Shuswap Theatre Company kicking off the Okanagan Theatre Festival with Lend me a Tenor

The festival will show seven plays in seven days from May 17 to 23

The Okanagan Zone Drama Festival is coming back to Salmon Arm with seven shows in seven days.

On May 17 at 7:30 p.m., the Shuswap Theatre Company will be kicking off the festival with their production of Lend me a Tenor directed by Julia Body. This show is the first of seven to be hosted at the Shuswap Theatre, produced by theatre companies across the region. The plays will range from classic comedies to murderous mysteries, culminating on May 23. The play that wins best production goes on to represent the zone at the provincial festival in Port Alberni, which runs July 5-13.

This year the theme of each production’s afterparty is “backstage heroes.”

“We wanted to highlight all of the volunteers that don’t get the glory because you never see them onstage,” said Kim MacMillan, president of the Shuswap Theatre Company. “For any one of our shows, we might have up to 80 volunteers working and they’re all necessary in order to make the show go on.”

For true theatre goers, the purchase of a ticket also means you are invited to the coffee critique at 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. the morning after the show. There, festival adjudicators will lead a two-hour workshop with the actors and crew, and refreshments will be provided.

Ticket prices are $22 for individual, $63 for a three-pack, $100 for a five-pack and $133 for a seven-pack. You can purchase tickets online.

Here is the full list of shows and their descriptions provided by the Shuswap Theatre:

May 17

Lend Me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig and directed by Julia Body – Shuswap Theatre, Salmon Arm

Another madcap farce by the North American master of the genre. Follow the adventures of the Cleveland Opera Company as it tries its best to present the great Italian tenor, Tito Morelli. What could go wrong?

Some adult content and swearing.

By special arrangement with Samuel French

May 18

Late Company by Jordan Tannahill and directed by Brian Haigh – Theatre Kelowna

One year after a family tragedy, Deborah and Michael invite their son’s bully and his parents for dinner. Closure is on the menu but accusations are the main course as everyone takes a turn in the hot seat for their real or imagined part in the tragedy. Two-time Governor General’s Award winner, Jordan Tannahill, wrote the play following a tragedy in his home town of Ottawa in 2011. Some coarse language

With permission of the author & Marquis Literary (Colin Rivers)

May 19

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind by Greg Allen and Directed by Rob Mason-Brown – Fred Skeleton Theatre, Kelowna

The longest-running show in Chicago history, this is a highly entertaining ensemble experiment in presenting “30 Plays in 60 Minutes.” The two-minute plays are performed in random order with an interactive audience. An onstage

60-minute timer keeps everyone honest.

May be adult themes.

May 20

Macbeth By William Shakespeare and directed by Matt Brown – Powerhouse Theatrical Society, Vernon

Violent ambition shatters medieval Scotland in this mesmerizing tale of tyranny, dark magic and murder. Known by the name that is safely spoken aloud, “The Scottish Play” draws you inescapably into the story of the undoing of its notorious characters. Experience the terror that comes when unlocking this old masterpiece’s chilling study of power and corruption (which has never been more relevant). “Something wicked this way comes.”

Strobe lighting during storm scenes.

May 21

Sadie Flynn Comes to Big Oak by Norm Foster and directed by Kim Sinclair –Asparagus Theatre, Armstrong

Millie’s Cabin is a small café and the hub of the rural community of Big Oak. The story begins with the arrival of Sadie Flynn, newly released from prison for murdering her husband. Intrigue, gossip and hilarity ensue as the locals get to know Sadie and try to make sense of the increasing number of odd occurrences since her arrival. Norm Foster effortlessly captures the atmosphere of life in a small Canadian town.

Adult themes, sexual innuendo

By arrangement with Pam Winter, Gary Goddard Agency.

May 22

Lawrence and Holloman by Morris Panych and directed by Trevor Leigh – South Okanagan Players, Oliver

The dark and twisted story of a cynical and suicidal accounting clerk who gets taken under the wing of a happy-go-lucky, ever- optimistic suit salesman. Lawrence the optimist tries to teach Holloman the pessimist how to live happily and remain positive–until his own good luck starts to turn.

Warning: Strong language, gunfire

By arrangement with Pam Winter, Gary Goddard Agency.

May 23

House on the Cliff by George Baston and directed by Dayton M. Wales – Crimson Tine Theatre, Princeton

A sudden, violent accident (or was it murder?) begins this suspenseful tale of an old house with a checkered past. Once one of the last stops on the underground railway during the civil war, the house sits atop a steep cliff overlooking a lake reputed to be haunted. A colourful cast of characters lead us to the chilling and unexpected climax.

Gunfire, flashing lights

By special arrangement with Samuel French

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