The people of Oliver are so lucky to have a great movie theatre, low cost, comfy seats with tons of room for long legs and big hits come fairly soon, so we can enjoy good shows at a very low cost. Best thing is the very short drive home for most of us.
Same goes for our great live stage at Frank Venables Theatre, probably much admired and yearned for by folk in surrounding districts.
Dave and I have always loved live shows, as teens we went weekly to a club that had one good artist each week. Before the star came on, there were always several other performers who later went on to become stars in their own right.
These weekly outings cost us very little as the club owners were hoping to make their profit on drinks sold. No ID checks in English pubs and clubs in those days, in fact nobody carried ID at all. In 1960’s England, driver’s licenses were a small red book, no photo included. It was quite legal to not carry your license and, if stopped for any driving infraction, you had three days to produce your license to any police station. Infractions earned points and if you collected enough points you went to court and usually lost your driving privileges for a while. Points also increased car insurance rates.
Drinking was not a problem for either Dave or I, neither of us particularly enjoyed the taste of booze and couldn’t afford it anyway. We could make one drink each last all night and enjoy the show and dancing.
When Dave was going to have his 20th birthday, I bought us two tickets to see the Beatles. The Liverpool lads were performing in a theatre just about fifteen miles from our town. I bought tickets for the show and the private bus that took us there for two Pounds each. That is less that $4.00 each. Of course this was 1964 and prices were much lower then, but it was still a really good deal to see the boys. This was still the era of the band wearing Neru jackets and pudding bowl haircuts but it was great to see our idols up close and personal.
Marriage and the arrival of four young daughters stopped our outings to paid entertainment for many years. A meal out and a movie, on our anniversary was about all we could manage for many years. As we aged I got to see many of our favourite personalities on stage at the Orpheum or Q.E. theatres in Vancouver, but those were maybe just once year treats.
I remember enjoying Harry Belafonte and Anne Murray, also the Irish Rovers but my favourite of all was seeing Yul Brynner in his red suit in The King and I. We sat in the balcony of the Q.E. and were just a few feet from him. He had probably played that part thousands of times but, that night, he seemed to be enjoying it as though it was his first time. Watching him whirl his partner, in her huge crinoline dress, around the stage, while they sang “Shall we dance”, will always be one of my WOW moments. I was entranced. The next year he passed away and I was so glad that I had enjoyed his performance while I could.
Since coming to Oliver we have made trips to the coast to enjoy such great shows as Phantom of the Opera and Showboat or ballet performances by visiting companies, but most of our outings are now to local entertainment. The calibre of our local talent, be it SOSS musicals, visiting musicians or amateur plays is amazing, we are indeed blessed at what is available to us in our quiet little town.
I honestly think one of my happiest moments was sitting in the sun, a glass of wine in my hand and watching Abracadabra, an Abba tribute band, play at our own Festival of the Grape. The joy of the music, of dancing on the grass and sitting amongst the splendour of our beautiful environment, was just like heaven on earth. Who could ask for more??