UPDATE: Late Friday afternoon the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre sent out a notice that all of their events for March and April have been postponed.
“Many of these shows are being rescheduled and new dates will be available in the coming weeks,” said Kirsten Schrader, Arts and Culture Division manager for the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
“Any patron that wishes to receive a refund can do so by calling our ticket centre at 250-746-2722, or you may request to transfer your ticket to the new date and we will contact you to let you know when that will be.
“As new dates are confirmed, we will also be posting them on our website and all of our social media channels.”
The number of cancelled performances at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre is growing as the COVID-19 crisis escalates.
Celtic fiddler Natalie MacMaster’s solo show that was scheduled for March 12, which was expected to be almost full, was cancelled at the last minute after the province moved to cancel all gatherings with more than 250 people earlier that day.
The show “Completely Creedance: A Tribute to CCR” that was scheduled for March 14 at the centre has also been cancelled, and that announcement was quickly followed by the cancellation of Kim’s Convenience, which was scheduled for March 28.
Ticket holders for the shows have been assured they would have their money returned
But Ashley Daniel Foot, CPAC’s theatre marketing specialist, said he doubts it will be the last cancellation at the centre due to COVID-19.
“We have no public announcements of further cancellations at this time, but if you read between the lines, it’s clear we have to make some choices,” Foot said.
“It’s a rather fluid situation right now, and things could change within the next 10 minutes. The Cowichan Valley Regional District is an integral part of the centre, and they are making the determinations on how we deal with the spread of coronavirus.”
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced on Thursday that health officials are now discouraging all non-essential travel outside of Canada, and called for the cancellation of all gatherings with more than 250 people in B.C. due to the growing COVID-19 outbreak.
These initiatives reflect the changing nature of the situation around the world, Henry said.
“The risk for us in British Columbia, while it hasn’t changed a lot here in B.C., the risk has increased all around us, I would say, and our understanding of the situation has also changed,” she said to the press.
The CVRD, which owns the CPAC, established a Regional Emergency Operations Centre on March 13 to assess and respond to the public safety risk in the region posed by COVID-19, and has also directed the cancellation of mass gatherings of 250 people and more in the region at this time, based on Henry’s directive.
Foot said there’s no doubt that the cancellation of shows at CPAC that would have more than 250 people in attendance will impact the centre’s bottom line, but CPAC is concerned about the health and welfare of the centre’s guests, as well as its employees.
“It’s a tough time for people and businesses all across North America,” he said.
“It’s our job to provide arts and entertainment in the Cowichan Valley and we’ll continue to do the best we can at that, as gracefully as we can.”
Ticket holders for upcoming shows at CPAC should check back on the centre’s website for updates on whether they will be going ahead, or they can phone the Box Office (250-748-7529).