Postponements and cancellations leave gap in E.A. Rawlinson Schedule

The E.A. Rawlinson Centre received news on Tuesday of two more acts cancelling their upcoming performances.

Diyet and the Love Soldiers were scheduled to play on Feb. 3, while Lightwire Theatre were set to perform April 9. Both shows were cancelled at performer’s request.

Rawlinson marketing and events coordinator Cara Stelmaschuk said it’s difficult to know which acts are coming given the uncertainty around national and international travel.

“It’s tricky right now, trying to promote all these shows,” Stelmaschuk explained. “You get your ads ready to go, do up some campaigns for them, and then it’s like, ‘well, never mind. I’ll just go ahead and delete those, get rid of that (and) cancel these.’ You try to be on top of everything and work ahead.”

Unlike the last round of cancellations that occurred during the first COVID wave, Stelmaschuk said local public health guidelines aren’t the cause. Instead, many artists are choosing to stop touring themselves, especially those based out of the U.S.

“These aren’t our decisions,” she said. “We haven’t been mandated to close. We haven’t been mandated to reduce our audience sizes or anything like that, so if an act wants to still take place, we’ll try and sell tickets and we’ll get people here.

“It’s still a safe place to come see a show. That’s kind of our struggle right now: getting people here to see the acts that still do want to come.”

Livewire Theatre and Diyet and the Love Soldiers are the second and third acts to cancel their trip to Prince Albert. Comedian Brent Butt cancelled his Jan. 23 show in P.A., but later rescheduled for June 19. Stelmaschuk said they’re hoping to have both Livewire and Diyet on the calendar again next year.

That could be difficult even if Saskatchewan is COVID-free, since most acts tour the surrounding provinces at the same time. If other province’s start shutting down, the Rawlinson could lose more acts again.

“They don’t just come up here for us,” Stelmaschuk explained. “There’s always a bunch of dates that come with these tours.

While the recent cancellations are disappointing, at least one performer has guaranteed he’ll be in Prince Albert. International countertenor Terry Barber plans to hold his concert at the Rawlinson on Feb. 9.

Stelmaschuk said Barber was the first act they cancelled when COVID hit in March 2020. He’s planning to perform this year as long as public health regulations allow it.

“Terry Barber has basically said he’s coming whether hell or high water,” Stelmaschuk said with a laugh. “He doesn’t care. He’s just going to come. He’s going to do the show. He’s excited to be here.”

Stelmaschuk added that box office employees would be reaching out to anyone who bought tickets for the cancelled shows. Audiences will have the option to refund their ticket, take box office credit, or simply donate the funds to the Rawlinson.

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