Theatre BC Cancels 2020 Regional Festivals & Mainstage Festival

Kamloops, BC – March 22, 2020 – Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Theatre BC regretfully announces the cancellation of our 2020 series of Regional Zone Drama Festivals, and Mainstage Festival. The safety and well-being of our members and patrons is of the utmost importance to Theatre BC.

Theatre BC member clubs would have performed their Festival plays in local runs during April – runs which have also been cancelled. Regional Zone Drama Festivals had been scheduled for May in the Central Interior, Fraser Valley, North Island, North Shore, Okanagan, and Peace River Zones. Had the Zone Festivals gone ahead, “Best Play” winners from each would have moved forward to the annual Mainstage Festival of plays and workshops, originally set to take place in Port Alberni this July.

“It’s an extremely disappointing situation for us and our member clubs,” said Theatre BC President Doug Perri. “We want to make sure our members, volunteers and audiences stay healthy and safe. Given the current COVID-19 crisis, we want to do our part to help protect everyone. We strongly request that everyone follows the advice and guidelines set out by BC Health and Health Canada.”

Theatre BC will support its member clubs as best as possible through this difficult time. Working together to help bring this outbreak to a close sooner rather than later, we are optimistic that our members can follow their community theatre passions again to unite and entertain us.

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Update Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Theatre BC has been closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. The health and safety of our members, audiences and the community at large is our top priority.

At this time, we are reviewing all events and venues that have been planned for Theatre BC activities. We will provide an update as to our 2020 Zone Festivals and 2020 Mainstage Festival as soon as we can.

Both the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Public Health Agency of Canada state the public health risk associated with COVID-19 for Canada is low.

We will continue to follow the guidance of local, provincial, and federal health authorities.

We will monitor this situation closely and provide updates with any changes.

The latest updates will be posted to our website and social media channels.

We encourage everyone to seek out information on how to protect themselves and the community at large by visiting the following sites:

Island Health –

BC Centre for Disease Control —

Public Health Agency of Canada —

World Health Organization —

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COVID-19 Survey by GVPTA

The Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance (GVPTA) recognizes that COVID-19 is on everyone’s minds, and invites the Theatre BC community to share information and resources. Their aim is to:

  • Share with funders the impact the outbreak has had on B.C.-based producing and presenting theatre companies;
  • In response to requests from the community, compile and share policies and action plans related to the outbreak as used by Metro Vancouver and B.C. theatre companies;
  • Provide links to resource materials on their website to help guide the decision-making of arts organizations.

Please take a few minutes to fill out a short survey based on the information you have today by clicking on the link below.

Link to GVPTA Survey.

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Canadian Playwriting Competition


The Canadian Playwriting Competition is open to original scripts of drama or comedy, either full-length or one-act. Deadline for entry is December 31 annually. Independent jurors will decide upon winners in each category with a prize of $1,000 awarded for the chosen full-length, $750 for the one-act, and $500 for a script of special merit. In addition, one of the three winning plays may be chosen to be workshopped at Theatre BC’s Mainstage festival in July. This choice will be made at the discretion of the judges.

For detailed information about the current round of the Playwriting Competition, click here.

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Mainstage 2019 Awards Results

Theatre BC’s Mainstage 2019 in Port Alberni is now in the history books, and by all accounts, it was a very successful one indeed! Adjudicator Dean Paul Gibson was exemplary in his handling of our performing clubs, and in educating & entertaining those attending the coffee critiques. Our adjudicators are asked to make difficult choices in selecting the awards from a wide field of excellence on display throughout the week. Here are the Thespian Awards as presented at The Italian Hall in Port Alberni on the evening of July 13, 2019:

