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.

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station burned to the ground after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van burst into flames just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read