Up and coming actor Morgan Schoen listens to Theatre BC president Peter Wienold’s opening speech at the kickoff to Mainstage Festival 2019, Friday, July 5 at the ADSS Theatre foyer. Schoen was recently cast in the short film Arghhh! A Zombie Mockumentary in the Comox Valley. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Mainstage Festival 2019 hits full throttle in Port Alberni

Theatre BC president Peter Wienold opened the 2019 Mainstage Festival with an announcement: the festival will return to Port Alberni for an encore in 2020.

The opening reception at the ADSS Theatre in Port Alberni featured a welcome and singing from Huu-ay-aht and Tseshaht First Nations members before the first performance of the festival, The Diary of Anne Frank by Nanaimo Theatre Group.

READ: Port Alberni hosts ‘provincials’ of community theatre

Mainstage comprises eight plays in eight days. Plays were chosen from six zone drama festivals around B.C. and also include a travelling adjudicator’s selection and a wild card slot.

Each of the plays will be judged by adjudicator Dean Paul Gibson, an award-winning theatre practitioner with 30 years of experience including program director for the Annual Arts Club intensive in Vancouver, instructor with The Citadel/ Banff Centre Professional Theatre Training, Bard Studio, and guest instructor for Studio 58 Professional Theatre Training and Capilano University in Vancouver.

There is also a morning-after coffee critique of the previous evening’s play.

In addition to the plays, Theatre BC is staging a number of workshops for community theatre participants throughout the week. Some of these workshops focus on various aspects for actors or directors; there are two stage combat workshops by instructor Robinson Wilson, who gained a name for his combat work while participating in community theatre in Courtenay, B.C. Carrera Schroeder from Portal Players Dramatic Society is also putting on a theatre youth camp workshop for ages 13–18.

“Having Mainstage here in Port Alberni…is a mini-miracle,” said Wienold.

I can’t believe Mainstage is here in Port Alberni this year and next year.”

Tickets are available for remaining Mainstage plays at the Capitol Theatre box office (4904 Argyle St.), which is open daily throughout the festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or at the door for $25 each. Festival seating; no reservations. Doors at the ADSS Theatre open at 7 p.m. each night and curtain rises at 7:30 p.m.


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Ed Ross, left, and Jeff Cook of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation join Brent Ronning, a Huu-ay-aht FN employee, and Luke George of Tseshaht First Nation (not pictured) in singing a seal hunting song during the opening reception for Theatre BC’s Mainstage Festival 2019 at the ADSS Theatre in Port Alberni. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Participants and theatregoers alike gather in the foyer at Alberni District Secondary School to hear Theatre BC president Peter Wienold officially open Mainstage Festival 2019 on Friday, July 5. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

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