Summerland students will get to experience the Good Will Shakespeare Festival this year, but in an abbreviated form.
Instead of the standard four-day festival, it will be held for one day at the Summerland Middle School, one day at Summerland Secondary School and one day in Vernon.
Linda Beaven, co-founder and organizer of the festival, said the abridged festival came about because of the ongoing teachers’ job action. Teachers had earlier voted to withdraw extracurricular activities.
The festival, which included evening and weekend sessions, was affected as a result.
Early this month, festival organizers announced they would cancel the festival for this year.
Later, after meeting with Richa Thorpe, a teacher at Summerland Middle School, they chose to bring the festival back as a one-day event, during regular school hours, in the three schools.
“It’s not the same, but it’s enough to keep the kids going,” Beaven said. “This is better than nothing. It’s making lemonade out of lemons.”
The festival, which was formed a dozen years ago, brought close to 400 students from around British Columbia to Summerland for a four-day theatre festival.
The subjects covered included theatre, art, television and video, voice, writing, improvisation, costume design, set design, acting, makeup and directing.
Out-of-town students were billeted during the festival.
Summerland businesses also supported the event with financial support and donations of supplies.
Beaven said she wants to see the festival return in its original form once the dispute between the province and the teachers is resolved.
“I see such value in the festival,” she said, “but we may have to try to organize it so it is not a school event.”
This year the festival will be held on May 9 at Summerland Middle School, May 10 at Summerland Secondary School and May 11 in Vernon.