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Island high school’s musical theatre program hoping for last-minute ticket surge

Popular annual run of Timberline shows costs $7,000-$8,000 to stage, sold $750 in tickets
The students in the Timberline Musical Theatre program are rehearsing this year’s production, Once Upon a Mattress, three days per week after school in preparation for their upcoming virtual performances. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

While a few butterflies before a big show are normal – and in fact probably a good thing – the students and staff involved in this year’s musical theatre performance at Campbell River’s Timberline high school have a few too many right now.

They’re not concerned that they’ll forget their lines or that the lights won’t work properly. They’re worried that they’re going to lose their metaphorical shirts.

With the first performance just over a week away, the group had sold only 50 tickets – an average of 10 tickets per performance – for their online run of five shows.

Normally by this point they’d be looking to sell the last few seats in the theatre – which holds about 175 – for each performance.

“I think – I hope, anyway – that maybe people aren’t rushing to grab tickets because they don’t have to worry about it selling out before they get theirs,” says musical director Celine Ouellette. “I just hope they do eventually, because we need to at least cover our costs.”

And those costs are not insignificant.

Just the rights to put on the show are often around $4,000 per year, depending on how many tickets they tell the rights-holder they hope to sell.

This year, with the performances moving online, they didn’t know what that number would be, so they lowered their guess relative to previous years, but the rights to put it on still cost them around $2,500.

“Then there are the costumes, which this year are a bit more expensive than usual because they are special ones,” Ouellette says. “We borrowed some, but I made quite a lot. Thankfully, Fabricland was on sale all summer last year, so that helped a bit, but it was at least another $1,000 for the show just in costumes.”

And they have to build sets for the performance, as well, “and with the price of wood these days, I think we’re around another $1,500 for that.

Once all is said and done, we generally are looking at $7,000 to $8,000 to put these shows on.”

But on they will go, no matter how many tickets are sold. The kids have been working too hard over the past five months or more for them to do anything else, the school’s AV department has been brought in to help with the logistics of filming and sending it out to the audience, professional light and sound engineers have been hired to make it look and sound the best it can, and the show, as they say, must go on.

The performances are scheduled for March 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 starting at 7 p.m.

Students and seniors can watch the performances for $12, adults gain access for $15, or a whole family can watch for $40.

Tickets are available at

Help them out and get yours sooner rather than later, so they can go back to just worrying about their lines instead of whether or not there will be another show to be in next year.

RELATED: Timberline’s popular musical goes online for 2021

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