The Vic Juba Community Theatre will be keeping its doors shut for the summer.
The Government of Saskatchewan announced theatres would be able to reopen on June 29 with health guidelines in place. The guidelines include allowing for 30 per cent of their maximum venue capacity while allowing for physical distancing to be maintained.
Foundation Chairman Gwen Mottram says while following the guidelines they would only be able to accommodate 56 people in the theatre. She also points out that while Lakeland College’s campus is open for students, it is still closed to the general public.
When provincial health orders for the COVID-19 pandemic came into effect, many acts and productions scheduled were forced to either cancel or postpone. Not only did it affect musicians coming into Lloydminster but also theatre and dance groups in the community.
“When the pandemic hit, we were in the middle of a production of Lakeland presenting Mary Poppins and unfortunately that had to be cancelled. They’ve been waiting patiently hoping somehow they would be able to get back on stage. That performance had approximately 100 students in it and that is a huge loss for that program.”
Mottram says it’s unlikely they will be able to let them in for the summer. The Vic Juba Foundation also had to let go all staff and the Board of Directors is operating the venue at this time. Mottram says they’re looking into multiple scenarios if they are unable to start again in the fall.
There are some positives for the theatre as the fundraiser for the multi-purpose space expansion is still progressing. Mottram says instead of getting a refund, several people donated the ticket cost for a cancelled event to the fundraiser. She also mentions the $150,000 anonymous donation match is still on track for the year.
Residents who also bought tickets for acts who have postponed like Corb Lund are still holding onto them as well. Mottram says community members have been supportive and promise to come back when they are able to.
“When I’m reaching out to ticket purchasers about events they’re all telling us that they will be back.”