Kristine Larsen (Ruth), Barbara Berry (Jessie), Amy Bell (Cora), Liz Saville (Celia), Jennifer Goodsell (Chris) and Bev Steeves (Annie) star in Calendar Girls, which is Powerhouse Theatre’s offering to the Okanagan Zone Festival May 19-25. (Kiss the Monkey Photography)

Festival highlights Okanagan theatre

Theatre BC’s Okanagan Zone Festival comes to Vernon May 19-25

Community theatre is just as good as professional theatre, just without the price tag.

That’s the message embedded in Theatre BC’s Okanagan Zone Festival (Ozone), which takes Vernon’s Powerhouse Theatre stage May 19-25, said administrator Richard Kerton.

“Community theatre companies do shows at the same level as the professionals, but they do it because they love it,” Kerton said. “It’s not something performed to kids in a high school. We’ve moved past that era.”

The Ozone, one of Theatre BC’s 10 zones, sees seven theatre companies from Princeton to Kamloops perform nightly in Vernon for a chance at claiming Best Production.

Adjudicated by professional dramaturge Andrew McIlroy, the winner of Best Production will then compete against other zone winners in Theatre BC’s provincial Mainstage festival in Vernon June 29 to July 6.

“The object is to be the best,” Kerton laughed. “The Okanagan has strong theatre companies. There’s a lot of community theatre in this zone and it builds stronger support. Some are doing really good work but it’s tough for them to get to that point.”

Ozone festivities kick off with Vernon’s own Powerhouse Theatre and their performance of Calendar Girls.

“I know Calendar Girls is doing really well,” Kerton said of the performance that runs until May 12.

Related: Cast bares it all on stage for Calendar Girls

Kelowna’s Fred Skeleton brings The Drowning Girls May 20, followed by KCTS Kelowna Theatre Society’s The Fighting Season May 21, Salmon Arm’s Shuswap Theatre with Perfect Pie May 22, Kamloops Players Society’s two one-acts Whisper into my Good Ear and Mrs. Dally has a Lover May 23, Oliver’s South Okanagan Amateur Players with Outside Mullingar May 24 and Princeton’s Crimson Tine Players with A Fine Monster You Are May 25.

Following the nightly performances, McIlroy will lead a coffee critique where ticket holders and theatre companies have the opportunity to come together and gain professional insight. Because for Kerton, that’s truly what Ozone is about.

“This is one way of bringing everyone together to get that advice, and it builds collaborative efforts,” Kerton said. “I’ve been doing this a long time so I’m passionate about it.”

Coffee critiques also allow the audience to participate and learn the backbones of what goes into putting a production on stage.

At the end of the week, McIlroy will announce the winners as the theatre companies and audience enjoy dinner during the Ozone Awards Banquet at the Schubert Centre May 26.

And, after the winner is announced, it will be time to gear up for Mainstage, which will be in Vernon for the second consecutive year.

“It’s a bit of a challenge because doing it back to back takes up a lot of resources,” Kerton said of Mainstage.

Related: Festival celebrates BC community theatre

Next year, the festival will be held in Port Alberni.

“It moves around to highlight that community and bring to the forefront the aspects of community theatre and the gems about that theatre,” Kerton said.

Tickets to Ozone Festival events are $25 single show, $69 three day pass, $110 five day pass or $140 seven-day pass for all events excluding the banquet, for which tickets are $40. For showtimes and to purchase tickets, contact the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.


Parker Crook | Reporter

@MrParkerJCrook

Send Parker an email.
Like the The Morning Star on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Explore the sunken treasures of the Shuswap

Divers explore historic boats and a Ford Model T that broke through lake ice while on a delivery

Kick in, pick up, clean up

Askew’s Downtown Community Cleanup hits the street April 13

Letting the Shuswap in on the joke

Jeff Leeson, Tige Wright bring comedy tour to Salmon Arm

Mayor seeks improvements to fire damaged 7-Eleven

Business asked to improve appearance of building’s exterior by our tourist season

Dust advisory in affect for Kelowna

Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic

Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash sentenced to eight years

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Fundraiser for South Okanagan “supermom” who died suddenly

Friends described the 40-year-old Penticton woman as a supermom.

Car torched in Kelowna: $1,000 reward offered for return of stolen massage machine

Odette Baumgartner’s vehicle was stolen and then burned. Now she just wants her machine back

B.C. conservation officers talk bear awareness

How to stay safe this spring in bear country

Fierce feline spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

SNC-Lavalin maintaining Kelowna bridge amidst controversy in Ottawa

The engineering company designed and maintains the WR Bennett Bridge over Okanagan Lake

Most Read