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The British Columbia CTC Theatre Awards Go Digital This Year

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The CTC or Community Theatre Coalition would have presented its 27th Annual Gala Awards in person in early September.

The British Columbia CTC Theatre Awards Go Digital This Year

With the most recent theatre industry news that the TONY awards would go all virtual and online, it seemed like a good fit for a local Metro Vancouver group to do the same.

The CTC or Community Theatre Coalition would have presented its 27th Annual Gala Awards in person in early September. While nominations had been announced, even with the season being cut short, it was uncertain when or even if awards could be presented at all this year. Thanks to the efforts of one of its member companies, Fabulist Theatre has volunteered their creative, media and marketing team to bring the awards show to life, online for the first time.

Fabulist Theatre is a relatively young Metro Vancouver-based company, treading the line between amateur and professional. While they don't fit into the professional company mould like the Arts Club, or ever the bigger semi-professional community groups like Royal City or Theatre Under The Stars, they also don't quite fit the mould of an amateur community theatre group.

"For several years there was a company in Vancouver that would always sweep the awards. They usually had a lot of amazing emerging talent in their shows but they didn't pay people so it fit within the definition of community theatre. Then there was another company that did well, based out of Vancouver, who paid people on a profit share scale. It wasn't until a year later that we formed our company as an Artists Collective, with a few pro actors in the show, and then we became a non-profit society, tried to join CTCs, but paperwork kept getting misplaced and deadlines kept getting missed, but finally Fabulist Theatre was able to join officially for the 2019-2020 season. While our mandate is to provide honoraria for everyone involved, we truly embrace the idea of "community" of theatre vs. the reputation of community theatre being seen as more of a hobby rather than a stepping stone towards professional work."

Damon Bradley Jang, Co-Artistic and Marketing Director, says in an interview.

"After COVID-19 put a halt to our industry, and the other local awards went digital (the Jessies, the Leos), I shot an email to the CTC Board of Directors making the pitch that it might be worth considering doing an online event for the awards presentation in place of the in-person gala. Luckily, the board president Mary Renvall was extremely excited to have someone put this forward and after a really great discussion, I volunteered my company to co-present the show, completely virtually this year, as we have had success in navigating digital shows already this season. It is good to acknowledge though that the season was cut short due to COVID-19 so nominations were presented based on the shows the jury had seen prior to the shutdown." Among these shows is Fabulist Theatre's The Untold Legend Of Imogen Flight, which received 8 CTC Award nominations. Other companies shortlisted for the awards include Metro Theatre (22 nominations), White Rock Players' Club (19), Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society (13), Langley Players Drama Club (12), Vagabond Players (9), Fighting Chance Productions (6), Stage 43 Theatrical Society (5), Sidekick Players Club (5), and Theatre In The Country (2).

With a planning meeting completed it BWW Vancouver learned that the official date of the digital stream will be October 3rd 2020 at 7PM. The show promises to have performances, surprises and even a guest appearance by preeminent award winning Canadian playwright NORM FOSTER.

Companies of the Community Theatre Coalition can rest easy knowing the show will go on...line. So, while there may be no live gala this year, some say that online is better than nothing. The awards show may be virtual, bur the awards themselves are still very much a physical thing, and the recognition for work done in the lead-up to COVID-19 serves as a reminder of what we have to look forward to when live performances are able to resume once more.

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