When Port Theatre staff were learning how to use their new live-streaming equipment they needed a musician to come in for a mock performance. Next week that musician is returning for a real show.
On May 7, Nanaimo singer-songwriter Wilson Pascoe kicks off the Port Theatre’s new Discovery Series highlighting emerging local artists.
Pascoe is also the assistant technical director and head of audio at the Port Theatre, and when a musician was needed to test out the new system he stepped forward.
“I said, strictly on a whim, ‘Well, I could sing some songs. I used to do that,’ and so I did,” Pascoe said. “I came in and I sang for 20 minutes and some of the staff watched the stream for educational purposes and several of the staff paid me some compliments afterwards.”
Pascoe said Port Theatre general manager Bruce Halliday enjoyed the performance so much that he offered Pascoe a live-streamed concert of his own. Pascoe said that decision “snowballed” and led to the creation of the Discovery Series to give musicians in a similar position the opportunity to present their work on the Port Theatre stage.
The concert marks a return to performance for Pascoe, who largely stopped playing shows after taking a job with the theatre in 2013. He said this will be “a fun opportunity to dust off the cobwebs,” but performing without an in-person audience will be a challenge.
“The trick is I need to believe in the material I’m presenting and just be myself and do my show and try not to worry about how the audience may be reacting, because in practical terms I’m not going to know during the show,” he said. “So I think I’m just going to try to imagine that I’m performing for just one person and I’m going to imagine that they’re enjoying themselves and I hope that that translates.”
Pascoe describes his songs as “dark and tragic” fairy tales. He said he’s been “obsessed” with fantasy literature, video games, film and “dark, sad stories” since he was young and that “it feels good to dabble in these darker, tragic feelings and stories.”
“I’ll tell you the truth, most of the beautiful things that have happened to me in my life, there carries with it an element of sadness,” Pascoe said. “Even if it’s something as simple as loving someone so much that you imagine losing them and that adds that layer of sadness to the joy of the love. And I think a lot of people are like this. There tends to be an element of sadness that makes the joy so much sweeter.”
WHAT’S ON … Wilson Pascoe performs live from the Port Theatre on Friday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $12, available from the Port Theatre.