The Chemainus Theatre’s main stage will remain dark well into 2021, but dinner events in the Playbill Dining Room have been a bright spot amid pandemic restrictions.
Theatre managing director Randy Huber said it takes five to six months of lead time to get a show open. With no end in sight to COVID regulations for the entertainment industry, limiting venues to 50 people, that means a long haul yet before the theatre can consider scheduling any performances.
“I would say realistically, the earliest would be June of next year,” Huber conceded.
If something miraculous happens to change the situation, the theatre would obviously move as quickly as possible to stage a production.
Seating capacity inside the theatre would only be about 30 with physical distancing requirements, which doesn’t make it feasible to entertain any entertainment possibilities there.
“We’re doing what we can within public health orders to keep things alive,” Huber noted. “The cap of 50 really limits what we can do.”
In the meantime, the theatre reopened the dining room and launched a Cabaret Series in October, featuring dinner and live entertainment. The events were advertised exclusively to core donors and sponsors, and each one sold out quickly.
It started with award-winning stand-up comedian Mike Delamont and he’s returning Oct. 29-31. Michael Clarke, who appeared at the theatre previously in Rock Legends and Kim’s Convenience, entertained for three nights and Koovy and Connor are up Oct. 22-24. Koovy is from Whitehorse and spent two summers at the theatre in Grease and Mamma Mia while Connor hails from Courtenay and has performed in musicals across the country since he was a young boy.
“We’re going to keep rolling with this format,” said Huber.
“Later this week, we’ll announce our offerings for November and Christmas as well.”
The dinners and shows are conducted under COVID safety protocols, with spacing between groups, three metres of separation between performers and patrons, enhanced cleaning and a maximum of six guests per reservation.