Barsby students earn spot at provincial theatre festival

NANAIMO – John Barsby Community School's Bulldog Theatre program hosts the Bulldog Theatre Showcase to help raise money for trip.

(Left to right) Bulldog Theatre student's Jesse Wilson

(Left to right) Bulldog Theatre student's Jesse Wilson

John Barsby Secondary School’s theatre students, affectionately known as the Barsby Bulldogs Theatre program, are gearing for an important week.

Beginning Thursday (April 24), Bulldogs Theatre will host its annual three-night showcase, which highlights the best work of the program from the last year.

Program director Tom Rokeby said this year’s showcase includes something new for audience members.

“Our first Bulldogs Theatre student film is going to be shown and that’s a new aspect of the program that we’ve developed over the last couple of years,” Rokeby said.

Earlier this year, students qualified for the Provincial Theatre Festival, held at Douglas College in New Westminster.

In order to attend the four-day event, the Bulldogs Theatre program is using its showcase as a fundraising opportunity.

“It’s kind of a special fundraiser this year because our kids have qualified for provincials,” Rokeby said. “We normally do this, but this time around it’s a little bit bigger and a more serious campaign.”

Bulldogs Theatre is hoping to raise $5,000, which will send its senior theatre students to the Provincial Theatre Festival. One of the prizes included in silent auction is a two-night stay at the Old House Village Hotel and Spa in Courtenay.

The Provincial Theatre Festival runs from May 1-4. Rokeby said the event is a great opportunity for theatre students from across the province to network with each other and industry professionals.

“The kids do perform their show but the other three days or four days they are meeting professionals, they’re taking workshops led by Vancouver industry professionals and they’re exposing themselves to what is really going to be the future of the industry. These are the best kids across the province. The networking really begins now,” he said.

In order to attend the Provincial Theatre Festival, the Barsby Bulldogs Theatre program placed first in the North Island region, which includes high schools from Ladysmith to Port Hardy.

The showcase runs April 24-26 at Chandler Hall at John Barsby. Tickets are $10 and $5 for students.