The cast of Strapless pose for a photo. The sketch comedy is just one of a handful of productions that will be at the sixth annual Gabriola Theatre Festival

The cast of Strapless pose for a photo. The sketch comedy is just one of a handful of productions that will be at the sixth annual Gabriola Theatre Festival

Festival goes beyond local theatre

NANAIMO - Sixth annual event goes this weekend at various venues on Gabriola Island.

There will be no shortage of things to do this weekend on Gabriola Island.

The sixth annual Gabriola Theatre Festival is set to take over Gabriola Island from Friday (Aug. 15) until Sunday.

Although the festival focuses on theatre performances, Gabriola Theatre Festival director Alina Cerminara said it is more than just theatre.

“It is a weekend of lots of fun and it is definitely what I call more of an arts festival more than just a theatre festival,” Cerminara said.

This year the festival has decided to adopt a Roaring Twenties theme and will be hosting a speakeasy launch party tonight (Aug. 14) at the Old Crow Café.

The festival will pay tribute to Gabriolian, Antony Holland, who recently received the Order of Canada.

“Antony is 94 years old, so he is really getting up there in age and so we wanted to be able to do and make sure he was still around,” Cerminara said.

“But also it kind of worked because he was born in the 1920s and it worked with our theme. Also, he has been doing final shows on the Island.”

This year’s festival features 10 main stage shows, which range in everything from comedy to mystery.

“There is a huge range,” Cerminara said. “We’ve got comedy like Gabriola Gumshoe: The Case of the Coffeehouse Conflagration, which is about a detective from Nanaimo who is coming over to investigate a fire on the island.”

One of the productions featured at the festival is Strapless, which a series of sketch comedy acts performed by four females.

“We leave everything on the table. We play men, we play women, we play kids. It’s all about pushing our range as actors and artists,” Strapless co-producer and actor Jackie Blackmore said. “We’ve written most the sketches ourselves … the goal our show is to make people laugh. It’s all about entertainment.”

In addition to the main stage shows, the Gabriola Theatre Festival will be featuring a number of other live acts, including popular children’s performers  The Kerplunks.

“When there is not a main stage show going on there is a free outdoor stage,” Cerminara said.“We will always have performers on that stage. They can vary from bands, to clowns, to circus, to puppet shows.”

Main stage shows include East – How Far Would You Go For Love?, Eva Cassidy: How Can I Keep From Singing?, Falstaff, Gabriola Gumshoe, Holmes and Watson Save the Empire, Mr. Marmalade, Strapless, Swimming with Piranhas, Tomorrow’s Dawn and Trunk.

Tickets for the main stage shows are $20 for adults and $10 for those 16 and under.    For more information, including a full schedule, show times and venues, please visit www. or call Cerminara at 250-247-7409.


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