North Vancouver theatre group comes out on top

The North Vancouver Community Players have returned home triumphant from the Theatre B.C. Annual Provincial Drama Festival in Kamloops.

Their production of David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole, a drama that deals with the ways family members survive a major loss, competed against five other entries from around the province and received the top prize in four categories at the Theatre B.C. Mainstage event.

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On the final night of the festival July 11, adjudicator Fran Gebhard awarded Rabbit Hole the overall Best Production award, with Best Director and Best Set Design going to Peter Zednik and Best Actress awards shared by Mersiha Musovic and Tamara Prescott. An honourable mention for Best Supporting Actress went to Sue Sparlin for her role in the play.

"It was just a terrific experience," Zednik said after the festival. He was admittedly concerned that the intimate production, originally performed at Hendry Hall back in April and then again at the North Shore Zone Festival of Plays at Presentation House Theatre in May, would look small in the much larger 700-seat Sagebrush Theatre in Kamloops. But his worries were quickly put to rest when he saw how the audience reacted at the end of the performance. "I looked up and they gave a prolonged standing ovation and the cast was in tears, I was bawling like a baby because regardless of whether or not you win an award, you know you've done a really good show and you've touched people and that's the most important thing."

Gebhard commented after the show that it was "a magnificent piece of work" and "nearly flawless."

"Theatre is a collaborative art unlike painting or writing," Zednik added. "It's not about you alone, it's about all the other people you meet, the friendships you make, working together. Everybody's doing it for the love of it."

Six times in the last 40 years, the North Vancouver Community Players have won the top prize at the Theatre B.C. Mainstage event, their last success back in 2000 with the Irish comedy Da by Hugh Leonard.

— with files from Chris Slater

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