The curtain will be closing on X Fest 2019 next weekend and, while the skies haven’t remained entirely clear, they have been free of wildfire smoke that infiltrated performances in recent years.
“Last year wasn’t as big an impact, but definitely the year before,” said Dušan Magdolen, artistic producer for Project X Theatre, about the effect B.C. wildfires have had on the outdoor theatre production.
“Sales were tracking super high and then it dropped.”
Sales for this year have been strong, with Magdolen predicting the 2019 iteration will be X Fest’s third-best-attended festival, with a chance attendance numbers this week might place it even higher.
This is the 14th year for X Fest, which brings theatre to the outdoor venue of Prince Charles Park, downtown at Columbia Street and 11th Avenue.
The productions are frequently adaptations of classic children’s stories.
This year, Project X Theatre has adapted Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk.
Magdolen said that while the group has looked for alternative, indoor venues for when the weather isn’t supportive of an outdoor show, he noted rain, not smoke, has traditionally been the bigger problem.
Unfortunately, nailing down an alternate venue is challenging in Kamloops. Locations are available, but Magdolen noted it can be expensive to hold a venue for three weeks without ever knowing if it will need to be used.
On the other hand, without a backup venue, too many missed shows might mean the cancellation of a particular year’s X Fest.
“It’s a scary thing for us, for sure,” he said. “We’re aware it’s a risk factor and we need to address it at some point.”
X Fest concludes this week with performances of Cinderella on July 29, July 31, Aug. 1 and Aug 3 at 7 p.m., with a pay-what-you can matinee at 2 p.m. on Aug. 3. Performances of Jack and the Beanstalk will take place on July 30 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
There will also be an improv show on Aug. 2 at 9:30 p.m., featuring guests from local theatre group The Freudian Slips.
“The response has been amazing this year. People seem to really be digging the show,” Magdolen said.
“If people are interested, they should get their tickets as soon as they can.”
Tickets are available online at projectxtheatre.ca or at Moviemart, downtown at St. Paul St. and Fourth Avenue.
Mother Nature appears to be a fan as the forecast for the final nights of X Fest is spectacular, with clear skies and warm temperatures expected all week and through the B.C. Day long weekend.