Portal gets ready to host NIZ in Alberni

Port Alberni’s Capitol Theatre, the home of the Portal Players Dramatic Society, will host the 2011 Theatre BC North Island Zone Drama Festival from May 22–27 as part of the theatre’s 75th anniversary  celebrations.

Theatre groups from Port Alberni, Parksville, Courtenay, Nanaimo, Qualicum and Campbell River will gather to present some of their best work of the season.  The festival also gives the theatre companies the opportunity to bring their productions to a new audience and to gather feedback from a Theatre BC adjudicator.

The festival ends with the Windsor Plywood awards banquet ceremony for the groups.

On Sunday, May 22, Portal Players opens the festival with Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a period comedy and Wilde’s most enduringly popular play (Earnest is on now as well).

Monday, May 23, Parksville’s Thin Ice Theatre presents Brian Clark’s The Petition, a drama exploring the events around a marriage when an elderly woman tells her elderly husband an unbearably sad secret.

Tuesday, May 24 brings Courtenay Little Theatre’s production of John Mighton’s Half Life to the stage.

This Canadian play won a Governor General’s Literary Award and is an exploration of the love story of two nursing home residents, rekindling what might have been a wartime romance.

Wednesday, May 25, Nanaimo Theatre Group stages Over the River and Through the Woods, Joe DiPietro’s warm-hearted comedy about an Italian family in New Jersey.

Thursday, May 26 the theatre welcome Qualicum’s ECHO Players and their production of Lettice and Lovage, Peter Schaffer’s comedic play originally written specifically for Dame Maggie Smith.

Finally, the festival closes on Friday, May 27 with Campbell River’s Rivercity Player’s production of Veronica’s Room.  This thriller from playwright Ira Levin will be a frightfully brilliant way to finish a week of theatre spotlighting the best of Vancouver Island theatre.

“This festival is a wonderful way to bring live theatre to the Alberni Valley and showcase the talents that exist in the communities of the North Island,” Portal Players’ president Brent Ronning said.

“We are so excited to be hosting this in Port Alberni again this year, and are always so pleased to see the tremendous response and support we receive from our community.”

Full festival passes are available for all six shows for $60, or three plays for $40.  Individual tickets are $15 for each show.  Tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office.

Quick Facts: NORTH ISLAND Zone Drama Fest May 22–27. Tickets $60 for six plays, $40 for three, $15 each at the theatre box office. Call 250-723-1195.