Citadel Theatre's A Christmas Carol cancelled, other Edmonton shows go on

·3 min read
This year's production of A Christmas Carol at the Citadel Theatre cancelled its last two performances. (Nanc Price for a Christmas Carol by David van Bell, The Citadel Theatre 2021 - image credit)
This year's production of A Christmas Carol at the Citadel Theatre cancelled its last two performances. (Nanc Price for a Christmas Carol by David van Bell, The Citadel Theatre 2021 - image credit)

A Christmas Carol has been cancelled but other shows will go on as holiday events around Edmonton adjust to another festive season under COVID-19.

The Citadel Theatre's annual production of the play based on Charles Dickens' novella last year was an online streaming affair. This year it was truly back to the theatre stage — until Wednesday.

Spokesperson Brianna Gallagher said in an emailed statement that a non-patron facing member of the company had tested positive for COVID-19.

"The individual has no contact with patrons, but out of an abundance of caution in this evolving situation with the Omicron variant we are cancelling all remaining performances of A Christmas Carol," she said.

"We are truly heartbroken to be having to make this announcement, but the safety of our patrons and team will always be our first priority."

The theatre company is working on handling ticket options and contacting patrons, Gallagher said.

There are no shows scheduled after these performances until Jan. 14, but the Citadel will be evaluating the season's future as the situation develops, she said.

December productions

Alberta Ballet's production of The Nutcracker is going ahead. Performances held this week were fully capacity with masks required at all times except when eating and drinking in assigned seating. Friday's performance will operate at 50 per cent capacity and the concession will be closed.

Those protocols are in line with new restrictions announced by the province earlier this week, which come into effect on Friday.

The Winspear Centre had already prohibited food and drink and moved to less than half-capacity due to physical distancing for its performances since October, according to a spokesperson for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Some third-party events may have had full capacity, they noted.

Shows at the downtown music hall are planned to continue with these measures through January.

Christmas mass

For Christians seeking ritual during the high holy holiday, Christmas mass will continue as it has since restrictions, including limiting capacity to one-third of the fire code, were put on places of worship.

"The plan is steady as she goes," said Father Jim Corrigan, the priest for Our Lady of Perpetual Health in Sherwood Park and the vicar-general of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.

Mandatory masking, hand sanitizing stations, and regular cleaning of the pews are all standard protocol. Those seeking to attend mass in-person are required to sign up online or call their local parish.

Livestream masses will be available — much the same as with other faith denominations.

"Many of our churches will be having services," said Bishop Stephen London of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton.

"But just because of this variant and a lot of uncertainty around it, we do have several churches that will be closing in-person worship services, and just going to digital and online only."

The McDougall United Church in downtown Edmonton has opted to not hold in-person mass and instead stream digitally.

New Year's Eve

The City of Edmonton has cancelled its New Year's Eve fireworks for the second year in a row, citing the Omicron variant as a cause for the abundance of caution.

Recreational fireworks are still allowed for small groups within Edmonton, according to a news release, but a permit is required and all safety guidelines must be followed.

St. Albert plans to go ahead with its light display but the public will not be able to access the site at Meadowview Ball Diamonds.

"Decisions around hosting this event have been made specifically with COVID-19 safety in mind and as such, the city feels confident moving the event forward as scheduled," Kristen Schopper, event and facility scheduling supervisor for recreation and parks, said in an emailed statement.

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