FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The North Peace Cultural Centre is unsure of what future programming may look like due to the continuous changes to Covid-19 restrictions.
After a meeting with other theatres in BC, the executive director of the NPCC, Baptiste Marcere, says it’s frustrating to have a press release one day, then have to wait for the next day for a public health order to find out what the Centre can and can’t do.
“We’re kind of all pretty tired of all the restrictions and always having to think about how we can still do business and keep surviving with those restrictions,” Marcere said.
“We also understand that we need to get COVID low. We are part of the Red Cross rapid testing program. So we have a lot of rapid tests for the employees and also the customers,” Marcere continued.
Marcere says the newest set of restrictions didn’t change the rules on theatre capacity, but he’s unsure of what it means for other NPCC programming.
“Our big question is about youth programs. Are we going to be able to have the Pokemon [meets]? Are we going to be able to do the Free Arts program in January? So those are the questions so far,” Marcere said.
When the pandemic first hit, Marcere says the NPCC responded by applying for grants and buying equipment such as 4K cameras to ensure the Centre could live stream any events.
Marcere says one of the biggest challenges the Centre has faced this year is getting artists to come back to work.
“It’s not always possible for them. They might need a lot of time to get their team back,” Marcere said.
Another challenge is money. Marcere says that though the Centre is in good financial standing, having grants to support the cultural society post-covid.
“We need money to have employees. We need money to invest in projects and make that happen. We need money just to have a show. Even if we lose money, well, at least the community has a show,” Marcere said.
“Our mandate is to promote the arts in Fort St. John. So we want to do that,” Marcere continued.
After an exchange with the City this year, the NPCC and the City have started working together.
“There is a process, and the process is continuing. I think people will know more next year, in January. But what is happening is that the City hired the Arts and Culture Manager, Eryn Griffith, and together we really worked on developing programs [like the Pop-Up Gallery],” Marcere said.
“That’s the best of the two worlds, of the City and what we can do together and having emergent artists. We’re hoping that we’ll do more in the future,” Marcere continued.
Marcere says that he was proud that during the Covid pandemic, the Centre was still able to hold events.
“We were able to have dancers coming on stage, performing, having the live stream and having people seeing that from other countries. We are also proud that new people came to the gallery, new artists came, that’s really the positive. So we’ll try to nourish that in the future,” Marcere said.
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