Bard to Broadway Theatre Society may take their performances outdoors next summer.
Due to COVID-19, the society had to look for alternative places to stage their shows, which they normally hold at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach.
B2B’s artistic director Gary Brown said they prefer to be at the Village Theatre but have no choice if no vaccines will be forthcoming next year. They are worried their patrons, many of which are seniors who may find it uncomfortable to go and watch the shows indoors.
“We’re trying to cover all our bases because we want to do something next year,” said Brown. “We’re in limbo like every other theatre company. We don’t know where we’re going to go.”
The society has approached the Town of Qualicum Beach for assistance and council has directed staff to work with the group, to explore options to utilize town-owned land for the society’s performance season.
Brown indicated they looked at two locations, the former Qualicum Beach Elementary School and the amphitheatre behind the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.
“We really do not want to be outside because it comes with a whole lot of difficulties, especially if it rains,” said Brown. “But we need to have alternatives.”
After suffering significant losses when they had to cancel shows last summer, Brown said it’s important for B2B to continue performing and to let the community know that they’re still around.
“We haven’t done anything since 2019 when we did ‘Hairspray’ and two other shows,” said Brown. “Arts groups and theatre groups don’t make a lot of money. We’re in a situation at the moment where there is absolutely no income.”
B2B is a small group but still has ongoing expenditures that include paying for the warehouse for their set buildings and props. They also pay royalties for the shows that they produce.
“Just like any theatre group, you’re basically living on ticket sales and without ticket sales, you’re kind of hooped,” said Brown.
“It really puts us in a difficult position.”
Brown said they would only be allowed to have 50 people regardless of whether the shows are held indoors or outdoors, due to COVID-19 protocols.
“It might just be enough to break even,” said Brown.
B2B can’t stage a major production at this time.
They were geared to perform a Broadway musical last summer, ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ that required an orchestra with singers and dancers. It had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. It cost the society $10,000 for the licence for the show.
“So they’re sitting on that money of ours but they’ve allowed us to postpone the show until next year possibly but if we can only have 50 people in the audience, then we can’t even afford that show,” said Brown. We’ve looked at alternatives which are cheaper to produce. If we’re outdoors, we certainly can’t have big sets with big lighting and all those other things. So we can try to keep our expenses as low as possible.”
What is being planned this coming summer includes a one-woman play comedy ‘Just The Ticket,’ ‘Crimes of the Heart,’ and a Broadway revue.