The Orillia Opera House is ready to welcome spectators back into the auditorium later this month.
The entertainment schedule will kick off with the Barrie Dance Conservatory on Feb. 23 and 28. Then one of Canada’s most accomplished songwriters and recognizable voices, Chantal Kreviazuk, will perform live on March 10.
Wendy Fairbairn, the general manager of the Orillia Opera House, says their audience base has been loyal during the pandemic. Most have held on to their tickets during show delays, patiently waiting to see their favourite entertainers.
“It’s been challenging for everybody,” Fairbairn said. “We’ve been lucky to have events in all three years of the pandemic so far.”
The Opera House’s doors opened for the first time in the pandemic during August of 2020 and then closed again after a few months until August 2021. The last shutdown came on Dec. 23, 2021.
“I think it has a lot to say about the town, the council, and the community that everyone is supportive as to what we are doing,” Fairbairn said.
Fairbairn expects the community to be excited to return to the theatre this month, despite COVID restrictions. Attendees must show proof of vaccination and must wear a mask, she noted. The Opera House is also capped at 50 percent capacity, but Fairbairn is hopeful that will change in March.
“Once they change the regulations, we will make sure we have everything in place to change the capacity in our theatre spaces,” she said.
Fairbairn expects shows to be well attended at the theatre going forward.
“When we were able to have people coming through the doors, we had people coming in,” she said. “We have people visiting from all of the community to see shows.”
Fairbairn says the loyal staff and volunteer base at the Opera House are all returning.
“A lot of our volunteers are retirees and older people,” she said. “They love coming to the theatre for the plain fact of being at the theatre.”
As capacity restrictions increase, the Opera House will be looking to add a few more volunteers and event staff.
Fairbairn is looking forward to hearing laughter fill the Opera House when comedian Ron James has the spotlight on March 20.
“I’m excited to see people back in the theatre space having a good time,” she said. “Seeing their excitement and reaction is always fun. I love being there and being a part of that because it makes my staff and I feel good.”
For full show listings, click here.