Where history and live theater meet

POAC brings Living Voices to the Panida Theater March 19

By Reader Staff

The Pend Oreille Arts Council is slated to host its first live performance in more than a year, presenting the Living Voices’ production of “Northwest Passages” on Friday, March 19 at 7 p.m. at the Panida Theater. 

As was the case for arts presenters across the country, nonprofit POAC was forced to postpone or cancel performances scheduled for the 2020-2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of those performances have been rescheduled for the 2021-2022 season, and POAC’s Performing Arts Committee is busy lining up the organization’s trademark mix of music and live theater offerings for the Sandpoint community. 

“Northwest Passages” tells the story of the development of the Pacific Northwest, focusing primarily on the years 1880-1920.Images courtesy Pend Oreille Arts Council.

“We have survived and thrived during these times thanks to our loyal supporters who recognize how important the arts are to our community,” said POAC Executive Director Tone Lund. “We have been able to pivot and adapt the visual arts and educational aspects of our mission, and now we look forward to reviving our live performances at the Panida Theater.” 

“Northwest Passages” tells the story of the development of the Pacific Northwest, focusing primarily on the years 1880-1920. It is the examination of forces that pulled people here from regions throughout the United States and the world, the dreams they hoped to fulfill, the realities they encountered and the established communities of people who were affected by this great influx.

The “passage” in the title refers not just to a journey from one place to another, but also from one time and one way of life to another, charted through the experiences of a young girl, Anna Julia Larson, whose family emigrated from Sweden to the United States in the late 1800s. The production depicts Larson’s life from her youth as a recent immigrant in Preston, Wash., to her career as a nurse in Seattle, to her growing realization that she has become more American than Swedish.

Living Voices is also part of POAC’s Ovations program, a free K-12 outreach that provides quality educational experiences in the performing arts for students who would otherwise not have the opportunity. Living Voices, in conjunction with the Seattle-based Nordic Heritage Museum, has produced a study guide focused on the history of the times to accompany performances in multiple elementary schools in the Lake Pend Oreille School District prior to the public performance at the Panida.

Tickets are $16, and are available at the POAC Office, located at 110 Main St., Suite 101 in downtown Sandpoint; Winter Ridge Natural Foods; online at ArtinSandpoint.org; or by calling 208-263-6139. Tickets will be limited due to reduced venue capacity for safety reasons during the pandemic.

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