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Update: Promoter of Abbotsford comedy show speaks out

The promoter of a comedy play that was cancelled Friday night in Abbotsford and resulted in the arrest of two men said he has consulted a lawyer.
Two doors at the entrance to the Abbotsford Arts Centre

The promoter of a comedy play that was cancelled Friday night in Abbotsford and resulted in the arrest of two men said he has consulted a lawyer.

Sandeep Arora of Prince Video, which presented the production Naughty Baba Back in Town, said he wants to be reimbursed by the Abbotsford Arts Centre for the money lost because the show did not proceed.

Arora said yesterday afternoon he is still trying to calculate the financial damages, as well as the cost to the company’s reputation.

“They have ruined our image,” he said.

Arora said all 730 tickets for the sold-out show will be refunded.

He maintained the story relayed to the media after the disturbance on Friday was “filled with lies.”

A press release from the Abbotsford Police Department reported that the theatre was filled to capacity Friday night because some people had brought children who did not have tickets.

This left about 100 ticket-paying patrons without seats, the release stated.

A man became agitated by the situation and smashed a window in an entrance door, badly cutting himself. Another man in the crowd then turned on officers who had been called to the scene, said Const. Ian MacDonald.

Two officers were injured. One was kicked and punched, and the other was hit by glass shards in his face and eyes.

The two patrons and the two officers were taken to hospital and released, and the show was cancelled.

Arora tells a different story. He said there were only about 150 to 170 patrons in their seats at the time the show was cancelled, and there were about another 550 waiting to get into the theatre.

He said he will have more specific numbers once all tickets are refunded. As of yesterday, 500 tickets had been returned. Only 129 of those were torn in half, indicating the purchasers had been admitted into the theatre, he said.

Arora said the arts centre manager expressed concerns that some young children were there without tickets, and there would not be enough seats for the remainder of the crowd.

However, Arora said there were only about 10 children who did not have tickets, which were not required for children under the age of three. It was understood that these kids would sit on their parents’ laps, he said.

Arora said he even offered to give up some ticketed seats that were being taken up by his family members, but management decided the show should be cancelled.

“We were trying to convince (the manager), begging her, not to let this happen.”

He said the crowd became agitated that the show was being cancelled, not that there weren’t enough seats.

He said another Prince Video presentation, a Vaisakhi celebration on April 9, has also been cancelled at the Abbotsford Arts Centre.

Reached by The News Monday afternoon, arts centre manager Laura Lee Billing said she could not comment because there is a police investigation underway.

“The incidents were unfortunate, and we’re sorry for the injuries of the two police officers and the members of the community,” she said.

Charges are pending against the two men who became aggressive at  the show. A 36-year-old from Abbotsford faces charges of mischief and assaulting a police officer, while a 34-year-old from Delta faces charges of obstruction and assaulting a police officer.



Vikki Hopes

About the Author: Vikki Hopes

I have been a journalist for almost 40 years, and have been at the Abbotsford News since 1991.
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