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Rivercity Players boosting Campbell River youth arts scene by providing performance space

‘It’s hard for a scene to get going if there’s nowhere for it to exist’ — Highway 19 Concerts Director
Campbell River’s Rivercity Players has started offering stage space to young performers. Photo by Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror

Are you a Campbell River teen who plays in a black metal band?

Or are you more interested in slam poetry? Perhaps stand up comedy is more your thing? Or are you into an experimental noise rock collective with interactive elements? Or maybe you’re simply into strumming a guitar for your original and cover songs.

No matter what it is, the Campbell River Rivercity Players and the Highway 19 Concert Society want to provide young performers the space to do their thing. That’s the idea behind the new high school open mic night series — the next installment of which is on Jan. 21.

“We have this great a little hundred seat theater that is doing some cool things, but we really wanted to just get youth engaged in using the space for performing arts,” said Cleo Corbett, one of the board members for Rivercity Players.

Corbett spoke to Lucas Schuller from the Highway 19 Concert Society who agreed on the need for more venues in the city, and they were off and running, putting on the first open mic night on Nov. 4.

“And It was an absolute success,” Corbett said. ” We had eight different performer groups who did various things lots of different types of music and it was a sold out show.”

While this is not the only way for Campbell River performers to showcase their talents, Corbett and Schuller saw a need for spaces specifically for youth. Other venues are either too expensive for the smaller DIY ethos of some performers, or lack the all-ages capability.

“With any music scene, you need places to play, or any performance scene you need to you need places to perform for your peers,” said Lucas Schuller from Highway 19. “It’s hard for a scene to get going if there’s nowhere for it to exist.”

“Rivercity’s just such a great space,” he said. “We’re trying to make it available and let the the kids drive it and do what they want with it because that’s that’s really what it needs to be.”

“For any healthy arts scene, you need a continuum that runs right from like, you know little coffee shops that are gonna have a corner stage, you know, open mic night and stuff,” he said. “There’s there’s a lot of gaps right now.”

Both Schuller and Corbett know the value of having spaces like this for up and coming artists. Schuller grew up in Vancouver and the music scene there was integral to him getting involved in music to this day. Corbett has a similar background.

“I grew up in Nanaimo and there was an awesome music scene,” she said. “There were tons of all ages shows great bands that would come through.”

“We really just wanted to be like a community venue for performing arts and culture and and make that like super accessible to the community,” she said.

The next high school open mic night is Jan 21. Doors are at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30. Admission is by donation, and youth acts who want to sign up to perform can email

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