Kelowna arts groups welcoming rollout of vaccine passports

Passport to the arts

Cindy White

The sound of music will be ringing out from performance venues across the Okanagan, thanks to the B.C. vaccine passport program.

Organized indoor events can now have 50 people or 50 percent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is greater.

“Being able to go to 50 percent is a huge jump for us,” said Opera Kelowna artistic director Rosemary Thomson.

“It’s the biggest we’ve had in more than 18 months, so we’re pretty giddy with excitement when that announcement came in. But we will be looking for the vaccine passports, for sure.”

Other groups are moving ahead with outdoor performances. The rules now allow up to 5,000 people depending on the size of the space.

“It might be cold, but we can have an audience of 100 and we don’t have to deal with vaccination for people, because that’s an issue too, and for our performers. When we started and cast this play, we didn’t know what the restrictions would be at the end. So if we’d have planned it to be in a public venue, there may have been some of our actors who wouldn’t have been able to get in the building,” explained Leanne Reimer with Crossing Creek Community Theatre in West Kelowna.

Their performance of Much Ado About Nothing will be outdoors at Kalala Estate Winery, beginning September 24.

The excitement is palpable to be able to perform and interact with a live audience again.

“We have done some livestreams, and we’re grateful for that. But the opportunity of sharing what we do with (an) audience, and that feeling of being together in the same space, it really is quite magical,” said Thomson.

Opera Kelowna's first big show will be a tour of three venues by Canadian tenor Colin Ainsworth, at Trinity United Church in Vernon September 30, in Naramata on October 3 and here at St. Michael’s Cathedral on October 1.

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