Peninsula to host speech arts festival next month

White Rock will be the venue for a new arts festival this year.

The first annual Peninsula Speech and Drama Festival – an outgrowth of the Kiwanis Fraser Valley Music Festival – will come to First United Church (15385 Semiahmoo Ave.) on May 13 and 14.

Adjudicator for the sessions – open to solo and group performers of all ages and levels – will be well-known Bard on the Beach artistic director Christopher Gaze.

Festival co-ordinator Lorne Fiedler noted that speech arts classes have run for several years as part of the parent festival, but said they have tended to be overshadowed the festival’s musical focus.

“There are very few opportunities like this in the region,” he said. “We feel there is great potential for this event to grow.”

Partly sponsored by the White Rock Kiwanis Club and the Peninsula Arts Foundation, the event is primarily educational; however, bursaries will be awarded and winners will have an opportunity to compete at the provincial festival, June 5 to 9 in Kamloops.

In 11 years of operation the Kiwanis Fraser Valley International Music Festival has grown to become one of the largest regional events of its kind; last year hosting more than 6,400 students in all disciplines.

In addition to Bard on the Beach, which he founded in 1990, The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School-educated Gaze hosts Vancouver Symphony’s popular Tea and Trumpets series and Christmas concerts, and is also a regular voice performer for cartoon series, commercials and on radio.

The deadline for festival entries is Feb. 25.

For more information, plus syllabus and registration information, visit www.kfv.ca or call 778-868-0426.

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