The Chemainus Theatre will sit idle for the rest of 2020, a big blow for the tourist-based economy of Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chemainus Theatre will sit idle for the rest of 2020, a big blow for the tourist-based economy of Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Remainder of 2020 season cancelled at popular Island theatre

Chemainus Theatre Festival succumbs to COVID-19 restrictions on large crowds likely to linger longer

The news is devastating for Chemainus’ tourism-based economy. The Chemainus Theatre will remain dark for the rest of 2020 due to COVID-19.

The Chemainus Theatre Festival made the difficult decision public late Wednesday night to pull the plug on the remainder of this year’s performance schedule.

The trickle-down effect from those employed at the theatre to performers who will miss paycheques is enormous, not to mention the great joy performances bring to thousands of theatre-goers each year.

A joint statement from managing director Randy Huber and artistic director Mark DuMez indicated the Chemainus Theatre Festival has been working hard to assess the best possible plan to move forward through 2020 and beyond.

”We have been following the mandates of government officials, public health authorities, and medical professionals to address the health, safety, and well-being of our patrons, staff, volunteers, and artists,” the statement read. “With social distancing measures in place and the uncertainty of when the ban on larger public gatherings will be lifted, it is more evident than ever that we must remain closed for the unforeseen future. Because of this, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of our 2020 season.

“We are so thankful to have a loyal and courageous community who care for the Chemainus Theatre Festival. This is one of the most challenging and heartbreaking decisions we have ever had to make. We acknowledge the impact it will have on our Chemainus Theatre community. We feel the loss of the 2020 season and all that it touches. We are a theatre of celebration and hope. While we hope for the best, we recognize that planning for the long-term life of the theatre society requires other measures.”

Related: Chemainus Theatre temporarily suspends operations, postpones next two shows

An exciting season of six shows began with the Marvelous Wonderettes that was staged for four of six scheduled weeks before COVID-19 restrictions came into effect. The 39 Steps was scheduled to run April 9-May 3, Beauty and The Beast from May 29-Aug. 29, Glory from Sept. 11-Oct. 3, Joyful Noise from Oct. 16-Nov. 7 and the Christmas production of Elf: The Musical from Nov. 20-Dec. 31.

COVID-19 has caused the cancellation of live professional theatres and mass gatherings across Canada. Provincial and federal government officials and public health authorities have begun to look at plans to lessen restrictions, but it’s become apparent the theatre industry is far down the list for reopenings.

The Chemainus Theatre Festival has been performing live theatre on Vancouver Island for 28 seasons. It has emerged from drawbacks caused by epic snowstorms, windstorms, and economic downturns, but this appears to be its biggest challenge yet.

“These are unsettling times,” conceded Huber and DuMez in the statement. “The Chemainus Theatre Crisis Relief Fund has been established to help us withstand this difficult time and return in 2021 when it is safe to do so. Today more than ever, we will rely on charitable support. If you are able to help, any donation will be an integral part of helping us build towards our next season.

“We look forward to seeing you next season when we can all share our creative energy, artistry, determination, and heart.”

CoronavirusLive theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Managing director Randy Huber and son and artistic director Mark DuMez at opposite ends of the Chemainus Theatre show lineup for 2020. Only the Marvelous Wonderettes happened and that fell two weeks short of a full run. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Managing director Randy Huber and son and artistic director Mark DuMez at opposite ends of the Chemainus Theatre show lineup for 2020. Only the Marvelous Wonderettes happened and that fell two weeks short of a full run. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Just Posted

Volunteers decorate the Alberni Valley Hospice Society on Saturday, Nov. 28. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Alberni Valley Hospice Society lights up for holidays

New event is a fundraiser for society that runs Ty Watson House hospice and other programs

A sign at the entrance to Ty-Histanis asks visitors to stay out of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Nuu-chah-nulth nations on Vancouver Island hit hard by COVID-19

Eight nations dealing with positive tests, hospitalizations and death

Tseshaht Market is located on Highway 4 west of Port Alberni. (GOOGLE MAPS)
Tseshaht First Nation condemns actions of abusive customer

Customer objected to Tseshaht Market’s COVID-19 protection policy

A lightning strike destroyed a radio repeater on Porter Mountain, shutting down the Ministry of Transportation and infrastructure’s highway cam at Sutton Pass. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure photo)
Lightning strike shuts down camera on Tofino-Ucluelet highway

“One of our radio repeater sites was recently struck by lightning.”

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The first of two earthquakes near Alaska on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, is shown in blue. (USGS)
No tsunami risk after two earthquakes near Alaska

Both earthquakes hit near the U.S. state on Dec. 1

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Regional District considers options for fireworks after complaints

Distict only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Most Read