W.L. Seaton Secondary theatre students perform in Shakespeare’s The Tempest last year. The school is one of 18 from B.C., which will be participating in the Good Will Shakespeare festival, being hosted in Vernon April 6-8. – Image submitted

Students to share Good Will over Shakespeare

Summerland’s long-running Shakespeare festival is coming to Vernon

Don’t be surprised if you soon see a distraught young man holding the skull of poor Yorick, or a determined lass standing at a balcony looking for her forbidden love.

It’s all part of the long-running Good Will Shakespeare Festival, which for 16 years has welcomed secondary school students from around B.C. to the Okanagan city of Summerland.

With the retirement of the festival’s co-founder and organizer Linda Beaven, the 17th annual Good Will Shakespeare festival is moving to another Okanagan city this year.

Vernon will stand in for Stratford-Upon-Avon, April 6 to 8.

“This is a non-competitive festival. The only goal is to create good will with like-minded theatre friends,” said W.L. Seaton drama teacher Lana O’Brien, who has taken over as festival organizer.

More than 300 delegates from 18 schools across B.C. will be in town to undertake everything that is the Bard, from workshop intensives in acting, vocal, art, writing and make-up to nights filled with Shakespeare’s best works.

“Our new digs will be the lovely Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, with workshops in a variety of churches, dance studios, art galleries and schools within a 15 minutes walk of the theatre,” said O’Brien.

Morning keynote addresses will be given by Canadian stage and screen actors Catherine Lough Haggquist and Alan Marriot. Students will then take workshops taught by professionals in their respective fields.

“The first two evenings will be filled with Shakespearean, or Shakespeare-inspired pieces of a maximum of 25 minutes per school,” said O’Brien. “Saturday evening is the gala performance, where the intensive workshop groups present their always incredible performances that they have worked on over the three days of the festival.”

For more information on the Good Will festival, visit www.goodwillshakespeare.ca.