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Drayton Entertainment ramping up to go live again

Having been playing back some of its classics, including Neil Aitchison in Sorry, I’m Canadian from the 2008 season, Drayton Entertainment is set to resume live shows. [Submitted]

With a full slate of productions across its seven theatres, Drayton Entertainment is getting set to welcome patrons back to live performances after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

“Pre-pandemic we were entertaining over 250,000 theatregoers,” said artistic director and CEO Alex Mustakas.

However the theatre company is taking a somewhat more cautious approach to reopening. For their shows running in May through July there are three options for attendees to choose from. This includes shows at full and limited capacity (reduced by 33 per cent) with no proof of vaccination required. A reduced-capacity show with a proof of vaccination requirement is also being offered.

“It’s going to allow a little bit of flexibility regarding audience capacity choices as they relate to personal comfort levels. We want to keep everybody safe obviously…even though the mask mandate has been lifted, we’re still going to encourage people to wear masks in the auditorium,” Mustakas explained. 

Drayton is thrilled to be putting on productions again, he added.

“We’ve had seven empty theatres around the province for two years and arts and culture and live theatre, along with hospitality and tourism were the hardest hit industries because we’re in the gathering business. [People] haven’t really been able to gather to have that communal, in-person experience,” Mustakas said.

“We know how important arts and culture and live theatre is to a balanced community.”

The theatre company is offering a wide variety of shows, including three at the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre and five at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse.

“I think I designed a season that will appeal to all ages. So there’s a good variety of shows that our patrons will be able to choose from. From comedies and musicals to dramas to our annual holiday panto with the Wizard of Oz. There is something for everyone,” said Mustakas.

“There’s going to be lots of great music and there’s going to be lots of comedy, and the occasional show that will make us think as well.”

The upcoming production of Mamma Mia in St. Jacobs is a lighthearted way to welcome people back to live theatre, Mustakas added.

“We’re all craving to just have two hours to escape from the world and have fun and laugh and listen to great music,” he said.

Director David Connolly agreed.

“We think it’s a perfect invitation, a perfect experience to invite people back for the first time that we promise a feel good, super fun and funny dance in the aisles night,” Connolly said.

Based on the songs of the Swedish pop band ABBA the play is centred around 20-year-old Sophie who is getting set to marry her fiancé, Sky. Sophie grew up without knowing who her father is, so before the big day she invites three men each of whom might be her father in the hopes that the real one will walk her down the aisle.

Mamma Mia originally performed in London’s West End in 1999 and was released as a film in 2008. The stage performance has been seen by 54 million people to date. The St. Jacobs production of the play will run from June 15 to July 9. The full cast will be announced at a later date.

“It’s just super fun. A great way to return to theatre,” said Connolly.

More information can be found online.

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