Teamwork, countless hours and an unwillingness to back down allowed for a Vernon theatrical company to go up to bat at the Theatre BC Mainstage Festival and come out on top.
Powerhouse Theatre’s Calendar Girls, under the direction of Tanya Laing Gahr, claimed Best Production, Best Director and Barry Goodsell won Best Supporting Actor at the provincial theatre festival’s awards ceremony Saturday, July 7.
“The best production, that was huge. It’s a collaborative effort of so many people to make a vision manifest. Everyone committed their hearts and souls,” Laing Gahr said.
Calendar Girls, which originally took the Powerhouse Theatre stage in May and raised nearly $5,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada through a calendar fundraiser, claimed Best Production in the Okanagan Zone festival, which allowed the team to continue on to Mainstage.
Before being awarded the top honours at the gala, Laing Gahr said adjudicator Stephen Drover walked past the cast and crew to applaud their efforts.
“I got a sense that we were a very high-quality production,” Laing Gahr said. “He wanted to thank everyone for what he called ‘a tremendous night of theatre.'”
Laing Gahr attributes Powerhouse’s success to their resolve and dedication to the craft.
“I think in many ways we changed the game,” Laing Gahr said. “We showed what was possible when you go in without reservations or fear. I think this was a play that was meaningful in multiple ways.”
Over the course of the festival, which ran from June 29 to July 7, eight participating zones put their best production, as voted in their zone festivals, on the Vernon stage.
“It’s been a long week,” laughed Richard Kerton, festival co-chair. “Overall, the event was well-attended. The audience got to see some really good work.”
Laing Gahr added that all theatre companies put on a good show and made for a week of sublime theatre.
“That was how I spent my summer vacation,” she laughed.
During the festival, Drover would critique plays and provide feedback for the cast in an effort to educate and add more to each company’s toolkit.
“Spending my week with the participants of Mainstage was a remarkably meaningful and memorable experience,” Drover said. “I was so inspired by the caliber of theatre I saw and the spirit of generosity that ran through the entire week. Bravo, Theatre BC.”
Kerton said that theatre companies were positive about their work with Drover.
“He’s a very good adjudicator. He kept his cards very close to his chest,” Laing Gahr added.
This year also saw the addition of a wild card production in the form of Halo, which won Best Ensemble and Best Performance by Youth or Novice for the Chilliwack School of Performing Arts.
“These are our future thespians. It’s good for them to experience the Mainstage environment,” Kerton said. “We always want to make it fun and see where we can get younger people involved and do it in a meaningful way. Having the youth workshop and Chilliwack School of Performing Arts was a huge step for us. We were very fortunate this year that we had that.”
Next year, Theatre BC’s Mainstage Festival will move to Port Alberni.
“They’re excited about taking on the Mainstage and doing it as good as we did it,” Kerton said. “We certainly tried to show as much as we could and represent our city. Vernon stepped up to the plate.”
However, Kerton is adamant that the festival will return.
“It set it (the bar) really high. I’m not hesitant to say Mainstage will come back at some point.”
Theatre BC Mainstage 2018 Results
- Best Production sponsored by RBC Dominion Securities: Calendar Girls, Powerhouse Theatrical Society, Okanagan Zone
- Burnaby Award sponsored by Langley Players Drama Club: Blackbird, Stage North Theatre Society, Peace River Zone
- Best Director sponsored by Nanaimo Theatre Group: Tanya Laing Gahr, Powerhouse Theatrical Society, Okanagan Zone
- Best Actress sponsored by Home Building Centre: Beth Devolder, E.C.H.O. Players Society, North Island Zone
- Best Actor sponsored by TBC Okanagan Zone: Julian Ratz, Williams Lake Studio Theatre, Central Interior Zone
- Best Supporting Actress sponsored by Sun Life Insurance: Claire Lindsay, Between Shifts Theatre, North Shore Zone
- Best Supporting Actor sponsored by TBC Central Interior Zone: Barry Goodsell, Powerhouse Theatrical Society, Okanagan Zone
- Best Ensemble sponsored by Courtenay Little Theatre: Halo, Malone Hanson, Breanne Poole, Sydney Gazso, Graysen Braun, Hailey Hanson, Caylen Braun, Yiorgos Sahamis, Erica Revin, Abigail Colibaba, Johathon Woyke, Chilliwack School of Performing Arts, Fraser Valley Zone
- Best Lighting Design sponsored by Christie Lites Sales: The Best Brothers, Donald Willer, Marianne Brorup Weston, Terrace Little Theatre, Skeena Zone
- Best Sound Design sponsored by Kal Tire: No Exit, Graham Coates, Theatre in the Country, Fraser Valley Zone
- Best Set Design sponsored by Powerhouse Theatrical Society: Hand to God, Sheryl-Lynn Lewis, Jamie Regier, Williams Lake Studio Theatre, Central Interior Zone
- Best Set Decorating/Properties sponsored by BC Drama Association Theatre BC: Blackbird, Bronwyn Hall, Dennis Szalai, Stage North Theatre Society, Peace River Zone
- Best Costume Design sponsored by Doug Perri & Norman White: Collected Stories, Jane Still, E.C.H.O. Players Society, North Island Zone
- Bill Elliott Award Best Performance by Youth or Novice sponsored by TBC North Shore Zone: Graysen Braun, Chilliwack School of Performing Arts, Fraser Valley Zone
- Darrell Philips Workshop Award sponsored by Theatre Kelowna Society: Mary’s Wedding, Stage North Theatre Society, Peace River Zone
- Backstage Cooperation Award sponsored by TBC North Island Zone: E.C.H.O. Players Society, North Island Zone
Best Graphic Design, Awarded by Sproing: Amanda Homeniuk, Heath Fletcher
- Program: Ronan Lannuzel, Collected Stories, E.C.H.O. Players Society, North Island Zone
- Brochure: Linda Hampshire, Courtenay Little Theatre Society, North Island Zone
- Poster: Melanie Iddon, Love Letters, Emerald Pig Theatrical Society, Fraser Valley Zone
- Most Creative Product: Melanie Iddon, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Emerald Pig Theatrical Society, Fraser Valley Zon