Destination Mainstage circles Kamloops on the summer festival map
Daily News Staff Reporter
All aboard, Destination Mainstage.
Hundreds of theatre enthusiasts are arriving in Kamloops this weekend for Mainstage 2012, the adjudicated provincial theatre festival for community theatre groups. Theatre B.C., the host organization, is hoping to have a local audience join visitors for a dramatic journey that takes in 10 award-winning productions at Sagebrush Theatre.
“It’s more than just a play festival,” said Vance Schneider, executive director of Theatre B.C. “We’ve got lots of stuff going on.”
It’s not as though Mainstage is anything new to Kamloops. Theatre B.C. relocated its head office here last year after recognizing the value of partnerships here balanced against economic restraints in other centres.
As a result, having hosted the event for the past two years, Kamloops will continue as host city until at least 2015.
“It’s a big deal for Kamloops. This is where the province comes to pay homage to theatre.”
Aside from more than 200 thespians — cast and crew of the various productions selected as the best of 10 regional zones — there are family and friends who join in the Mainstage experience. Theatre B.C. hopes more of Kamloops — which has a considerable theatre tradition for a small city — will take part this year.
“We want people to come out and see some great theatre.”
The eight-day festival opens Saturday at noon when Revelstoke Theatre Company presents Mending Fences by Norm Foster, the reining king of Canadian stage comedy. There is one show per day (see schedule) until the festival winds down with The Woman In Black, an adaptation of the book by Susan Hill, presented by the Okanagan’s Powerhouse Theatre.
Jeff Hyslop, well-known B.C. actor, singer, dancer, choreographer and director, is this year’s adjudicator. He will publicly critique each play after its performance — an educational experience in itself — and lead “coffee critiques” in the courtroom of the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre on the morning after.
“He’ll be picking the best of the best,” Schneider said.
Green Rooms, named after the backstage rooms where actors gather to socialize, will be held nightly at Pavilion Theatre with different destination themes — Hawaii, Jershey Shore, Ancient Greece to name a few. Backstage courses offer interest not only to community players but to the local theatre community as well.
An awards ceremony with short performances wraps up the festival on Saturday, July 7, at Kamloops Convention Centre.
En route to presentation of the coveted Thespian Award, festival participants are invited to pick up their Destination Mainstage “passports,” which offer discounts at sponsoring businesses.
While this festival coincides with Canada Day weekend and the start of family holidays, Theatre B.C. plans to hold it a week later on next year’s calendar with a view to growing the event.
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What’s in store at Sagebrush Theatre in the coming week. The plays are predominantly light in theme but are not recommended for children. For a complete schedule of events, see www.tbcmainstage.ca.
Saturday, June 30, noon: Revelstoke Theatre Company presents Mending Fences by Norm Foster. This is a new play by the Canadian king of stage comedy. A father and son are reunited after 13 years on a rundown Saskatchewan ranch.
Saturday, June 30, 8 p.m.: Emerald Pig Theatrical Society (Fraser Valley) presents A Particular Class of Women by Janet Feindel. Based on a 1985 court case in which an Ontario judge minimized a crime against an exotic dancer since it was her profession to “promote lust.”
Sunday, July 1, 8 p.m.: Between Shifts Theatre (North Vancouver) presents The Cemetery Club by Ivan Menschell. Three widows gather weekly to visit their husbands’ graves and meet afterward to talk about their lives.
Monday, July 2, 8 p.m.: Parallel Players (Vancouver Island) present Cagebirds by David Campton, followed by a short play presented by Gaylord & company (Vancouver Island), Dinner For One by Laurie Wylie. In Cagebirds, a mistress oversees six lost souls as they indulge in their chosen obsession: power, beauty, scandal, food, hypochondria and indecision. Dinner for One, written in the 1920s, is a comedy sketch about an elderly woman who is the last to survive her New Year’s toast tradition.
Tuesday, July 3, 8 p.m.: The Spectacular Chair Factory (Peace River) presents Dog Sees God by Bert V. Royal. This is a parody of the loveable characters of Charles Schultz’ Peanuts, who are now teenagers in high school.
Wednesday, July 4, 8 p.m.: Courtenay Little Theatre presents Waiting for the Parade by John Murrell. Five Calgary women respond very differently to life during the Second World War.
Thursday, July 5, 8 p.m.: Williams Lake Studio Theatre presents Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley. A tragic comedy about three sisters surviving successive crises in a small Mississippi town in 1978.
Friday, July 6, noon: White Rock Players present The Lion in Winter by James Goldman. A classic from the 1960s, this drama depicts the personal and political conflicts of Henry II of England.
Friday, July 6, noon: Powerhouse Theatre (Okanagan) presents The Woman in Black, a Stephen Mallatratt adaptation of the book by Susan Hill. A ghost story set in a small market town on England’s eastern shore.