Alberni players honoured at fest awards

Portal Players Dramatic Society members Maryanne Naesgaard

Portal Players Dramatic Society capped a successful North Island Zone Drama Festival with a pair of key wins in the awards.

The Port Alberni-based amateur theatre group hosted the festival at the Capitol Theatre this year, wrapping up a week of plays with the Windsor Plywood Awards Banquet last Saturday.

Barb Kevis won Best Costume Design for her work on The Importance of Being Earnest, while Elliot Drew won Best Male Actor for his portrayal of John Worthing in the same play.

Honourable mentions were also garnered for Best Ensemble Acting, Best Graphic Design to Megan Cathers for her work on the show poster, and a supporting female actor nod for Yvette Deveau’s portrayal of Lady Bracknell.

The prestigious Donna Lamb award was presented to Pam Aspinall, a founding member of Portal Players, to recognize all her contributions to community theatre. Another nominee for this award, Shari Jakubiec from Courtenay, was also in attendance.

Winner of the Best Play trophy was Nanaimo Theatre Group for their show Over The River and Through The Woods, a comedy about an Italian family in New Jersey trying to prevent their grandson from taking a promotion in Seattle.

That production moves on to the provincial Theatre BC Mainstage festival in early July, in Kamloops.

Overall, festival organizing committee chair Peter Wienold described the event as a huge success.

“We are very fortunate to have such a great facility as the Capitol Theatre here in Port Alberni, and it’s always wonderful to entertain our fellow peer group guests during festival,” he said.

“We had them all here in 2009 and 2006, and again this year. The reviews are always positive for our organizing team and facility.”

Wienold also praised his team of volunteers who put in hundreds of hours to organize the event, along with the many business sponsors who contributed to the success of the festival.

Next year’s NIZ Drama Festival takes place May 12-18 at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay, hosted by Courtenay Little Theatre.

Portal Players is already planning their production for next year’s event, Wienold said.

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