The Whistler Arts Council’s (WAC) popular Performance Series, featuring a diverse mix of national and international performers, turns 27 this year, and in that time has become the jewel of the organization’s annual programming slate.
Kicking off Thursday (Oct. 17) with the always-energetic folk duo of Valdy from Ottawa and Graham Wardrop from New Zealand, the 2013/14 Performance Series offers a well-rounded cultural experience, featuring 13 professional acts from Canada and around the world.
“A lot of what the Arts Council does is community building… but the Performance Series has always endeavoured to bring national and international professional touring groups to the local audience, and also provide an opportunity for visitors to see Canadian talent when they’re here,” said WAC executive director Doti Niedermayer.
With this year’s schedule offering eclectic musical, theatre and children’s acts, including family-favourite Fred Penner, the beautiful melodies of the B.C. Boys’ Choir and the refreshing honesty of returning storyteller and country singer Del Barber, the WAC always strives to provide illuminating performances that will appeal to a broad audience while still expanding guests’ cultural palates.
“We look at the Performance Series as a niche we’re trying to fill,” Niedermayer said. “What’s missing in this town that people want to see, or what can we expose our audience to that will broaden and develop their interest in the arts and also give them what they’re looking for?”
Neidermayer also said the arts council will give more opportunities for homegrown Whistler acts to open for the other seasoned performers this year, an effort that’s aligned with the recently released Community Cultural Plan — a long-term vision for the resort’s cultural and artistic landscape that was spearheaded by the WAC.
“We’re definitely incorporating local programming into the Performance Series and that will enable a local artist to be in front of that kind of audience, to be on that stage and have technical assistance, professional presentation and marketing, and get known in the community,” she said. “That was a recommendation in the Cultural Plan and something we’ve taken to heart.”
To sweeten the pot for locals this year, the Arts Council is rolling out a special offer by bundling a one-year WAC membership — which gives you advanced notice of upcoming events and discounted prices on summer arts workshops — with a punchcard entitling you to six seats at any Performance Series shows throughout the season. Priced at just $110 — a $65 savings — the offer is just another way WAC aims to keep enriching and entertaining program affordable for the community, according to Niedermayer.
“I don’t think our ticket prices have changed in the last eight years, and they’re very reasonable,” she said. “We keep thinking we have to move (the ticket prices) up a little bit but we really want to make this accessible because we want our audience to be able to attend, and families with kids to attend, and people who don’t have a lot of money in their twenties and thirties to attend.”
Valdy and Graham Wardrop perform at Millennium Place Thursday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $26.50, or $24.50 for students and seniors and $22.50 for WAC members.
To purchase tickets or to see the full schedule for the 2013/14 Performance Series, visit www.artswhistler.com.