By Greg Bobinec on December 16, 2020.
With COVID-19 and the ensuing restrictions cancelling holiday events, New West Theatre wanted to still bring some holiday spirit to Lethbridge with its first “A Holiday Show of Lights” outside the Yates Memorial Centre.
From now until Dec. 25, New West Theatre has set up a holiday light display throughout the windows and exterior of the theatre which move to pre-recorded holiday songs from the New West ensemble.
“This year we couldn’t do a Christmas show in a traditional sense, as we aren’t allowed an audience indoors which has been disappointing in many ways, not just for us, but for a lot of people that come to make the New West show their holiday tradition,” says Kelly Reay, artistic director of New West. “We felt a responsibility as a publicly funded organization to serve the community the best that we could in these unusual circumstances, so we landed with this lighting instillation here at the Yates, which is a Christmas light instillation which can be viewed from the street or from the car. If you are in the car you can tune to 90.7 and you hear an exclusive short-range radio broadcast of the New West Theatre ensemble singing some Christmas tunes.”
Along with the light installation, New West is also trying a new direction to connect with the community over the holidays by adding the 12 Days of Christmas to their website and social media accounts, where community members will be able to listen to songs recorded by the ensemble.
“The second part of our holiday programming is what we are calling New West Theatre’s 12 Days of Christmas, and it is really every day from now until Dec. 25. We are going to be releasing a new piece of content via our social media accounts and the majority of that content is going to be New West Theatre singers performing Christmas tunes,” says Reay. “It feels really great to be able to bring something, even if it is a limited scope. Just to be able to engage with the public and help provide something to do during the holidays.”
With COVID-19 restrictions hindering many art and theatre activities, cast and crew of New West Theatre say it is a unique avenue they have taken to spread holiday cheer, as well as it has been nice to reunite with everyone once again.
“I think that it is pretty cool actually. I would like to do it every year, but normally we are booked solid and it is hard to do this, so it is a one-time fun thing that we get to do, so it pretty exciting that we thought of this and are making it happen,” says Scott Carpenter, Yates Theatre programmer and New West performer. “It has been great to see the rest of the cast from afar, but to be able to record together and sing some Christmas songs together, it honestly filled my heart to be able to see them.”
“A Holiday Show of Lights” begins at 6 p.m. nightly. Tune into 90.7 FM to listen to the holiday music playing along. Be sure to also check out newwesttheatre.com for their 12 Days of Christmas daily releases.
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