Tri-Cities arts hub channels Roaring Twenties in new speakeasy sessions

During the Roaring Twenties, the prohibition of alcohol fuelled the popularity of underground illicit establishments called speakeasies.

With the current prohibition on large gatherings, Evergreen Cultural Centre is channelling the Roaring 2020s with its new lineup of intimate, in-person performances starting this month.

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Unlike the speakeasies of the 1920s, Evergreen’s Fall Speakeasy Sessions were designed with safety at top of mind.

Its studio theatre has been transformed into a cabaret-style seating arrangement to ensure physical distancing. Instead of seats, tickets are being sold to tables, so household bubbles can stay together safely distanced from other patrons and the performers.

While the theatre can normally accommodate 250 people, the capacity has been reduced to 50 to meet public health guidelines.

“We’ve developed an entire facility safety plan that involves every person in our building and every room in our building, including rentals,” says Jessica Fowlis, Evergreen’s marketing manager.

"Since re-opening the Art Gallery in June, our team has been fine-tuning safety procedures and we feel very confident.”

The lineup of events for the fall includes 12 artists who will perform two shows on the same day, a matinee and evening performance. Each performance will run for roughly an hour with no intermission and will have scheduled sanitation between the two performance times.

All purchasing has been moved online, including concession, which will be available for pre-purchase.

“To organize all of this on such short notice was really challenging but we knew we wanted to support local artists,” Fowlis says.

She hopes the Tri-Cities community will be encouraged to come back to the theatre and Evergreen’s art gallery now that it’s safe to do so.

“In this season of change that everyone is going through, we’re happy that we can provide a place for our community to get back together, whether that’s coming into a show or renting the space,” Fowlis says.

“It’s nice to have everyone connected again. It’s something that we’re all missing.”

To see the performance lineups for the Fall Speakeasy Sessions and to buy tickets today, visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca/fall-speakeasies.

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