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Popular dinner theatre in Port Coquitlam closes, looking for a new home

Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre has been a staple of entertainment in downtown Port Coquitlam but has closed, according to the company website.
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Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre owner Mark Friebe says the theatre has shut down.

Is it the last laugh for the Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre in Port Coquitlam?

Not if Mark Friebe can help it.

The iconic cabaret and dining spot, located at 2616 Shaughnessy St. in the city's downtown, has stopped performances of its Back to the Eighties show, which was supposed to end April 9.

In a note on his website, theatre owner Mark Friebe said he enjoyed entertaining local audiences with a group of “misfit toys that work so well together."

Giggle Dam may re-open in another venue

However, Friebe also hints that the dinner theatre may re-open in another venue.

"I will miss entertaining you all in that venue. Until we find another, fair well for now."

Friebe's business manager, AJ Thompson, confirmed to the Tri-City News that the theatre "unexpectedly closed" due to a "business dispute."

Still, efforts are underway to find a new location with a kitchen that would allow the Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre to re-open.

"Guests who have pre-booked for shows should contact their credit card company to initiate a charge back," Thompson said.

So far about 40 customers who pre-booked a seating for future shows have received a refund this way.

On Friday, Feb. 10, Giggle Dam announced on Facebook that the weekend's performance would be cancelled. The post generated dozens of comments and sad face emojis.

Supporters hope Giggle Dam re-opens

"Hope it's only a temporary situation so y’all can get back to being the funniest group of talented entertainers on the mainland," commented one poster. 

According to BC Assessment, the building where Giggle Dam was located was last assessed for $1.957 million and was built in 1949.

Friebe does not own the building, but the 200-seat Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre has been entertaining and feeding audiences for over two decades.

It was was forced to go dark because of the COVID-19 pandemic and closed during the summer last year for renovations due to water problems.

The Back to the Eighties show was supposed a fun run of "Big Hair and Big Hijinx."

But this closure is not the only challenge facing Giggle Dam over the years.

Giggle Dam had weathered previous crises like the 2008 recession, a devastating fire in 2015 that destroyed a building right next door and even a smokey failure of a compressor in 2018 that summoned firefighters once again to the building on Shaughnessy Street. 

In his website address, Friebe expressed thanks to guests and audience members from over the past 21 years.

"It has been my gods-honest pleasure to bring mirth and merriment to the heart of Port Coquitlam for so long. For as much as The Giggle Dam has entertained you, you all have entertained me! You have allowed me to make a living. A great one and, an honest one by supporting my business for so long."

— with files from Mario Bartel