Pas­sion play fin­ishes sea­son on high note

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail sub­mit­ted

A strong fi­nal week­end for the Cana­dian Bad­lands Pas­sion play helped to boost ticket sales, how­ever over all, the heat in the pre­vi­ous weeks saw at­ten­dance wilt in the sun.

The Pas­sion Play wrapped up its third and fi­nal week­end on Sun­day in front of an ap­pre­cia­tive au­di­ence. While they had a slow start, they fin­ished strong.

“We were pretty deep in the weeds go­ing into that fi­nal week­end,” said Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Vance Neu­dorf. “We topped over 5,000 en­trances in the fi­nal week, so that is re­ally nice.”

“Over­all at­ten­dance was down 5 per cent (com­pared to last sea­son).”

Go­ing into the fi­nal week­end of the Cana­dian Bad­lands Pas­sion play, the show is re­ceiv­ing rave re­views but weather warn­ings are cut­ting into the at­ten­dance.

The sun shined for the first two weeks for this year’s Pas­sion Play, but maybe a bit too bright. Neu­dorf says one of the de­cid­ing fac­tors was not the weather, but rather the weather warn­ings. Over the last cou­ple of weeks, the val­ley has en­joyed beau­ti­ful, hot, sunny weather. How­ever, these trans­lated into heat warn­ings.

“This pol­icy to put out heat wave warn­ings, what it does is paints a big red square over our area on the En­vi­ron­ment Canada web­site,” said Neu­dorf, adding this may have scared off po­ten­tial au­di­ence mem­bers.

Just as soon as the heat warn- ing came down, the air qual­ity warn­ing sprang up due to the BC for­est fires.

“We went from the en­tire map in South­ern Al­berta turn­ing red; our se­niors look at that, and they are prob­a­bly go­ing to stay home, and then it was all grey say­ing stay in­doors.

He says the Pas­sion Play is well equipped for the hot weather. It has shaded ar­eas, mis­ters and even golf carts with frozen treats and re­fresh­ments.

“We take care of peo­ple, but un­for­tu­nately we can’t put all of that on the Weather Chan­nel.”

The air qual­ity warn­ings did dis­si­pate be­fore last week­end’s show, which may have helped the at­ten­dance.

The drop in at­ten­dance means a drop in rev­enues for the show. He ex­plains that ap­prox­i­mately 50 per cent of the play’s rev­enue comes from ad­mis­sions. Be­cause of this, they will have to make it up in other ar­eas.

“We are look­ing at try­ing to find more monthly donors. We have a list of stuff to do and put back togther be­fore next sea­son, the fall is the time to do it, so we need those peo­ple be­hind us through the fall,” he said.

De­spite a slow start, the Pas­sion Play fin­ished the sea­son on a high note with im­proved at­ten­dance. Heat warn­ings may have played a role in keep­ing the au­di­ence at home.

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