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Vernon venue now allowing drinks in the theatre

The Performing Arts Centre will allow ‘drinks in the house’ starting with Jeff Tweedy’s Saturday performance
Cup holders have been installed on the arm rests at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, which will be allowing beverages in the theatre starting with Jeff Tweedy’s concert Saturday, July 29, 2023. (Submitted photo)

There will soon be no need to chug your drink when the intermission lights start flashing at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre (VDPAC), as the centre will now be allowing patrons to take beverages into the theatre.

It’s a change, the centre says, people have been asking for, for a long time.

When Jeff Tweedy performs this Saturday, July 29 as part of his summer 2023 solo tour, patrons will be able to enjoy a beverage while comfortably seated in the theatre — an even better way to experience the Grammy Award-winning founder of the band Wilco as he makes his first-ever visit to the VDPAC.

“It’s felt like we may be just about the last live performance venue in B.C. to allow drinks in the house,” said executive director Jim Harding. “Producing professional theatres introduced it years ago and we watched many other B.C. venues begin experimenting shortly before the pandemic, so we have researched and been very thorough in how the VDPAC could offer this hospitality here.”

VDPAC has installed armrest cup holders this month, which was key to introducing the service to keep drinks off the floor to prevent spillage and for patrons’ convenience.

“They look great, like they’ve always been here and will not affect movement along our wide aisles,” said Harding. “Instead of putting cups or cans on the floor, with the cup-holders, audiences will be free to stand and applaud!”

Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will be allowed, served only by VDPAC servers in special capped, 100 per cent recyclable drinkware, including cans and bottled water. No outside beverages are allowed.

“Enhancing our patrons’ overall experience is the priority for adding this service,” said Harding. “Those who have been part of VDPAC sold-out shows before — with a jam-packed foyer, bar lineups and the rush to finish a drink just as the intermission warning lights start flashing — should welcome this major improvement, regardless if they’re holding a beer or a coffee. Now they can just casually return to their seats and foyer traffic will be more spacious and leisurely.”

Drink orders will only be filled during the pre-show hour (the house opens 30 minutes before showtime) and at intermissions. Out of respect for the performers and other patrons, there will be no in/out access for sales during performances. VDPAC says the option of bringing drinks into the house will also allow patrons to slow their rate of consumption, which adds an important health and safety precaution.

“We researched and listened to other B.C. venues, which helped us determine what provisions and service procedures we wanted here to minimize any potential negative impacts such as spillage, any lingering alcohol smell in the theatre, choosing capped, recyclable drinkware, added workload for staff and volunteers, etc,” says Harding, “and I am confident we have addressed those concerns.”

VDPAC says venues in B.C. that allowed drinks “in the house” before the pandemic have reported a 30 per cent increase in orders and sales.

For tickets to Jeff Tweedy’s Summer 2023 Solo Tour, featuring special guest Scott McCaughey in concert, 7:30 p.m., Saturday contact VDPAC’s Ticket Seller box office at 250-549-SHOW (7469) or online at

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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