Caravan Farm Theatre asks Dr. Bonnie Henry to let the show go on | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Caravan Farm Theatre asks Dr. Bonnie Henry to let the show go on

One of the sleighs pulled by a team of horses at the Caravan Farm Theatre's winter show in Armstrong is pictured in this Facebook photo from Dec. 31, 2016.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Photo by Tim Matheson
November 24, 2020 - 1:10 PM

With Dr. Bonnie Henry’s recent order suspending social events and gatherings, Caravan Farm Theatre has sent the provincial health officer a letter asking her to let live theatre to continue.

The provincial health officer’s recent COVID-19 order suspends social events and gatherings, including live theatre performances, and remains in place until midnight Dec. 7.

Caravan Farm Theatre is hoping to go ahead with sold-out performances of the hugely popular winter sleigh ride show of The Gift, according to a press release issued by the theatre, Nov. 23. The theatre states on its outgoing voicemail message it will be in touch with ticket holders, but did not provide details on what would be discussed.

The Gift is currently scheduled to run multiple times, Dec. 8 to Jan. 2.

In a letter to Dr. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, Caravan Farm Theatre manager and artistic director Estelle Shook and society board chair Teresa Marshall have asked for amendments to future orders to include professional live theatre on the list of businesses that are allowed to remain operational.

The theatre has also asked patrons to sign the letter in support.

“While the Caravan’s board and staff commend Dr. Bonnie Henry and the provincial health office's tireless efforts to steer B.C. through the pandemic, we believe that professional theatre is as safe, and plays as important a role in our communities as movie theatres, bars, pubs and restaurants, and ski hills,” Shook said in the release.

From the beginning of the pandemic, Caravan has developed and maintained health and safety measures to ensure everyone involved was safe before and during productions, the theatre said. This was seen when Caravan hosted its socially distanced Outdoor Summer Theatre Experience as well as its Halloween Walk of Terror production Sparagmos.

“We have developed rigorous COVID-19 protocols in adherence with each provincial health order. These protocols have been developed and implemented by professionally trained practitioners, in conjunction with WorkSafe BC and the support of sectoral organizations such as Actsafe. This rapid adaptation has allowed us to continue to provide our community with meaningful cultural activity, who now, more than ever, need safe opportunities to connect, imagine, and enjoy,” Shook said.

Winter production safety measures include capping audience capacity to 48 people per show and only selling tickets to 'bubbles' of six people or less. Each of the four sleighs will only accommodate 12 patrons of two bubbles each, with each designated a side of the sleigh and separated by a plexiglass barrier that will run across the middle. All patrons will be required to wear masks.

“Similar to movie theatres, restaurants, pubs and bars, Caravan has taken reservations of patrons in 'bubbles' to observe traffic flow and has designated a sanitized space to occupy in a shared common area. And like ski hills, our patrons assemble outdoors to attend events. They also similarly pass through a series of low, to no-contact processes such as a box office/admission gate, and front of house lobby/lift lines,” said Shook, adding ushers and front-of-house staff direct and gently control the movements of patrons.

The team at Caravan Farm Theatre have designed their winter show production to be prepared for multiple scenarios, even an extended shut down.

“We knew a shut down was a possibility and have designed our production to be ready to adapt. We will move the entire event to January if we need to. For those who cannot attend, the show will be available as a digital experience, complete with steady cam footage to capture the horses and the sleigh ride route through the fields and forests. By hook or by crook, we will deliver our winter show,” Shook said.

For more information, visit the theatre’s website here.

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