Armstrong's Caravan Farm Theatre navigating extreme cold | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Armstrong's Caravan Farm Theatre navigating extreme cold

Horses that pull wagons full of theatre-goers at Armstrong's Caravan Farm Theatre are seen in this photo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Caravan Farm Theatre

From frozen pipes to dead car batteries, the extreme cold has affected a multitude of things over the last few days including the North Okanagan's much loved Caravan Farm Theatre.

The bitter temperatures forced the outdoor theatre to cancel its popular show for three days, but with the mercury rising just a touch, the show will be back on Dec. 30.

"When the temperature dips below -20 Celsius that's when we start cancelling," Caravan Farm Theatre artistic and managing director Estelle Shook told

Shook said the crew put on a modified version of this year's show, Joyride, on Boxing Day, with audiences standing around fires before they got on the sleds and went on the ride.

However, with temperatures forecast below -20 C for a few days following Boxing Day, Shook said they made the decision to cancel shows.

The cold is just too much for the actors, the audience and the horses.

"Minus 18 is completely doable, it's when you get to -20 and colder that's when you have to be careful," Shook said.

Shook said the horses do OK in the cold, but if they were forced to work hard, which they're not, it would be hard on their lungs.

Making life more complicated is that the theatre is at the mercy of the weather forecast which isn't always correct.

"All of the weather apps tell you different temperatures," she said.

On Dec. 28, the weather forecast for show the following day predicted temperatures below -20 C.  Having to give ticket holders 24-hours cancellation notice meant the Dec. 29 show was cancelled.

However, it appears the temperature might be -18 C on Dec. 29.

"Now the weather has shifted and technically it might have been possible to do shows tonight but that's not what it was telling us yesterday," Shook said.

Navigating the cold weather adds to the turbulence the outdoor theatre has had to navigate since the pandemic upheaval.

"These last couple of years have been a series of experimentations," Shook said.

While tickets holders whose shows got cancelled are entitled to a full refund, the theatre would like people to consider keeping the credits for future shows or converting the tickets into a donation.

"The winter show is our bread and butter and it's been a pretty crazy and rough year for arts organizations across the country... if people wanted to convert those (tickets) into credits or donations it would be very well received," Shook said. "We just want to live another day to keep doing what we do."

For more information on the Caravan Farm Theatre go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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