After a three-year hiatus, ECHO Players hosted the 16th Vancouver Island One Act Play Festival at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach.
The four-day festival launched on Jan. 19 with two plays performed by local youth groups, Kwalikum Secondary School (KSS) and ECHO Youth. The next day, the audience was treated to a one-man show, scripted and performed by Qualicum playwright and actor, Charlie Whelton.
The two plays on Saturday night were staged by Nanaimo and Quadra Island groups, both were original scripts. And on Sunday, 30 young dancers from the Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS) Dance Company closed the festival with a powerfully choreographed, well-scripted and beautifully performed dance theatre piece.
Festival adjudicator Michael Armstrong provided feedback to the audience and the actors immediately after each play and then to each group privately afterward.
The awards were announced on Sunday:
• Best Play went to Wrong Side of the Wire, by NDSS Dance Company, which also won Best Ensemble. The Best Director award was given to Kelly Barnum and Sarah Kielly for the same production.
• Best Original Script went to Gordon McInnis of Dark Pond Productions for Stranger Than Fiction and an honourable mention was given to Chris Thompson of The Collective for his original script, Hobson’s Choice.
• Best Actor in a Female Lead Role was awarded to Vicki Barta, in Dark Pond Production’s Stranger Than Fiction and an Honourable Mention went to Julie Douglas, in The Collective’s Hobson’s Choice.
• Best Actor in a Male Lead Role was awarded to Charlie Whelton in ECHO Players’ Working Hypothesis.
• Best Actor in a Female Supporting Role went to Brooklin Urquart, in KSS’s A Game and an Honourable Mention was given to Gabriela Conn, in NDSS Dance Company’s Wrong Side of the Wire.
• Best Actor in a Male Supporting Role went to Cliff Mooney, in The Collective’s Hobson’s Choice. And one last Honourable Mention for Best Ensemble was won by KSS’s production, A Game.
• Best Performance by a Young Actor was named by our adjudicator as “an award needing its own trophy” and was given to Keanna Jeffs in ECHO Youth’s Oh, What A Tangled Web.
Armstrong said he was impressed with the number of original plays that were submitted, the incredible talent of young people on Vancouver Island and the calibre of the productions as a whole.
— NEWS Staff, submitted
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