Flood damage at a local theatre hasn’t closed the curtain on entertainment in Vernon.
The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre (VDPAC) now has a timeline for restoration following water damage to the theatre’s main stage and auditorium in December.
The theatre will have to be closed for most of February for stage floor replacement.
Fortunately, two popular annual events, the Snowed In Comedy Tour (Jan. 28) and the re-scheduled Banff Mountain Film Festival (Feb. 3 and 4) will go ahead. The film festival, a Vernon Search and Rescue fundraiser, was originally to take place Dec. 28 and 29.
“These two events only use the front of the stage and can go ahead prior to full stage replacement,” said executive director Jim Harding. “Audiences for Snowed In Comedy and the Banff Mountain Film Festival will not see any difference now that the front row carpet has been replaced and the mid-stage damage to the floor will be masked by drapery and not visible.”
Following the film festival, VDPAC will close for the remainder of February for removal and reconstruction of the stage floor in order to resume full operations in March.
The flood was caused by extreme cold temperatures overnight Dec. 22, which caused a mechanical failure that accidently triggered the theatre’s deluge curtains, a fire suppression system that releases a large volume of water between the audience and the stage in the event of a fire during a performance.
Water damaged the carpet in the front row of seating, audio equipment, lighting equipment, and the theatre’s main curtain. VDPAC’s stage floor, specially engineered to meet the demands of high-caliber professional touring productions, was also compromised, and requires replacement before the theatre can be used for dance or cirque performances.
“Having a smooth and level stage surface is essential for dancers to perform safely,” said artistic director Erin Kennedy. “Dance is a huge part of what we do at VDPAC, from the world-class professional productions we present in our SPOTLIGHT Dance Series to local dance school recitals, festivals, and competitions. We need to take this time to replace our stage floor before this spring’s busy dance schedule.”
Replacement of the main curtains, audio, technical and lighting equipment are now on order. Although supply and delivery timelines will vary, they will not prevent VDPAC’s ability to reopen once the stage replacement is complete.
“On behalf of our board, we have to thank our entire staff, and our building maintenance and technical staff especially, for a truly stellar team effort to address all the unimaginable concerns that come withsuch a potentially catastrophic event, ” said Harding. “I also wish to thank our service-providers, restoration services, insurers, suppliers, contractors and our partners at the RDNO for stepping up so quickly to help us get to reopening as soon as possible.”
VDPAC staff have worked closely with event organizers to reschedule, move, or cancel performances through February and are contacting affected ticket holders directly.
The following events have been impacted:
• SPOTLIGHT Theatre Series: BOOM X (Jan. 14) – postponed, future date to be announced
• Okanagan Symphony Orchestra’s Round Dance (Jan. 22) – cancelled
• SPOTLIGHT Kids Series: Karima Essa’s Body Positive Bollywood Dance Show (Jan. 29) – moved to the Priest Valley Gym at the Greater Vernon Recreation Centre
• Ballet Jörgen’s masterclass for local dance students (Feb. 10) – moved to the Okanagan School of Ballet
• SPOTLIGHT Dance Series: Ballet Jörgen’s Cinderella (Feb. 11) – rescheduled to March 25
• Okanagan Symphony Orchestra’s Musical Giants (Feb. 12) – moved to Trinity United Church
• NOCCA’s Marc Atkinson Trio plus Cam Wilson (Feb. 17) – moved to Trinity United Church
• Tunes for Teeth fundraiser (Feb. 24) – postponed, new date to be announced.
Ticketholders are urged to check in with the Ticket Seller box office, or online at ticketseller.ca for event updates, ticket availability and additional announcements.
“We want to thank everyone who has reached out with well-wishes these last few weeks; as well as those groups and resident companies who have also been impacted, and those who are supporting them, for all your patience and cooperation,” said Harding. “Your support makes it clear how important the VDPAC is to our community. We still have lots of work to do, but we look forward to seeing you again in March for another exciting spring season.”