The Sooke Harbour Players are returning after a two-year pandemic hiatus and are looking to get “bums in seats,” says president Andrew Donnelly.
“It’s been quite horrendous,” getting by without any income from ticket sales and having to pay for storage space for scenery, props and rent for the theatre, Donnelly said.
He added a grant from the District of Sooke helped, but that without income from ticket sales, the group would have been able to continue running another six months before shutting down.
The group has been cutting costs by reusing scenery and performing a pantomime, Ben Crocker’s Treasure Island. The rights for a pantomime cost a quarter of what a big name show like Oliver costs, says Donnelly.
“I know a lot of people would like to see us do major shows again, and hopefully in the future, we’ll be able to do that,” he said. “But at the moment, we have to try and cut our cloth according to the the measure.”
Many people have returned to the group to be involved again, including several members from within the same families. Donnelly says there had been some hesitancy from people who were worried about being in large groups and some push back from people rehearsing about being encouraged to wear masks, but the group has tried to strike a balance.
“We’ve got to try and do something to keep going, and I don’t want — this might sound a bit strange — the Sooke Harbour Players to fail on my watch,” he said.
Show dates are set for Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 2-4 at the Sooke Community Theatre at Edward Milne Community School.
Tickets are on sale at The Stick in the Mud Coffee House or by telephone at 250-415-9410 or the door. The price is $20, while seniors and youth tickets are $15.