  • Bill Elliot Award for Best Performance by a Youth or Notice, sponsored by TBC North Island Zone:
    Aiden Oorebeek, “Late Company” by Theatre Kelowna Society, OKZ
  • Best Set Decorating and Properties, sponsored by Theatre BC:
    Greg Jones, Lisa Eckert, Vera Kahan & Irene Suessenwien, “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Nanaimo Theatre Group, NIZ
  • Best Costume Design, sponsored by Doug Perri & Norman White:
    Sheila Fremont-Male and Lorna McLellan, “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Nanaimo Theatre Group, NIZ
  • Best Set Design, sponsored by Powerhouse Theatrical Society:
    Jamie Regier, “Cherry Docs” by Williams Lake Studio Theatre, CIZ
  • Best Sound Design, sponsored by The Italian Hall:
    Alex Leary, “Cherry Docs” by Williams Lake Studio Theatre, CIZ
  • Best Lighting Design, sponsored by Christie Lites Sales:
    Cathy Hamm, “Cherry Docs” by Williams Lake Studio Theatre, CIZ
  • Best Ensemble, sponsored by Courtenay Little Theatre:
    “Dancing at Lughnasa”, Langley Players Drama Club, FVZ
  • Best Supporting Actor, sponsored by Theatre BC:
    Dean Chadwick in “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Nanaimo Theatre Group, NIZ
  • Best Supporting Actress, sponsored by TBC Central Interior Zone:
    Wendy Karpuik in “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Nanaimo Theatre Group, NIZ
  • Best Actor, sponsored by TBC Okanagan Zone:
    Chris Froese in “Late Company” by Theatre Kelowna Society, OKZ
  • Best Actress, sponsored by Naesgaard’s Farm and Market:
    Melissa Kahan in “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Nanaimo Theatre Group, NIZ
  • Best Director, sponsored by Nanaimo Theatre Group:
    Brian Haigh, director of “Late Company” by Theatre Kelowna Society, OKZ
  • Burnaby Award (Runner Up), sponsored by Langley Players Drama Club:
    “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Nanaimo Theatre Group, NIZ
  • Best Production, sponsored by The Graphics Factory:
    “Late Company” by Theatre Kelowna Society, OKZ

Two non-adjudicator Thespian Awards are also presented each year at Mainstage:

  • Backstage Cooperation Award, sponsored by TBC North Island Zone, as selected by ADSS Backstage Coordinator Melissa Lowe and TBC technician Andrew Taylor:
    Nanaimo Theatre Group (NIZ), “The Diary of Anne Frank”
  • Darrell Phillips Workshop Play Award, sponsored by Theatre Kelowna Society, as selected by Workshop Play instructor Nicolle Nattrass:
    Bronwyn Hall and Dennis Szalai, “Annapurna”, Bridge to Broadway, PRZ

Certificates of Merit were also presented by Dean Paul Gibson, as follows:

  • Most Inventive and Ambitious Production: “Age of Arousal” by Opening Nite Theatre Society, FVZ;
  • Outstanding First Time Direction: Colleen Byberg, “Hidden In This Picture” by Well Planned Theatre Company, NSZ;
  • Outstanding Contribution to a Production: Ami MacFarlane for Projection Design, “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Nanaimo Theatre Group, NIZ;
  • Outstanding First Time Set Design and Decoration: Kaymia Wheat, “Between The Sheets”, Stage North Theatre Society, PRZ;
  • Best Self-Choreographed Dance Sequence: Mort Paul and Torrey Clark, “Stones In His Pockets”, Ladysmith Little Theatre, SIZ.

In Theatre BC’s 2019 Graphic Competition, the following certificates were awarded:

  • Best Poster – Powerhouse Theatrical Society – A Christmas Carol. Designer Chris Gallagher – Mecca Arts
  • Best Program (Specific Production) – Powerhouse Theatrical Society – Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Designer Arta Adams
  • Best Season Brochure, Program, Press Kit – Courtenay Little Theatre, 2018/2019 Season Brochure. Designer – Linda Hampshire

The judge in this year’s competition was Melissa Martin, who writes “I am Canadian born, but grew up in New York, I finished my schooling in Ohio, at Dayton University with a BFA ; concentration in Commercial Design, specializing in Graphic Design. After moving back to Vancouver in 1987, I began freelancing as a Graphic Artist, my passion! Although the world of design has changed significantly since I was in school; we were not taught on computers, but rather cut and paste ideas and thoughts all by hand, a whole other world! Some of my other work  included being an Art Director for two major Vancouver Art Publications and designing corporate identities for real-estate marketing packages as well as for major corporations. In 1993 I opened my own Interior design business, while I am also currently the Arts Administrator and Executive Director for the Community Arts Council of the Alberni Valley. Working for the Community Arts Council enables me to also design all our publications for events and programs as well as all marketing for the Art Centre.”

Congratulations to all the participants and award recipients, and we’re all looking forward to Mainstage 2020 from July 3 – 11 in Port Alberni again, with adjudicator Fran Gebhard.

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