Western Canada Theatre has unveiled its upcoming season, which will begin with limited in-person audiences.
The 2021-2022 season will be presented in three parts: the Courage series, Heart series and a trio of special presentations.
For WCT artistic director James MacDonald, the theatre company's return to the stage has been fuelled by the excitement of company staff. But despite the eagerness to perform to live audiences, MacDonald said the company's approach will be a cautious one.
"We're not going to do it foolishly or recklessly. We're going to come back with safety and make sure people feel safe coming back," he told KTW following the season announcement on Wednesday (Oct. 6) evening.
Most WCT staff have remained employed throughout the pandemic, thanks to wage subsidies and other support.
"So they're raring to go to get an audience. They've been doing maintenance work or technical work behind the scenes, but really what everybody wants is to be doing it for people," he said.
Soon, WCT staff will be doing just that.
The first production of the season will be a special presentation of Tales from the Stage, just in time for Halloween. That show will run on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 at Pavilion Theatre and online.
Other special presentations include Trace, a two-night showcase of Indigenous stories at the Sagebrush Theatre on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21, and the International Women’s Day Festival, to be held at the Pavilion Theatre from March 8 to March 12.
The first show of the season's two main series will run from Dec. 2 to Dec. 11 at Sagebrush Theatre and it will be familiar to those who followed the theatre at the onset of the pandemic.
Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen will see its complete run realized as part of the Heart series, following an abrupt cancellation when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck.
The play was so close to premiering in March of 2020 that its actors had already arrived in Kamloops. With some actors unable to return home until after the play was supposed to end, WCT opted to keep the actors in Kamloops. That led to a widely viewed livestream performance featuring those actors performing outside their own motel rooms.
Up next in the Heart series will be BOOM, a music-driven trip through the culture, politics and tunes of the Baby Boomer generation. That play will run from Feb. 24, 2022, to March 5, 2022.
Following in the Heart series will be another familiar title, at least to most TV-watching Canadians. Kim's Convenience will run from March 31, 2022, to April 9, 2022, at Sagebrush Theatre. The play, from Ins Choi, inspired the CBC-TV comedy that ran from 2016 to April 2021.
Weeks later, Hey Viola! Viola Desmond—The Soundtrack of a Life, will show at Pavilion Theatre, from April 21 to May 7 in 2022.
Finally, the Heart series will conclude with a presentation of The Wizard of Oz. Running from May 12 to May 28 at Sagebrush Theatre, the WCT's staging of the famous tale will be directed by artistic director MacDonald himself.
The Courage series, meanwhile, contains three shows, including Hey Viola! Viola Desmond — The Soundtrack of a Life, which is open to subscribers of either the Heart or Courage series.
The Courage series will begin with Clean, a bilingual English and Spanish production from Vancouver's New World Theatre. The play, which addresses perspectives of female solidarity and consent, will be subtitled. It will run from March 24 to April 2, 2022 at Pavilion Theatre.
Following Hey Viola!, a new original production called Echoes of the Homesick Heart will cap off the season with a run from June 2 to June 11, 2022. The play, by Secwépemc artist Laura Michel, is about Indigenous language and cultural reclamation.
Season subscriptions are available through the Kamloops Live Box Office. Single tickets for early series shows will begin selling in November.
Find the box office online at kamloopslive.ca or call 250-374-5483 for more information.
Under the current provincial health guidelines, proof of full vaccination will be required to attend in-person events at the theatres.