Melissa Kahan’s Anne Frank plays keep-away with Peter Van Daan, played by Darrian Gaetz, in the Nanaimo Theatre Group production of The Diary of Anne Frank. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Port Alberni hosts ‘provincials’ of community theatre

Mainstage BC starts Friday, July 5 at ADSS Theatre

Port Alberni residents will have a chance to see “the best of the best” in provincial community theatre this week as the town will be hosting Mainstage 2019.

The Portal Players Dramatic Society and Theatre BC’s North Island Zone are co-hosting the annual “provincials of community theatre,” as the Best Play winners from regional Zone Festivals across the province travel to Port Alberni to perform.

This is the first time the provincial festival has come to Vancouver Island since 2008, and it is the first of a planned two-year term for Port Alberni.

Nightly shows will be performed at the ADSS Performing Arts Theatre from July 5-12 at 7:30 p.m. each night and are open to the public.

The performances will kick off on Friday, July 5 with The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, presented by the Nanaimo Theatre Group (winners of the North Island Zone Festival). The Diary of Anne Frank is an impassioned drama about the lives of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a concealed storage attic, which captures the truly claustrophobic realities of their daily existence—their fear, their hope, their laughter, their grief.

READ: Diary of Anne Frank turned into emotional stage production

On Saturday, July 6, the Well Planned Theatre Co. (winners of the North Shore Zone) will present Hidden in This Picture by Aaron Sorkin. This delightful satire on movie making, from the author of A Few Good Men, is the original one act play which later became the second act of the full-length Making Movies which played Off-Broadway in 1990.

The Stage North Theatre Society (winners of the Peace River Zone) will take the stage on Sunday, July 7 with Between the Sheets by Jordi Mand. This is a one-act play that deals with both special-needs children and sexual affairs, and includes drama and occasional suspense.

On Monday, July 8, the Langley Players Drama Club (winners of the Fraser Valley Zone) will present Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Fiel. Dancing at Lughnasa is a memory play set in 1936 in the fictional village of Ballybeg during the harvest festival of Lughnasa. Through sparkling and often comic dialogue, compelling dramatic moments and music, Fiel tells the story of the five unmarried Mundy sisters and their brother, a priest who has returned from a 25-year missionary posting in Africa.

The Williams Lake Studio Theatre (winners of the Central Interior Zone) will keep things going on Tuesday, July 9 with a production of Cherry Docs by David Gow. In Cherry Docs, a neo-Nazi skinhead accused of a racially motivated murder is defended by a liberal, court-appointed Jewish lawyer.

On Wednesday, July 10, watch Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones, produced by the Ladysmith Little Theatre (winners of the South Island Zone). Stones in His Pockets is a tragicomedy about a small, rural town in Ireland where many of the townspeople are extras in a Hollywood film.

Theatre Kelowna Society (winner of the Okanagan Zone) will take the stage on Thursday, July 11 with Late Company by Jordan Tannahill. One year after the suicide of their teenage son, Debora and Michael Shaun-Hastings sit down to dinner with their son’s bully and his parents.

On Friday, July 12, watch the wild card selection from the Fraser Valley Zone: Age of Arousal by Linda Griffiths, produced by Opening Nite Theatre Society. It’s 1885, and the typwriter and the suffrage movement are sending things topsy-turvy. In the midst of it all, five ambitious New Women and one Newish Man struggle to find their way.

The Gala Awards Evening will take place on Saturday, July 13.

Tickets are available now to all performances, including three-, five- and eight-show packages. You can buy them at the Capitol Theatre box office (call 250-723-1195) or visit theatrebc.org.

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