This summer will be a special one for the Rivertown Players, marking the 20th season that the troupe of emerging artists has provided free entertainment to Kamloops families.
Over the years, the Rivertown Players have adapted and evolved, growing from a two-play repertoire in Riverside Park to a four-play season in parks and at events across Kamloops.
This year, the group may be facing its biggest challenge yet — the inability to gather in person with its audiences. But the Players face challenges every summer, from flash floods and strong winds that tear down their sets to intense heat and smoky skies that keep their audiences indoors — and they always overcome.
The Rivertown Players program, run by the Kamloops Arts Council and facilitated this year by Project X Theatre’s artistic producer (and Rivertown Players alumni) Randi Edmundson.
It gives young artists mentorship and a safe space to try their hand at every aspect of theatre production, from writing, acting and directing to designing, building, budgeting and marketing the shows.
Every summer, every show and every audience provide unique learning opportunities and the growth of the program over the past two decades means that each new set of summer students gains a hands-on understanding of what it means to create theatre in their present moment.
This summer, our present moment includes a global pandemic and wise public health measures that mean we may not be able to gather in person for a long time. Arts and theatre organizations across Canada are grappling with the very same question: What does it mean to create theatre without a live, in-person audience?
The Rivertown Players will be a part of this national conversation, which makes for an incredible learning opportunity and an enormous chance to be creative.
So, stay tuned for what the Rivertown Players come up with amid the pandemic.
Emerging artists are the lifeblood of the Kamloops theatre scene, injecting fresh ideas, asking questions and pursuing creative impulses with abandon. With live online programming, shows from afar, theatrical social media experiments and, possibly, much more, the Rivertown Players will be there to entertain Kamloops families this summer — just perhaps not in person.