Margaret Jenkins has directed the Echo Players' Vancouver Island One-act Play Festival since 2006. The 2015 festival is scheduled for Nov. 5-8 at Village Theatre.

Margaret Jenkins has directed the Echo Players' Vancouver Island One-act Play Festival since 2006. The 2015 festival is scheduled for Nov. 5-8 at Village Theatre.

Second act for one-act play festival

Echo Players resurrect Vancouver Island theatre festival Nov. 5-8 after cancellation in 2014

The writer F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said there are no second acts in American lives. But the Vancouver Island One-Act Theatre Festival is getting a second chance after being cancelled last fall for the first time in 10 years.

“I thought maybe it had run its course — that this was it,” said Margaret Jenkins, who has directed the festival since original founder Peter Bendz died after the inaugural event in 2005. “Last year some of our regular groups found it hard to get an extra play into their regular schedules. And the schools started out on strike, so we lost the kids.“

The 2015 festival resumes Nov. 5-8 at Village Theatre.

Six theatre groups from five communities — including Kwalicum Secondary School — will perform seven short plays over the course of the four days.

With community theatre groups strapped for both cash and time, there is no guarantee this festival signals a permanent return of the event, said Jenkins.

“We’d had entries the year before (2013) from the likes of Victoria and Nanaimo, and they were as keen as ever last year,” said Geoff Jenkins, Margaret’s husband and a festival coordinator. “But it proved hard to fit everyone into a calendar, date-wise.”

The Echo players, for example, will wrap up a four-week run of the sold-out comedy Calendar Girls Oct. 30, then begin work on their annual Christmas play, Merry Christmas, George Bailey!, set to run Dec. 17-31.

“It can be hard to slot in a one-act play,” said Doug Toombs, publicity volunteer.

“We’re building the set for the festival the day after we take down the Calendar Girls set,”

Geoff Jenkins added.

Victoria and Nanaimo will again miss the festival, made up of plays of less than an hour in length. But the host Echo Players will take the stage twice, and will be joined by Campbell River’s River City Players, Port Alberni’s Portal Players, the Courtenay Little Theater, the Gabriola Players Society and Kwalicum Secondary School, under a new director.

“The festival is dedicated to encouraging local talent,” said Toombs. “We’re especially trying to encourage young people through the schools.”

The festival will feature two show each on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. The final play will run as a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, followed by the awards presentation.

The awards include Best Play, which is accompanied by a perpetual trophy presented by title sponsor Thrifty Foods, Best Director and Best Original Script. The rest of the awards — Best Female Actor in a Lead Role, Best Male Actor in a Lead Role, Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role — recognize individual performance.

“The focus is on the acting,” said Toombs. “These plays are meant to have minimal sets. We don’t want groups bringing in a bunch of furniture and such.”

The jurors tasked with selecting the winners in this year’s festival are Genie Award-winning actress Nicola Cavendish (The Grocer’s Wife, The Sleep Room) and director Robb Mowbray of Naniamo’s Theatre One, former winner of the Best Director Award at the North Island Zone Theatre Festival.

The pair offer each theatre group a brief, public critique immediately after each performance, and a more in-depth private critique at the end of each evening.

Work on establishing this year’s festival lineup, local sponsors and jurors began even as the 2014 event was being cancelled, said Jenkins.

“We work the phones and emails all year round,” said Geoff Jenkins. “Margaret works very hard on it. It’s her baby, and she doesn’t want to lose it.”

Tickets are $12 per evening for adults/$10 for seniors and students. A three-day pass is $30/$27, and a full four-day festival pass is $40/$36. Seat reservations and info are available at 250-752-3522 or info@echoplayers.ca.

Village Theatre is at 110 West 2nd. Ave. in Qualicum Beach.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mount Arrowsmith. Three skiers were rescued from the south side of the mountain on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021 with one woman taken to hospital in Comox. (Nancy Randall photo)
Injured skier among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville and District and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce. (PQB News photo)
PQBeat: Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Burden looks ahead

Podcast: Talk includes 2021 business plans in Parksville, Qualicum Beach, events and more

The Village Way and Highway 19A roundabout is the Town of Qualicum Beach priority for a grant application. (Google Map)
Qualicum Beach council favours roundabout over turf field project

Mayor believes road project has better chance of landing grant

Curling season is over at the Parksville Curling Club and Qualicum Beach Curling Club. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Parksville and Qualicum Beach curling clubs forced to end season

Restrictions impact financial sustainability of both operations

(PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: No public attendance or participation for Jan. 18 Parksville council meeting

Citizens can still offer feedback via email, telephone or written submissions

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons was appointed to the NDP cabinet as minister of social development and poverty reduction after the October 2020 B.C. election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. job training fund increased for developmentally disabled

COVID-19 has affected 1,100 ‘precariously employed’ people

A Sooke woman is speaking up after she was almost tricked by a lottery scam, claiming she had won $950,000 with Set for Life Lottery. (File Photo)
‘I wanted it to be true so badly’: Sooke senior narrowly avoids lottery scam

88-year-old received letter stating she had won $950,000

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

Submitted photo of Town Park C Block apartment fire.
Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building

‘Multiple people were transported to the hospital with injuries from falling’

sdf
2nd in-school violence incident in Mission, B.C, ends in arrest

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

(Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP say ice climber seriously injured after reportedly falling 12 metres near Abraham Lake

Police say man’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

Most Read