As B.C. theatre companies challenge the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions, Salmon Arm’s Shuswap Theatre is hoping its Christmas show will go on.
On Nov. 19, the province’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced all events and social gatherings would be suspended until Dec. 7 to reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions and travel. Affected were all in-person events and community-based gatherings including musical or theatre performances, movie viewings at theatres and indoor and outdoor holiday events (exceptions with limitations included weddings, funerals, baptisms, support group and business meetings).
In response, theatre companies in the province expressed concern they were being unfairly targeted. The North Okanagan’s Caravan Farm Theatre submitted a letter to Henry emphasizing its safety protocols in place and asking her to allow professional theatres to continue to operate.
Earlier in the year, Shuswap Theatre adapted its season to the pandemics, offering its outdoor Walk-About Theatre in August followed by a series of plays performed before small audiences (less than 50 people as per the prior pandemic guideline) and broadcast on the radio or shared on social media.
Currently, Shuswap Theatre is looking beyond Dec. 7, towards its planned presentation of Peter Blacklock’s Once Upon a Time in the Shuswap. The play is to be performed outdoors on a stage that will be moved to various parts of Salmon Arm. Three shows of 45 minutes each are planned for Friday to Sunday, Dec. 18 to 20.
“We are offering the residents of Salmon Arm an opportunity to host this event in their neighbourhood,” reads a Tuesday, Nov. 24 release from Shuswap Theatre. “We require a performance area large enough to accommodate a truck with 20-foot flatbed trailer, and an audience of no more than 50, physically distanced.”
“Do you live on a cul-de-sac, or have a large parking area nearby that could be used? There are only four performances still available, but we need expressions of interest by December 4. No financial commitment is required as our Elves will be collecting donations at the event.”
Anyone who is interested in hosting a show or would like more information is asked to visit shuswaptheatre.com.