The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre (VDPAC) has received a $55,000 grant from Canadian Heritage under a special Re-Engaging Audiences Fund (REAF) for Professional Arts Presentations Organizations federal program.
VDPAC will use a majority of REAF funds for a regional direct-mail campaign to promote the return of its first full SPOTLIGHT season since March 2020, which opens with the Juno Award-winning Joel Plaskett Emergency concert (with guest Mo Kenney) on Sept. 10. Plaskett’s stop is part of a cross-Canada tour promoting his latest album, 44, his most detailed musical weave yet. He is joined by special gues Mo Kenney.
“Our 2022-23 SPOTLIGHT Season brochure can now be direct-mailed to 40,000 homes, apartments and businesses all over the North Okanagan and south through Lake Country,” said VDPAC’s executive director Jim Harding. “This is a special, one-time initiative to re-engage with our audiences, sponsors and supporters as we re-start—and to connect with newcomers to our local and regional community.”
Tourism Vernon has also approved a $5,000 Co-Op marketing grant in support of the campaign to help reach and attract audiences from outside Greater Vernon. VDPAC will also be partnering with local accommodations and restaurants with special discounts for ticket-holders coming to Vernon for performances this season.
With provincial funding last December, VDPAC experimented with a direct mail campaign to 21,000 Greater Vernon homes-and-businesses only; to promote the limited spring 2022 SPOTLIGHT season of re-scheduled shows from 2020-21.
“It was also a test project in anticipation of the return of a full SPOTLIGHT season this fall,” said Harding, “But we were thrilled with the number of newcomers who had never been to the Performing Arts Centre before, had only heard about it, or didn’t know it was here! So this was very encouraging as the best way to reach our wider regional community.
“Without the REAF and Tourism Vernon funding we would not be able to afford a region-wide initiative,” continues Harding.
VDPAC will also host its second-ever Free Night in the Theatre Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. for a sneak preview of the 2022-23 SPOTLIGHT season, including video clips, highlights and brief interviews with this season’s special guest artists. Free tickets can be claimed online at vdpac.ca, at the Ticket Seller box office or by calling 250-549-SHOW (7469).
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