Much-anticipated dance performances and Michele Riml's new play put on hold due to latest provincial health order

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      Vancouver's performing-arts community has once again been whacked by a provincial health order.

      Today, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that all events and community-based gatherings have been suspended in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions until December 7.

      This fiat takes effect at midnight tonight and is intended to curb the spread of COVID-19.

      According to Henry's order, this includes "musical, theatrical or dance entertainment or performance, live band performance, disc jockey performance, strip dancing, comedic act, art show, magic show, puppet show, fashion show, book signing, reading, recitation, display, film", and much more.

      One of the casualties is a series of much-anticipated dance performances.

      B.C. choreographer and dancer Mary-Louise Albert was scheduled to launch a program tonight called Solo Dances/Past into Present at the Scotiabank Dance Centre.

      It was going to be the first live show at this facility since the spring, featuring Livona Ellis, Vanessa Goodman, Rebecca Margolick performing solos that Albert danced more than two decades ago. Albert herself was going to make a comeback as a dancer at the age of 65 in a solo work choreographed by Serge Bennathon.

      But the three days of live dance have been cancelled. Instead, a video of the show will be streamed from December 3 to 17, according to the Scotiabank Dance Centre website.

      The Chutzpah! Festival has been planning to present Hourglass, a world premiere dance performance by choreographer Idan Cohen, live along with a simulcast from the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre on November 25.

      A live-simulcast comedy event is also scheduled on the festival's closing night on November 28 from the same location. All the other Chutzpah! Festival shows are being presented virtually.

      These aren't the only cultural programs affected.

      Shawn Macdonald and Amy Rutherford as a brother and sister in The Amaryllis.
      Emily Cooper

      The Firehall Arts Centre has also been hit hard by the order. The Amaryllis, written by Michele Riml and directed by Mindy Parfitt, had four more shows in its run.

      Due to Henry's fiat, the Firehall has suspended all live performances until December 7.

      Coincidentally, the Straight just included the Firehall's artistic producer, Donna Spencer, in its annual Best of Vancouver issue for being a leader in pioneering safe COVID-19 protocols in the arts. 

      “We are disheartened by the recent restrictions to suspend further operations as our patrons have greatly appreciated the safe haven we have provided for them to enjoy the performing arts, but we respect the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry and will adhere to these updated orders,” Spencer said in a statement.

      "The Firehall Arts Centre is hopeful to be able to move forward with live performances once again with our seasonal production, Solstice Greetings, on December 17, 18 and 19, pending approval from the Provincial Health Services Authority," she continued. "Patrons will be notified of a potential virtual performance of Solstice Greetings."

      Anita Rochon's Pathetic Fallacy was scheduled to have its live Vancouver premiere on November 25.

      The Vancouver premiere of the Chop Theatre's Pathetic Fallacy was scheduled to run for five days beginning on November 25. This exploration of the impact of extreme weather events features actor Jonathon Young on opening night in a live and online presentation. The online shows will continue.

      And Chor Leoni Men's Choir has planned a run of Translucence: An Immersive Light and Sound Experience at the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel from December 4 to December 23.

      Because of the site of the hotel's grand ballroom, groups of patrons will be seated at great distances from one another to see a light show and listen to prerecorded music.