A troupe of Langley-based thespians is on their way to Vernon later this month.
Theatre in the Country, a community theatre group that started in Whonnock and more recently moved to Langley, walked away with top honours at a regional theatre competition recently.
Theatre BC held its Fraser Valley zone competition at the Langley Playhouse late last month, where seven theatre groups presented their spring plays for a regional adjudicator.
Theatre in the Country – and its cast from Mission, Abbotsford and Pitt Meadows – walked away with three of the top awards. Their presentation of No Exit earned them the best production, best director (for Reg Parks), and best actor (for Joshua Osborne.
Winning these top honours, and the outstanding production title in particular, earned the group a turn on stage in the provincial competition, called MainStage, happening in Vernon the first week of July.
This is a group formed in 2013, that recently found a permanent home at the Langley Vineyard Church after being displaced from theatre sites on both sides of the Fraser River. Traditionally, Theatre in the Country typically presents dinner theatre.
“This will be TIC’s first trip to MainStage, and we are thrilled at the chance to take our show to the next level,” said Parks, who also serves as the artistic director for Theatre in the Country.
“We are nervous, and a bit overwhelmed, but we are determined to head to Vernon with confidence because we have the great support of our own theatre company, great zone support, and a lot of goodwill that has come to us through emails, phone calls, and social media,” he added.
“We chose No Exit because we loved the challenge of taking on an iconic piece of theatre,” Parks said.
“No Exit [written by Jean-Paul Sarte] has been around for 70 years and it is still fresh, interesting and relevant today.
“This piece of French existentialism is part of the core cannon of theatrical writing, and it gave us an opportunity to mine deep into the crafts of acting, direction and character,” he expounded.
“The feedback and support we got from Kathlene Duborg, the festival adjudicator, and the other participants of the festival was wonderful and deeply appreciated. It is an uncommon thing to be part of such a dedicated and talented group of theatre makers who all come together to mount wonderful and diverse shows.”
Describing the regional win as a humbling experience, Parks explained that the team will be remounting No Exit (straight theatre no dinner) on Friday and Saturday, June 29 and 30, at the new Langley venue.
It’s an opportunity to raise money for the trip, but it also give them a chance, Parks said, to work on the play a few more times before heading to Vernon. No Exit will be showing a MainStage on July 4.
“We are ready and humbled to be representing the theatre companies of the Fraser Valley at MainStage this year,” he said.
Tickets for the special showing of No Exit are $20, and available on their website.
In the meantime, Theatre in the Country is currently running its summer musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the new Langley Venue on Glover Road. That show opened May 31, and runs until June 16.
Players earn awards
Theatre in the Country wasn’t the only Langley-based theatre group to scoop up awards at the regional competition.
Langley Players, the host of the week-long competition, was also acknowledged with a few awards.
Kristine Brams earned best actress for her role in the Players’ rendition of Blood Relations, while drama club president Dave Williams won best set design, and Mary Ellen Shimell won best supporting actress.
Special recognitions were also presented to two long-time Langley Players members. Helen Embury won the Fraser Valley zone recognition award, while Mary Renvall earned the Gaye Lepage spotlight award.