The Soldier’s Tale: a performance experience online

The Kamloops Symphony and Western Canada Theatre team up to share a new project

Lauren Okano will dance in the role of the princess atop the Sagebrush theatre stage, for the Kamloops Symphony’s first performance since March. (Submitted)

The Kamloops Symphony (KSO) and Western Canada Theatre (WCT) are bringing back performances in a new way, on the web. Both companies essentially halted production mid-march due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but are back with a collaborative project, The Soldier’s Tale.

Ryan Noakes, the Marketing Coordinator for the Kamloops Symphony, said “we have teamed up with Western Canada Theatre to put on the Soldier’s Tale which was written under very similar circumstances 100 years ago in the midst of the Spanish flu pandemic.” 

Noakes added that “the story is a Faustian type tale; a soldier coming home from war meets the devil on a lonely road and the devil tricks him into trading his violin, … for a magical book that can tell the future and he can use that to acquire unlimited wealth. And of course, because it’s a deal with the devil things do not go well.”

Although the KSO and WCT have worked together in the past, this will be the first time either company will be putting on a production for the web together, as it is for a lot of professional performance companies.

“We do work with Western Canada Theatre and the Kamloops Art Gallery every year on presenting the Mayor’s Gala for the Arts but it’s been seven years since our last collaborative performance with WCT,” said Noakes.

Although both companies regularly put on larger scale events with many actors, performers, and musicians this production has been kept quite small in order to keep those participating safe and distanced from one another. The show will have seven musicians led by Dina Gilbert along with WCT Artistic Director, James MacDonald, and professional dancer, Lauren Okano.

For those attending the live stream on Saturday, there will also be a post-show Q & A with the creative team. People wishing to view the online event will also have the opportunity to order dinner and wine with their ticket purchase. The event is working with Mittz Kitchen and Twisted Olive to deliver a fine dining experience, all from the comfort of the viewer’s homes. 

Noakes said, “there will be some dinner add-ons, so you can order pick-up or delivery.”

This online experience will be available on Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. to view the performance live for the first time with other audience members tuning in from the comfort of their homes. Those interested in seeing the performance on the big screen can head to the Paramount Theatre to witness the magic on Sept. 27 at either 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. The online experience will also be available for a couple of weeks after the initial viewing on Sept. 26.

Those interested in purchasing tickets to either of the viewings can head to kamloopslive.ca. Online viewing prices range from $15 to $25, depending on household size and $20 per ticket for the in-person screening at the Paramount Theatre. There are also supporter pass options for those interested in donating $50 to the KSO and WCT. There is also a $5 COVID price for those who have been affected by the pandemic and may not be able to afford a full-price ticket for online viewing.

“It’s our first grand experiment with a new model of distributing the concert experience, so shifting to the online approach. We’re just hoping as many people as possible are able to enjoy the performance.”