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MORRISBURG – While the Upper Canada Playhouse scene has been largely dark for the past year and a half, that certainly doesn’t mean the theater has remained calm – far from it.

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“In one way it seems like we weren’t doing anything, but in the other way we had our core staff of four doing all this research and all this work from a point where we think we can actually open up. Said Donnie Bowes, artistic director and director of marketing and sponsorships for the performance hall.

After a long hiatus, the theater will finally reopen its doors to patrons, albeit for a shorter season. In a normal year, it would offer shows and concerts from March to December. This year, however, it will present five shows in all – three concerts and two plays – from September to December.

The first show, a live concert titled Johnny and June, will run from September 7-19 and will pay homage to the lives and songs of Johnny Cash and June Carter.

Next up will be Old Love by Canadian playwright Norm Foster, from September 23 to October 30. A tribute to Patsy Cline will follow from November 2 to 14, which in turn will be followed by Lucien in Trumpland, a comedy, from November 2 to 14. 16-28.

The theater house season will end with Rockin ‘Round the Christmas Tree, a Christmas concert that runs from November 30 to December 19.

The theater will open its ticket office on August 16.

The ongoing pandemic will of course cause some changes for the theater – namely the number of spectators allowed in the seats. As of Friday, 82 people will be allowed to attend each presentation, which Bowes hopes may increase in the coming weeks.

“It will take compromises from everyone,” he said of the reduced capacity of the theater. “Right now, with social distancing and all that stuff, we can get 82 seats. It’s better than we thought we would get.

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Anyone purchasing tickets will be able to reserve certain capsules – four for one.

“Right now it’s the best thing to keep everyone safe,” Bowes said. “It will be strange for some, but just being able to turn on the stage lights and do something will be fun, I think.”

To ensure the safety of not only clients, but also staff and actors, the theater has worked actively with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU).

“They (the BSEO) have been so cooperative and supportive,” Bowes said. “We sent them our seating chart and they reviewed and approved it.”

In addition to offering a seating plan, the theater will also require patrons to wear their masks indoors. Staff will also disinfect the entire area before each show.

Although it hasn’t offered performances for some time, the theater has still managed to keep the lights on, in large part thanks to the generosity of the locals.

“A lot of theaters had opened the doors to a fundraising campaign and I really thought about it for a long time before suggesting it to the board, but we did – it was the best thing we had. never done, ”Bowes said.

So far, the campaign, called Help the playhouse get on the show, has raised approximately $ 125,000 during the three months of airing. It is expected to continue until November.

“These donations were made by about 850 people,” Bowes said. “It was so encouraging to see if it was $ 20 or $ 10,000 from a business. We even got calls from two seniors who told us they couldn’t donate, but wished us all the best. All of this validation was really important to us.

More information on the Playhouse’s upcoming shows is available on its website, at https://uppercanadaplayhouse.com/.

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