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Next stop, Mainstage

Local theatre companies bring home hardware at Peace River Zone Theatre Festival

Fort St. John will once again represent the Peace River Zone at Theatre BC's Mainstage festival.

The Peace River Zone Theatre Festival wrapped up on Saturday with the Bridge to Broadway production of Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll taking the top prize of Best Production.

Actor and director Tom Kirschner, who also took home the Best Actor award, was ecstatic not only about his wins, but the festival as a whole.

"Wow, what a trip, really!" he said after Saturday's awards ceremony. "But to win the Best Production, I mean, I've been to Mainstage, I've seen the quality of work, I've had the opportunity to win a Best Actor award, but to win a Best Production and a Best Actor at the Zone (Festival) is a cool feeling.

"We saw some really cool stuff this year. The amount of talent that I'm seeing coming out of each community now is great, I loved this."

This year's weeklong festival saw an increase in the number of performances - six plays by five theatre companies, which hasn't happened in years.

Performances from Fort St. John's Bridge to Broadway, Stage North and the Fort St. John Players, as well as the Dionysus Theatre Company from Dawson Creek and the Grizzly Valley Players from Tumbler Ridge rounded out the regional participants.

Stage North took home several awards, including Best Set for Toronto, Mississippi, as well as Best Actress and Best Director for I, Claudia. The Fort St. John Players also landed some hardware for Best Costumes and Best Ensemble for their performance of The Melancholy King.

Jean Pawlucki and Tim Favelle won Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor for the Grizzly Valley Players, while Amanda O'Leary of the Dionysus Theatre Company won Best Supporting Actress.

Festival Adjudicator, Andrew McIlroy, has judged the Peace River Zone festival before, and has enjoyed seeing the talent in this region thrive.

"I like this zone a lot because I find that the material they choose is really challenging and every time I come back to the zone, because of the enthusiasm of the zone and the material they choose, every category of artist has stepped up their game. And I think that's fantastic," he said.

Mainstage 2010 runs from July 2 - 10 in Kamloops.