Video and story: Plays, music, improv bring Udderfest to life

Udderfest showcases the dramatic talent in Prince Rupert to bring laughter and creativity to the community.

Krista Ediger





Once a year, the dramatic talent in the city pools their resources together to bring laughter and creativity to the community.

The time of year has arrived once again for the 18th Annual Udderfest, presented by the Harbour Theatre Society. This year audiences can expect a variety of performances from youths, experienced actors, and a couple media personalities will make a brief appearance.

On the first night, the Orchestra North Wind Academy is opening the arts festival with a concert featuring string and wind instruments. The concert band formed four years ago and the musicians are travelling from Smithers to play a mix of contemporary and classical tunes.

The remaining Udderfest shows include an encore of Stones in His Pockets, a two-man play that was performed at the Lester Centre of the Arts in December, and is soon to travel to the Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival. Before they leave, Michael Gurney and Lucas Anders, are lending their tragicomedy to the Tom Rooney Playhouse.

The duo play 15 roles between them as the 90-minute production unfolds when small-town residents collide with Hollywood in Southern Ireland.

The five week theatre camp for youths aged five to 13 will come together on August 6 for two performances titled Tangled Tales from the Kids Camp. Harbour Theatre Society president, Treena Decker, and two summer students from Charles Hays Secondary School, have guided more than 20 budding thespians in creating their own production. The show features fairy tale classics with improv storytelling techniques.

“Udderfest is a chance to endorse theatre in the community and that includes running the youth camp,” said the Udderfest co-chair Lyle McNish. “It’s another chance to do locally written and created work.”

McNish also directs the “What Is” performance, which combines two scripted pieces by resident playwrights, Chris Armstrong and Rudy Kelly.

“It’s inspired by movement, storytelling and interactiveness with the audience. It’s a romantic comedy with a twist,” he said.

The show will investigate the meaning of love using improv, song, monologues and a game show.

The improv team, Hook, Line and Snicker, who deliver laughter once a month to audiences, will appear twice at Udderfest with a little special sauce from Udderfest founder David Smook and improv legend Jeff Bill on Friday, August 5.

The final show on Saturday will see Fringe actor, improv artist and radio host Lucas Anders face off against The Northern View’s Shannon Lough in the “Celebrity Media” round of War of the Wits, a comedic debate show. After the media round six contestants will deck it out, as the audience chooses which ridiculous argument trumps the other.

Udderfest performances all take place at the Tom Rooney Playhouse starting August 3 until August 6. Tickets are available at Homework in Cow Bay or at the door.