundy Film for making this happen.
This animated short film by Anne MacMillan is a fun look at cinema nostalgia.
Premiered at the Whittle Big Man Gala. April 26, 2013.