Taking centre stage: Cape Breton's Savoy Theatre hosts first post-pandemic performance

With some COVID-19 restrictions set to be lifted in just days in Nova Scotia, the Savoy Theatre in Cape Breton opened to hundreds for the first time in nearly two years on Wednesday.

There were a lot of nerves and a renewed sense of hope and optimism for patrons and performers.

Jenn Sheppard performed songs from her new album in front of hundreds last night.

"We could just hear the murmur of the crowd and that is a magical sound that we haven't heard in a long, long, time," said Sheppard.

It's been 18 months since a live audience attended a show at the Savoy in Glace Bay.

"The audience was so warm and welcoming and were all there for the same reasons we were there, so we felt that connection immediately," said Sheppard.

Executive director Pam Leader says she and her staff were ready to welcome people back through the doors with safety measures in place.

"It was March 16, 2020, since we've had anyone into the theatre except for the five staff we have," said Leader.

"We mailed out their tickets or they picked them up at the door. They did their hand sanitizing, they showed their proof of vaccination, and then they were seated," Leader.

Phase 5 in Nova Scotia will take centre stage on Oct. 4 with a cautious approach.

Masks will still be mandatory in indoor public places, but physical distancing and gathering limits for events hosted by a recognized business or organization will be lifted.

"We're still going to move with a little bit of caution. We will open up with our shows in November and our Christmas shows that people can come see in person and that helps the savoy tremendously," said Leader.

It also helps the performers, who have been left without paying gigs since the pandemic began.

"Last night was a really big reminder of what things can be," said Sheppard.