Okotoks recently hosted the Foothills Regional One Act Plays Festival.

Each year, the Alberta Drama Festival Association holds one-act play festivals across 10 zones.

Ed Sands of the Dewdney Players, who acted as Producer for the festival along with Debbie Sands and Jane Platt, says the Foothills Zone covers a pretty wide area.

“We’re the donut around Calgary, so Calgary is its own zone, and we’re Airdrie, Cochrane, Canmore, Okotoks, High River, Strathmore.”

This is Okotoks’ seventh time hosting the festival, with the Foothills festival having come to town in 2022, 2017, 2014, 2011, 2008, and 2007.

This year’s festival saw 11 plays in total, four from the Strathmore Theatre Players Guild, three from the Dewdney Players of Okotoks, two from the Windmill Theatre Players out of High River, one from Canmore’s Pinetree Players, and one from MacDaDa Theatre of Okotoks.

The festival was held across three sessions on March 22 and 23.

Adjudicating the festival was Haysam Kadri, longtime actor and director, and Artistic Director of Alberta Theatre Projects.

Sands says the festival is not only a great showcase of talent from across the region but also a great learning experience.

“Each session has three or four plays in it, then at the end of the four plays the adjudicator gives a high-level rundown to the audience as to things he liked, and then we all split off and have a 15-minute private adjudication where he gives us tips and hints as to what we can do to improve the performance, how we can change things with production, what to keep and what to think about amending. It’s always a very, very good learning experience.”

Following the final session, Kadri named winners across several categories.

The Dewdney Player’s The Demon was awarded Outstanding Technical Merit, and Sand, who directed the play, thinks he has an idea why that was.

“I like to think it was because of lighting and sound effects and the reverb effects when the demon scraped the stage, but I think Haysam was most impressed with the fact that there were four or five of us with lots and lots of blood on us, and nobody got a drop of blood on this couch and two gleaming white suede chairs, I think he was quite impressed we were able to do that.”

MacDaDa Theatre’s CHUG was awarded Outstanding Production, meaning it will move on to the provincial One Act Play Festival in May.

It’s the third Outstanding Production win for director Bruce MacDonald, who also won Outstanding Performance for his third time.

David Hall of the Dewdney Players for Outstanding Director for Mother Figure, which was the runner-up for Outstanding Production. 

The Dewdney Players are now gearing up for their next major production, Hansel and Gretel, which is set to run from April 26 to May 11.