Chris Armstrong of Williams Lake Theatre is hugged by his son Payton Daum as he returns to his seat after winning Best Supporting Actor at Theatre BC’s Mainstage 2017 awards banquet July 8. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Mainstage to return to Vernon

After a week of theatrical productions and workshops, B.C.’s theatre buffs are excited for more

After a long week of theatrical productions, coffee critiques, and workshops, B.C.’s community theatre buffs are excited for more.

Theatre BC Mainstage Provincial Theatre Festival announced at its award ceremony Saturday, July 8 that the festival will return to Vernon for 2018.

“It was amazing — that’s my word of the week,” Mainstage 2017 chairperson Adele Kuyek said. “We are rejuvenated. Bringing it here to Vernon, going back to some of our roots makes it a living and growing experience.

“The feedback on their experience for performers, workshop participants, audience members, and volunteers was outstanding and as such, we are honoured to accept the offer from Theatre BC to host Mainstage again in 2018. We are excited to bring this festival back to the Okanagan.”

The eight-day festival was host to nightly performances followed by critique sessions from dramaturg and adjudicator Katrina Dunn and workshops all with the purpose of building B.C.’s theatre community.

“We had a fantastic week of theatre activities and were delighted to see large audiences for each Mainstage performance,” Kuyek said. “All of the community theatre clubs absolutely loved the facilities and working with the staff. We are so thankful for the insightful adjudication from Katrina Dunn, and for our many sponsors who made this festival such a success.”

Mainstage wrapped up with Canadian playwright Michael Healey’s play The Drawer Boy, performed by Courtenay Little Theatre of the North Island Zone, taking home Best Production, Best Set Design, Best Performance by a Youth or Novice, Best Actor (Male) to Wes Buckle, and Best Director to Catherine Hannon.

The Runner Up to Best Production was Age of Arousal by Okanagan Zone’s Fred Skeleton company.

“Theatre BC is a venerable and incredibly important cultural entity that our province is very lucky to have,” Dunn said. “My experience as adjudicator of MainStage 2017 was truly wonderful. I got to see some of my favourite Canadian plays come alive again, infused with the vitality of theatres from across the province, and we all got to further our craft and inspire ourselves to become better artists.”

Brief rundown of other awards:

· Best Costume Design: Jenn Mills, Fred Skeleton (Okanagan Zone), Age of Arousal

· Best Set Decorating/Properties: Marianne Brorup Weston, Terrace Little Theatre (Skeena Zone), Marion Bridge

· Best Sound Design : Lisa Pope, Stage 43 (Fraser Valley Zone), Bingo!

· Best Lighting Design: Angela Bell, Stage 43 (Fraser Valley Zone), Bingo!

· Best Ensemble: Ladysmith Little Theatre (South Island Zone), Old Love

· Best Supporting Actor–Male: Chris Armstrong, Williams Lake Studio Theatre (Central Interior Zone), Problem Child

· Best Supporting Actor– Female: Shannon Mason-Brown, Fred Skeleton (Okanagan Zone), Age of Arousal

· Best Actor – Female: Amy Starkey, Deep Cove Stage Society (North Shore Zone), Marion Bridge

For a complete listing of all the awards and highlights of the festival, visit www.theatrebc.org.