Bouncing back: Maritime arts community is bouncing back this summer with new shows, entertainment line-ups announced

The doors to the Highland Arts Theatre in Sydney, N.S. have been closed since April. On Monday however, they announced their summer line-up as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease in Nova Scotia.

 “We didn’t know for most of this year if we’d be able to do anything, especially after the third wave shut down, but I’m so delighted to see our numbers have been back under control for quite a while in Nova Scotia,” says Wesley Colford, artistic director of the Highland Arts Theatre.

Starting Tuesday, the theatre will be presenting its first outdoor production of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors.”

On the main stage, the facility will host a number of shows through the months of July and August.

“A lot of these productions had already started – at least the planning stages – so we’ve been able to keep them going. Our first production, which starts tomorrow, was rehearsing on zoom for the first month,” says Colford.

At Neptune Theatre in Halifax, they were able to have 100 people in their seats for performances before the province's latest shutdown,

“It’s a testament to the work everyone has been doing, that we’re able to move towards having audiences back in our building again,” says Jeremy Webb, the artistic director of Neptune Theatre.

Webb says they’re almost back at that point, and are hoping to continue to increase capacity.

“It’s been well documented that for the entire arts communitym the pandemic has hit us really hard, because we are an industry based on people coming into our building and having a shared experience,” he says.

Area 506 in Saint John, N.B. is moving to a concert series format this year.

The festival will be held on the waterfront with 10 shows over five nights.

 “I think more than anything it’s an incredible opportunity for people to get out and celebrate and enjoy live music for the first time in a long time,” says Ray Gracewood, Area 506 founder and chairperson.