Recall? Kelowna Actors Studio sounds the alarm on pandemic restrictions in the region | iINFOnews

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Kelowna Actors Studio is calling for all businesses in the central Okanagan to receive the same COVID-19 restrictions or receive support to reach the end of the pandemic.

Image Credit: SUBMIT / Kelowna Actors Studio

November 28, 2021 – 3:25 PM

The Kelowna Actors Studio co-founder is calling for a level playing field for companies trying to stay alive throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive producer Nathan Flavel has tried to keep the performing arts alive in the community, but with continued restrictions on capacity and the drying up of federal funding, it’s not sure that is possible.

“They kept the restrictions and removed the funding, that’s the hardest part to figure out,” Flavel said.

With the financial support of the government, Flavel was able to manage rent and personnel expenses.

“In October, when they announced the opening of restrictions, it was not clear that there were areas not included, and the Okanagan was one of them,” Flavel said.

The team was in the middle of a production in December when Interior Health maintained restrictions on indoor gatherings.

This will continue, Interior Health confirmed.

“There is still no change in regional orders. Regional restrictions are reviewed with the provincial health officer, ”Interior Health said in a written statement. “Cases, test positivity, outbreaks, vaccination rates and hospital occupancy are all factored into decisions about regional restrictions.”

Flavel asks why it’s considered safer for an individual to travel to a big city, attend an event, and re-enter the central Okanagan, rather than going downtown to watch a theater. local.

“We were extremely supportive of all the health mandates and we followed the rules. We just don’t get the reasoning, there doesn’t seem to be a goal post, it just keeps moving, ”said Flavel. “We are told we cannot do our business, and the government is not on our side to help us. It seems wrong to me. ”

The continued restrictions have a significant impact on Flavel’s ability to do business, and now he doesn’t know if Kelowna Actors Studio can reach the end of the pandemic.

“The bills don’t go away, I can’t pay my staff, the money will eventually run dry,” Flavel said.

Right now, Flavel and his team are doing all they can to bring the theater to Kelowna, with a Christmas show in front of an audience half the size of the venue.

“If they don’t open to us, come back to the January or February season, it’s touch and go. Each month is, “Can we generate enough revenue to keep the business afloat,” said Flavel.

To get to this point in the pandemic, Kelowna Actors Studio now has hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and the only way to recover is to offer shows.

“The theater can recover, and we have a plan in place to recover,” Flavel said.

The stimulus package is to slowly ease restrictions and return to a regular season.

“We don’t have that indication now. Everything is more expensive, that was a major problem for us, realizing how much it costs more to do everything, ”said Flavel. “At some point we’ll have to say enough is enough and cut our losses. ”

Flavel is asking provincial leaders to pressure the public health office to ease restrictions and the federal government to fund organizations mandated to shut down.

“Either level the playing field, and be transparent about the goal, so that we all play in the same game. It’s really hard to be so close to the finish line and be left out in the game. cold. We deserve to cross the finish line like everyone else, ”said Flavel.

Flavel employs around 25 people, eight of whom are full-time.

“If Actors Studio ends, we will lose a major player in the cultural scene. It would be really sad to see so much passion and a family fall, ”said Flavel.

Flavel takes the risk of going broke financially to keep the performing arts in Kelowna because he believes it is imperative for a mature community.

“We heard from a lot of locals. When we had to phone and refund tickets, people were blown away, ”said Flavel. “We have strong relationships with the community, the community wants us here, we know that. It’s our passion, it’s what we’ve always done.

The Kelowna Actors Studio is not only an outlet for residents, but it also acts as a safe place for young people in the community.

“We have hundreds of children participating in our programs and this is their safe place, this is their home, this is where they become themselves and they are not intimidated, it is a world completely different for them, ”Flavel said.

“If we took that out, it would be like taking hockey out of the community. You can not. It is major. It’s rooted in who we are, ”he said.


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