Carihi play to be showcased at Sears B.C. Drama Festival-Carihi Mirror

Carihi came out on top at the North Island Regional Drama Festival in Campbell River last week.

Ben Downie and Katie Chaisson perform in Carihi’s production of Aunt Leaf at the North Island Regional Drama Festival.

Carihi came out on top at the North Island Regional Drama Festival in Campbell River last week.

High school students from across the North Island participated NIRD Fest that was hosted by Carihi on Nov. 24-26.

The North Island zone includes schools from Ladysmith to Port Hardy.

“There’s mayhem and happiness everywhere!” said Christine Knight, a Carihi drama teacher and the director of Carihi’s NIRD Fest play.

“A typical NIRD day started off with workshops in the morning and afternoon, fringe, which is our talent show that everyone loves, and then three or four shows in the evening from the different areas in our zones.”

The festival was an opportunity for approximately 200 students to showcase their talents as performers and technical crew members as well as a place to celebrate the performing arts.

The workshops held at Carihi during the day allowed local professionals to share their expertise on specialties such as improv, character building, stage combat, and the ever popular dance workshop by Carihi teacher, LisaMarie Thompson.

“It’s a big learning opportunity,” Knight said, “but it’s also an opportunity for our kids to get together from the different schools and see different productions and learn from each other and immerse themselves in the greatness of theatre.”

The festival moved to Timberline Secondary School in the evening where students performed their plays in front of peers from different schools to compete for a chance to showcase their production at the Provincial Drama Festival.

“Our lovely adjudicators,” said Knight, “were Allan Morgan, a professional actor from Vancouver who has been in Bard on the Beach as well as many other things.

“The other adjudicator was Robinson Wilson who is a local theatre pro from Courtenay that has worked with NIRD Fest for a long time.”

The adjudicators provided the cast, crew and directors of each show with constructive feedback on their performance as well as the technical elements.

The adjudicators also selected the play to represent the region at the Provincials and this year they chose Carihi’s production of “Aunt Leaf”, a drama about a young girl and her depressed great-aunt and the relationship they develop through storytelling.

“Aunt Leaf was amazing!” said Knight.  “It came together in such a great way with the actors, technicians and the overall quality of the show ended up being just a beautiful thing at the end.  Now I think it’s one of my favourite shows that I’ve ever directed, if not the favourite.”

Knight, and the cast and crew of “Aunt Leaf” were thrilled and proud of their success at the festival.

They will be travelling to the provincial festival at Douglas College in New Westminster at the end of April.

They will do a public performance in the near future to fundraise to cover the cost of the trip.