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Gabriola Island One Act Play Festival will feature all island playwrights

Three plays will be staged May 30-June 2
Donna Deacon and Scott Rivers rehearse Carol Fergusson’s ‘Shades of Green’ for the Gabriola Players’ One-Act Play Festival opening Thursday, May 30, at the Rollo Centre on North Road. (Photo by Bill Pope)

The curtains will soon part for this year’s One-Act Play Festival on Gabriola Island.

Creative director Miranda Holmes said that while the event has always been about helping local writers dip their toes into the world of theatre, not since 2015 have they produced a festival with all island playwrights.

The Gabriola Players’ production began roughly 15 years ago and has remained more or less the same since. Although the number of plays may change, and so might the runtimes, the festival still holds up as one of the theatre group’s most popular shows.

This year, the bill features a trio of approximately half-hour live productions.

The first, written and directed by Dave Innell, initially came about as a personal challenge to see if he could tell a story in an unexpected way. When Innell debuted with the theatre group last year, he wrote “a somewhat personal piece” called The Trouble with Trees, and wanted to see if he could create something that would leave the audience guessing this year.

The plot of Innell’s The Care Aide Visits came to him slowly, “like peeling an onion,” and follows two strangers who may have unresolved issues from their youth.

“[The characters] are not necessarily likeable people, and [the actors] have embraced what is not their normal personalities and they’ve really had to stretch themselves,” he said.

Second on the bill is Holmes’s The Waiting Room, written as a show of “love in its many forms” about two men who meet in a hospital while waiting on news about their wives. Also as director, Holmes has worked with two of the three cast members previously during the Cinderella pantomime by Robin Bailes in December 2022.

To close the festival, Carol Fergusson will make her debut as a playwright and co-director. She said the story for Shades of Green came “pouring out” in only three hours after she saw the call for scripts by Gabriola Players, and described the festival closer as a contemporary commentary about the pitfalls of ‘Facebook investigations’ and modern relationships. As her first-ever play script, Fergusson said she enjoyed learning the nuances between writing a story and writing something from the stage. The One Act Play Festival will be held Thursday to Saturday, May 30-June 1, at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, June 2, at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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