Brighter days are ahead for Over the Rainbow Children’s Entertainment Series with the launch of COVID-19 vaccinations in Sault Ste. Marie.
The pandemic forced the presenters of acts for youngsters to cancel Millan and Faye and The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito, the last two performances of its 2019-2020 season. A special event, Femmes de Feu’s Tweet Tweet, directed by Sault native Monica Dottor, was also scrubbed.
Over the Rainbow is planning to resume shows in January. That’s three months after the federal government anticipates vaccinating all Canadians. That gives time for artists to rehearse and prepare to get shows back on the road.
“It’s going to take awhile to get everything organized,” said Houston.
The group has about six potential acts, including puppeteer, and Sault native, Adam Proulx’sAdam’s Unplugged Puppet Party, to draw from for a 2021-2022 season that will likely feature four shows through to May, said chair Sandra Houston.
Performances will continue at Sault Community Theatre Centre, Over the Rainbow’s home since 2017.
“All of the artists who come in just love the venue,” said Houston. “We wouldn’t think of changing.”
Over the Rainbow’s lineup of entertainment won’t be announced until presenters from Northern Ontario that team up to bring in acts know they can use schools.
Sault Community Theatre Centre can seat about 900, so Houston and her seven-member planning committee have lots of room to spread out audience members if there’s still restrictions on crowd sizes.
Cash and in-kind support from sponsors help keep ticket prices low. Twelve businesses and individuals contribute at least about $300 to Over the Rainbow.
How many patrons will still be able to help following the pandemic is still to be determined, said Houston.
“Everybody is going to need extra help,” she said. “All of the small businesses are going to need support.”
Almost all the 60 to 70 season-ticket holders agreed to donate the remaining cash for their 2019-2020 subscriptions to Over the Rainbow. They received tax receipts for their contributions.
“We are very happy with the response that way,” said Houston.
Getting back to planning shows is welcomed by the Sault Ste. Marie Medal of Merit recipient and former executive director of the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie.
“To be even able to talk about a season now it’s amazing because before we just didn’t know,” said Houston. “Now we’re thinking with people getting the COVID shot that we should be able to plan.”
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