Sherri Maclean’s Margie asks for a job from ex-boyfriend Mike, played by Rob Atkinson, in the Nanaimo Theatre Group production of Good People. The play returns to Bailey Studio on May 21 for the 2018 North Island Zone Theatre B.C. Festival. (File photo)

Nanaimo Theatre Group hosts regional theatre competition next week

Theatre groups from Nanaimo, Courtenay, Port Alberni, Campbell River and Qualicum Beach face off

Theatre companies from across the mid Island are bringing their best work to Nanaimo next week.

The Nanaimo Theatre Group is hosting the Courtenay Little Theatre, Port Alberni’s Portal Players, Campbell River’s River City Players and Qualicum Beach’s Echo Players for the 2018 North Island Zone Theatre B.C. Festival at Bailey Studio from Monday, May 21 to Friday, May 25. The winning production will represent the North Island Zone at the provincial Mainstage festival in Vernon from June 29 to July 7.

“It’s exciting because it’s a competitive festival and it’s the one opportunity that all the theatre groups have to get together once a year…” said Sue Gueulette, Nanaimo Theatre Group president and festival committee chair.

“There’s a lot of good will. It’s not a competition in that everybody’s out to slit throats, if you know what I mean, and it’s an honour if you win.”

The host company is kicking off the festival on the first night with its production of Good People, which finished its run earlier this month.

“When we do our festival play we choose something that has a lot of merit to it,” director Sheila Bowman said.

“Usually it’s a Pulitzer Prize winner or it’s a play that has a more limited audience appeal but a stronger appeal to theatre goers.”

The drama follows a recently unemployed woman struggling to make ends meet in Boston’s tough south end. Bowman said she won’t be changing her directorial approach at festival, but the group may bring in a vocal coach to help the actors hone their Boston accents.

“It’s an excellent play and very well acted, very well produced,” Gueulette said.

“I think we have a pretty good chance but you don’t really know for sure until you see what the other groups bring in.”

On Day 2, the Little Theatre presents the 2001 comedy Humble Boy by Charlotte Jones, the lone British playwright featured in the festival, as the other plays were all written by Americans. Humble Boy follow a 35-year-old astrophysicist who returns home to a demanding mother after his father’s unexpected death.

On the third night, the Portal Players perform the 1987 parody The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) by Adam Long. In the play three actors blitz through the Bard’s canon, dipping into different genres.

The following evening, the River City Players present the 1981 stage adaptation of the novel 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. The play tells the story of a 20-year correspondence between a struggling New York writer and an antique bookstore owner in London.

Wrapping up the week are the Echo Players. They will perform Collected Stories by Donal Margulies, from 1996. The drama explore a teacher-student friendship that turns to rivalry.

Longtime Vancouver theatre director and producer Katrina Dunn will serve as adjudicator. Bowman said members of the Nanaimo Theatre Group were impressed when they saw Dunn adjudicate Mainstage last year and they “absolutely jumped” to recruit her.

“She didn’t sound ‘judgemental.’ She was helpful and she was inquiring,” Bowman said.

“She wanted to know why people made the choices they did, and then if she felt we could have done things differently she would very helpfully suggest other things that might have worked as well or better.”

Awards will be presented for best play, director and leading and supporting actors. There are also technical honours. Gueulette said the companies will also be judged on their interpretation of the scripts.

“It’s the best that a club has to offer and so if you kind of want to see a whole week of best plays this is when you come,” she said.

WHAT’S ON … The North Island Zone Theatre B.C Festival takes place at Bailey Studio nightly from May 21 to 25. Tickets are $20, $54 for a three-show package, $80. for a five-show package. Tickets and more information at www.nanaimotheatregroup.ca or by calling 250-758-7224.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

OPINION: It’s important that we exercise our right to vote

If we vote for a competent and collaborative council, the Hub City will thrive, says guest columnist

Discontent City can remain where it is until the end of next month

B.C. Supreme Court judge grants application for an extension to comply with injunction

Clippers bounce back and beat Eagles

Nanaimo defeats Surrey 6-2, next home game is this Sunday, Oct. 21

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: So much for ‘say no to drugs’ in Canada

I’m from the ‘users are losers’ generation, says letter writer

Former Nanaimo Daily News editor writes first business book

Book launch for It Worked For Them, It Will Work For Me is Tuesday, Oct. 23

UPDATE: Shots fired at house during fight in Nanaimo

Shots were fired at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday in 500 block of Kennedy Street, say RCMP

Candidates for Nanaimo, Lantzville, RDN, school district

Local government elections are today, Oct. 20

Election 2018: candidate questionnaires

News Bulletin’s questionnaire responses for Nanaimo, Lantzville, school board, regional district

When to vote, where to vote, how to vote

Voting day is Oct. 20, with polls open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Most Read