The Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts’ Board of Directors (QFPA) is seeking to engage the community on concerns, challenges and potential solutions to move forward during a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
Their 39th annual Festival set to take place in February 2022 has been cancelled.
Performers were hard hit last year despite the annual festival going ahead virtually.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, out-of-town participants and performers were unable to attend. The board was also unable to plan for any in-person meetings and events, and provincial representatives could not showcase their performance in the annual celebration known as the ‘Celebration of the Stars.’
“These limitations not only prevented tourism dollars from coming into our community, it also prevented us from promoting performing arts and encouraging new members,” reads a news release.
“That, coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and regulations, the work to secure safe and functional venues, vacant board positions and lack of volunteers, has forced us to cancel the 2022 festival.”
Cathy Heinzelman has been involved with the festival for more than 30 years and said Quesnel is sorely lacking a performing arts venue.
“We will never be able to the host the provincial festival. We had the committee here looking, but because we don’t have a minimum of 450 seat theatre we will never be able to host it here,” she said.
A 2018 Quesnel Observer article noted it was determined in 1989 that Quesnel was in need of a performing arts centre.
QFPA dance director Vicky Predan noted the number of entrants has been increasing each year, and said she believes finding community members to step up and assist them should not be difficult.
“Bottom line we have the interest. I know that we can drum up the support because our support has been great,” she said.
“If we could just deal with all of our sort of minor issues if you will for a lack of better word and have more people fill the positions then we can really focus on what we need which is a venue. That would alleviate so much of what we’re experiencing.”
A new venue would mean the accommodation of more entries and revenue without the potential of interfering with school activities.
“We just don’t want to see performing arts on the back burner,” Predan said.
“We all know that it is such an important part of any community and we’re lucky that we have lot of interest in other areas like sports and hockey, and that’s also very important. I don’t want to make it seem like it’s not because it is but the performing arts we don’t have a venue and we need to have more support.”
The Nov. 30 meeting is open to the public, and will be held on zoom or in-person. To attend, email firstname.lastname@example.org.