Matt Brown’s ‘Woman in Black’ Brings in Some Bling


By Kristin Froneman – Vernon Morning Star

Powerhouse Theatre can once again welcome the Bill Allum Cup home to Vernon.


The award, named after the late Vernon resident, Powerhouse member and co-founder of The Morning Star, is issued annually for the best production at the Okanagan Zone (OZone) Drama Festival. And this year it went to Powerhouse’s dark and mysterious entry The Woman in Black.


The award caught the play’s director Matt Brown, who was also named as best director, totally off guard.


“I love surprises and this one was one of the best I’ve ever received,” said Brown.


Longtime Powerhouse volunteer Bob Oldfield picked up the award for best sound while The Woman in Black’s two (and only) actors Chris Froese and Burnet McLean shared the award for best actor.


Hosted by Armstrong’s Asparagus Community Theatre, this year’s OZones saw seven community theatre companies from throughout the region, including Kelowna, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Armstrong and Vernon, present their respective plays to an audience and adjudicator.


The former artistic director of Prince George’s Theatre North West, adjudicator Ted Price not only had to judge the awards, but he also offered advice and constructive criticism on each play at daily critiques held during the festival.

The OZones also saw host theatre Asparagus pick up two awards for its entry, Tamarack.

Best lighting went to Paul Kirkwood-Hackett, while the Award of Merit for Technical and Design Innovation went to George Bensmiller, Maryke Simmonds and Bea Kirkwood-Hackett.


Vernon’s Leah Goldie of Powerhouse Theatre was also presented the Steve Heal Memorial OZone Scholarship.


The Powerhouse cast and crew will next take The Woman in Black to Kamloops, where other zone winners from throughout the province will stage their respective plays at Theatre BC’s Mainstage Festival, to be held at the Sagebrush Theatre June 30 to July 7.



Other OZone awards went to:



–– Theatre Kelowna Society, best backstage for The Perfect Wedding.



–– Diane Fettig, Theatre Kelowna, best set decor for The Perfect Wedding.



–– Crystal Lawrie, Playhouse 25 (Kelowna),  best newcomer for Waiting For the Parade.



–– Bumbershoot Children’s Theatre (Kelowna), best ensemble for The Hundred Dresses.



–– James Bowlby and Randy BrogdenShuswap Theatre (Salmon Arm), Award of Merit for Outstanding Commitment to a Cast and Theatre Organization.



––  Louise Sjoquist, Theatre Kelowna, best costumes for The Perfect Wedding.



–– Brian Haigh, Theatre Kelowna, best set design, The Perfect Wedding.



–– Dorothy Dalba and Sarah Macfarlane, Bumbershoot Children’s Theatre, best supporting actress for The Hundred Dresses.



–– Joe Welton, Theatre Kelowna, best supporting actor for The Perfect Wedding.



–– Georgia Kemp, Bumbershoot Children’s Theatre, best actress for The Hundred Dresses,



–– Tracy Ross, Bumbershoot Children’s Theatre, Award of Merit for Outstanding Administrative and Artistic Leadership.



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