Kelowna's Bumbershoot leaves children’s theatre behind; looks to expand into film - InfoNews

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Kelowna's Bumbershoot leaves children’s theatre behind; looks to expand into film

Dale Acott is the new president of the Bumbershoot Theatre and Film Society.
Image Credit: Theatre Kelowna Society
February 21, 2019 - 12:45 PM

KELOWNA - Bumbershoot Children’s Society was saved from closure by a new board that’s trying to recreate it as an umbrella group for theatre and film productions in Kelowna.

The society entertained children and worked in schools for almost a decade before ceasing production last year.

Dale Acott is the new president of a rebranded Bumbershoot Theatre and Film Society that is still looking for board members and one-act scripts that will most likely move away from the children’s productions of the past.

“I spent three or four months trying to find people that were interested in keeping a children’s theatre going but I couldn’t find people and we didn’t have anybody that would be an artistic director,” Acott told iNFOnews.ca.

Instead, the society is taking a somewhat novel approach with plans to produce one-act plays – suitable for all ages - in a theatre setting then rewriting those scripts for film as a way of training actors to transition into film acting.

Once up and running, Acott also sees Bumbershoot as an organization that can help support local dramatic initiatives.

“There are other people that are starting up a theatre group, but because we’re a society, we would like to use it as an umbrella organization so other people can get involved and use the resources of being part of a society,” he said.

It’s harder for individuals to get funding than a company, so in order to get the rights to put on a play you have to be a company. Bumbershoot can help with that.

Bumbershoot was started in 2009 by Tracy Ross who went on to serve as artistic director and turned it into a professional society. It received grants from the City of Kelowna for a number of years before qualifying for core funding of $16,000 a year in 2016 and 2017.

But after Ross left Bumbershoot to work on her masters degree at UBC Okanagan, productions stopped and the society was on the brink of collapsing. It sold off all its assets last year.

Acott heard about the impending shut down at a Theatre Kelowna Society board meeting and was joined by fellow Theatre Kelowna board members Wayne Bridges and Tate Adrian in getting elected to the Bumbershoot board in February 2018 and preventing its demise.

They were joined by Jason Woodford whose background is in film. Together they came up with the concept of producing plays and turning them into films. Since then, Acott has learned of other efforts to do similar work in other cities.

Right now, Bumbershoot has four active directors. Acott wants to bring the board of directors up to seven active directors, although it could contain as many as 13.

At the same time, they’re looking for original scripts for one-act plays of about 45 minutes. Acott does have a number of original scripts but they’re more of a 10-minute length, which don’t really fit the concept they’re planning to work with.

Once a suitable script is secured, he estimates it will take four to six months to mount the play and complete the film.

The society does have some money in the bank so has the resources to launch such a project, Acott said. They are also eligible for some city grants but not to the level Bumbershoot had achieved in 2016-17 because they’re no longer a professional organization. Acott expects it will take at least three years to regain that status.

Acott is a member at large on the Theatre Kelowna Society board where he focuses more on the administration side of things.

“Actors and administration is like oil and water,” he said. “I’ve been on stage. I worked back stage but my main role as a board member is to take care of membership and try to keep the governance part happening. Most of the people on the board don’t know how to, or don’t want to, deal with the governance part.”

The old Bumbershoot website has been shut down so, anyone interested in getting involved can do so by email at bumbershoot2018tfs@gmail.com or attend the annual general meeting on March 19 at 6:00 p.m. in the Theatre Kelowna Society set shop.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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