Monday 31 October 2016

October Ferries to Gabriola a Smash Hit!

Drew Staniland, Kathy McIntyre, David Botten
What a thrill to see the premiere of my radio play, October Ferries to Gabriola, at Surf Lodge where Malcolm and Margerie Lowry stayed in 1946.
The play was first performed as a staged reading at The Roxy Theatre in 2009, The Poetry Gabriola Festival in 2010 at Dragon’s Lodge, and the 2013 Islands Study Conference at The Haven, all on Gabriola. 

I was thrilled to have the radio play performed this year for the 70th Anniversary Celebration of Malcolm Lowry’s 1946 visit to Gabriola. Drew Staniland as Malcolm Lowry, joined the cast of Twilight Radio Theatre’s Kathy McIntyre, Chris Jans, Tina Jones and David Botten.

Tina Jones, Chris Jans, Drew Staniland, Kathy McIntyre, David Botten
The Surf dining-room was packed both nights. White tablecloths and sparkling glasses added to the festive glow. The audience loved every minute of it. Dinner guests discussed the Lowry story. Did the Lowrys dine in that very room where the play was performed? In 1946 the Surf was Anderson Lodge and it was smaller. Guests discussed possibilities and I’m going to try to find the answers. Is the current dining room an addition? Another topic of discussion was the fact that October Ferry to Gabriola, the novel, was published posthumously, unlike Lowry’s iconic Under the Volcano, which he himself rewrote several times. 

Academics from UBC joked that coming to Gabriola was a true Lowry experience. Due to the three-day power outage, they couldn’t make it the first night, and had to stay in Nanaimo! In spite of the outage beforehand, the anniversary event was a huge success. One day built upon the next.

The first day featured Lowry expert Sherrill Grace, PhD, Malcolm Lowry Scholar: “My October Ferry to Gabriola and Other Journeys with Lowry”.

My play followed on October 2 and 3. Then on October 4th, our library showed the documentary, Volcano - an inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry, hosted by Drew Staniland.

On October 5th, an original video made that very week by Wendy and Richard Strachan ran continuously in the library. This was an interview with Gloria Levi, one of Lowry’s neighbours at Dollarton in the fifties. On the 6th was the unveiling of the historic plaque on the outside of the ferry terminal, on the Nanaimo side. Later that day there was a screening of Under the Volcano – based on Lowry’s iconic novel. Hosted by Wendy Strachan.

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