Week-long drama festival in Vernon ends with awards ceremony

Kelowna’s Fred Skeleton Theatre Company’s interpretation of David Ives’ Venus in Fur takes home best production at Okanagan Zone Drama Fest.

Vernon’s Matt Brown receives the best director award from Lori Dewart

Last year it was The Woman in Black. This year it was Venus in Fur.

No, it wasn’t the latest theme of a Victoria’s Secret lingerie show, but the winner of best production at the Okanagan Zone (O-Zone) Drama Festival, hosted last week by Powerhouse Theatre in Vernon.

Kelowna’s Fred Skeleton Theatre Company’s interpretation of David Ives’ Venus in Fur took home the coveted Allum Cup for best production.

The awards, presented by adjudicator Amy Baskin Saturday at the Schubert Centre, also saw Vernon’s Matt Brown repeat his win for best director.

Brown directed David Mamet’s play Oleanna for The Hub Arts Collective this year,  and last year took home the same award, as well as best production for Powerhouse Theatre,  for The Woman in Black.

“I am honestly really flattered,” said Brown. “First and foremost I want to share the award with our two actors (Ashley Plomp and Chris Froese) as well as with (co-producers) Kristine Larsen and Starling Taylor, the people that were there throughout this long process.

“You have to have people that are competent and very intelligent and anticipate what needs to be done so that my job becomes more efficient and gives me the empowerment to do what I do.”

Brown, who attended the four other plays  entered at this year’s O-Zones, also acknowledged his fellow directors for a job well done.

And the other winners at this year’s Okanagan Zone Drama Festival are…

— Best actor: Rod Shuttleworth, Caught in the Net, Theatre Kelowna Society

— Best actress: Dorothy Dalba, Venus in Fur, Fred Skeleton Theatre Company

— Best supporting actor: Joe Welton, Caught in the Net, Theatre Kelowna Society

— Best supporting actress: Kaitlan Hunter, The Herbal Bed, Shuswap Theatre

— Best sound design: Stephen Ingle, The Herbal Bed, Shuswap Theatre

— Best costume design: Ellen Gonella, The Herbal Bed, Shuswap Theatre

— Best props: Cilla Budda, The Herbal Bed, Shuswap Theatre

— Best set décor: Cilla Budda, The Herbal Bed,  Shuswap Theatre

— Best ensemble: Caught in the Net, Theatre Kelowna Society

— Best newcomer: Shannon Moore, direction of Venus in Fur, Fred Skeleton Theatre Company

Adjudicator’s awards of merit:

— Best cameo performance: Roger Ward, Caught in the Net

— Most unique performance: Cherie Poelzer, God of Carnage, Kamloops Players

— Best performance by a child: Katie Finlay, The Herbal Bed

— Best backstage co-operation: The Herbal Bed, Shuswap Theatre.

The Okanagan Zone “Ozzie” recognition award for outstanding individual contribution to their zones and to community theatre in B.C. went to Lori Dewart of Kamloops.

Winners of best production from each zone festival around B.C. next  participate in Theatre B.C.’s Mainstage festival, which takes place in Kamloops July 5 to July 13.


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