Rapid-fire theatre this weekend

The roster of plays include an original by a Ballenas Secondary School student

Geoff Jenkins practices for a one act play a couple years ago. There are six plays in the One Act Play Festival at the Village Theatre this weekend.

A festival in Qualicum Beach this weekend promises an interesting and diverse range of Island  talent.

It’s Echo Players’ eighth annual One Act Play Festival at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach, kicking off Friday, Nov. 2 and carrying on throughout the weekend to Sunday.

“It’s an opportunity for new directors and young people to try their hand at putting on a play,” said festival committee member Doug Toombs.

The festival challenges theatre groups from surrounding areas to put on an a play no longer than an hour, originals or otherwise. The focus of the performances is on the acting, the direction, and in some cases, the writing, and each will be judged by three highly regarded theatre professionals from Vancouver, Nanaimo and Parksville.

Festival-goers will find both comedic and dramatic plays in this year’s crop of plays, from theatre groups in Victoria, Campbell River, Courtenay, Port Alberni, Yellowpoint and Parksville’s Whalebone Theatre at Ballenas Secondary School. This will be the second year an original play is being presented by a student at the school. Geoff Jenkins, organizer of the festival, said the plays are always memorable and often hilarious.

Douglas Newell from Vancouver is one of the judges at the festival this year, who has over 35 years experience working in film, television, audio and theatre. He has a master’s degree in directing for stage television and film, among a list of other credentials, and will be putting on a workshop at the Village Theatre Sunday, Nov. 4 on the basics of acting.

Other judges are Eliza Gardiner, artistic producer of Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre Company, who holds a master’s degree in drama; and Shadow Foster, an award-winning director with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts.

There are two shows Friday, three shows Saturday and one show Sunday during the festival. Awards will be given out on Sunday with plaques and food supplied by Thrifty Foods. Tickets are $10 a day, $8 for seniors and students. More info: www.echoplayers.ca.

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