Kendra Bidwell admits getting on stage after all these months off has taken some getting used to.
“It’s a little like ‘oh hi, you’re clapping your hands for me, thank you, I missed you too,” said Bidwell, a graduate of the Canadian School of Performing Arts.
Kendra is part of the small but dedicated team at Victoria’s SKAM theatre company. This week, the 25-year-old company launched its latest, and perhaps boldest venture yet – a pop-up home delivery theatre.
“We’ve written, we’ve created all these pieces and we’re performing them and driving around in a truck all summer,” said Bidwell.
With playhouses on Vancouver Island still closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the cast and crew knew in order to perform, they’d need to adapt.
“[We took] a lot of precautions in making sure we’re not in each other’s bubbles in trying to space everything out,” said Tony Adams, director and co-creator of the pop-up home delivery theatre shows.
Over the years, SKAM has gained a reputation for its unconventional productions which mostly take place outside or in their small, mobile mini-theatre, which they couldn’t use this year due to physical distancing guidelines. Instead, they’re performing in neighbourhoods on a stage set-up in the back of a pick-up truck. They also blocked and wrote their skits with COVID restrictions in mind.
On Wednesday evening, on South Turner St. in James Bay, around 20 people gathered on lawn chairs to watch SKAM’s 150minute live theatre performance.
“Well, we all had a laugh,” said Paula Jardine, the James Bay resident who organized the neighbourhood gathering.
“What a great way to get the neighbours out of the house and say hello and as you saw, a lot of the neighbours showed up,” added Jardine.
Despite the unusual circumstances, the performers say they were thrilled to get back on stage.
“As a performer, it’s something I’ve been missing a lot. So it’s nice that I get the chance to act and spread joy and happiness to these people who’ve been missing it,” said Bidwell.
“It sounds cliche, but I’m really appreciating the community in Victori. I was a little bit of a cynic in the beginning but seeing all these people come out is really nice,” said Lynnea Chan, one of four performers in the SKAM production.
The pop-up home delivery theatre runs Wednesday to Sunday and is by donation. Requests for shows can be made at www.skam.ca.