Members of the cast of the Metro Theatre production of A Christmas Carol – The Radio Play.
Members of the cast of the Metro Theatre production of A Christmas Carol – The Radio Play.

With ongoing restrictions in British Columbia due to COVID-19, Vancouver’s Metro Theatre has cancelled all live performances of A Christmas Carol – The Radio Play.

But as they say in the biz, the show must go on. And like so many other arts organizations, it is making the pivot online to present this new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel by Erik Gow.

It is somewhat of a double hit for the community theatre group, who were first forced to cancel its annual Christmas pantomime after 35 years of continuous performances due to the pandemic.

“This is the first time anything like this will be seen on the Metro stage, and this is the only Christmas radio play in Vancouver this December,” said director Chris Adams in an earlier media release. “I’m excited and scared to direct such a show. Pantos I’ve directed and loved for many years [but] radio plays live on stage are a new beast and a new creation. But don’t worry, scary is good and often creates wonderfully creative art.”

As a non-profit, the majority of Metro Theatre’s operating budget comes from ticket sales. With the cancellation of its Christmas show, it will have a significant impact on the organization. By offering A Christmas Carol – The Radio Play for viewing by donation, the company says the funds raised from the online show will ensure it can continue.

“I wish you could have seen it live,” says Metro Theatre’s general manager and technical director Les Erskine. “This original production was a shining example of all the best that theatre can bring to theatre-goers and to those of us that worked on it. It’s not often that the creative passion of so many on the production team, backstage and on stage, can work and build on each other in collaboration. This is theatre.”

Presented as a live 1940s radio broadcast with sound effects and a musical score, six fully-costumed actors create over forty characters to tell the story of the three ghosts who take Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey to teach him the true meaning of Christmas.

A Christmas Carol – The Radio Play digital stream goes live on December 21 at 2:00 pm and will be available to watch until the end of day on January 3, 2021. Visit metrotheatre.com for more information.

Editor’s Note (18 December): This article was revised to reflect Erik Gow as responsible for the adaptation, not David Gow as originally reported.