A few Edmonton holiday favourites are encouraging you to get into the festive spirit from home.
The Citadel Theatre has been developing a digital version of A Christmas Carol since early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When things were being cancelled and being shut down, this was the performance we wanted to save somehow,” said artistic director Darcy Cloran. “It’s such a big part of who we are and how we connect with the Edmonton community.”
Cloran said taking in a performance is a holiday tradition for many.
“People say to us ‘Christmas doesn’t start until I’ve come to the Citadel and seen A Christmas Carol,” Cloran said.
The story remains the same — and was filmed over the course of two weeks inside the theatre. It will begin streaming on December 15.
“It’s happening only online because we can’t have a cast of 30 together,” Cloran said. “We had to record each singer in a sound booth by themselves and then lip-sync.”
Many familiar events are turning virtual — Edmonton’s Ukrainian Shumka Dancers is repurposing a 2017 performance of The Nutcracker for you to watch from home.
“We had a professional crew come in and video the whole show for us,” said Shumka’s Tash Orysiuk. “People can still feel like they are getting that part of their holiday tradition.”
After cancelling the annual in-person event, organizers are offering holiday fun at home through virtual visits with Santa, an online auction and specialized tree designs.
“You can let [organizers] know what kind of tree you want, how you want it decorated. It gets built and delivered to your home and set it up. Then when the Christmas season is over we come back and take it down,” Bliss said.
The spirit of giving is also an important aspect of many holiday events.
“Funds from the 2020 Virtual Festival of Trees could help make Alzheimer’s disease a mere memory,” said Dr. Jodi Abbot, president and CEO of UHF.
“Researchers at the University of Alberta have found a way to restore memory in mice that develop Alzheimer’s disease and they are excited about this possible breakthrough for people with this devastating condition.”
“2020 has been so unusual for everyone…and Christmas is that time you want those family traditions around,” Bliss said.
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