David King and Nicola Cavendish.
David King and Nicola Cavendish.

After announcing her retirement from the stage following a production of Marion Bridge in 2018, Nicola Cavendish will return for a live play reading of Vancouver playwright David King’s Overdale.

Overdale is one of the first performances to come out of Presentation House’s Creative Hub Co-op and is presented as part of the initiative by Touchstone Theatre in association with Off The Page.

With just three performances on September 12 and 13 at North Vancouver’s Presentation House, Cavendish says Overdale was written when she asked King to write something for them to do together because they were “getting old fast”. She goes onto say she is “overjoyed” to work with King, whom she met and fell in love with at age 26 at the Banff Playwrights Colony. “Now I am 67 and love him even more,” she says.

Overdale tells the story of Jill and Ben, who meet on a BC Ferry and are surprised to discover that they grew up in the same area of Winnipeg, among many of the same people. Reminiscing about the time in their lives when they seemed to always just miss meeting, they imagine the alternate paths their lives could have taken had they met.

“I’ve been a big fan of Nicola, David and Roy Surette’s work for many years and am personally honoured to have such a strong creative team involved in this first project,” says Presentation House artistic director Kim Selody.

To ensure the safety of both audiences and Creative Hub participants, Presentation House staff spent the summer ensuring its operations would meet or exceed COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Precautions include resets to traffic flow, the implementation of physical safety measures, and recent live and live-streamed ‘test-kitchen’ performances to work out any unforeseen issues before fully opening to the public.

“We’ve literally removed seats to give our guests lots of space to manoeuvre within the seating area,” says Selody. “Our reconfigurable, flexible seating is perfect for COVID-19 physical distancing requirements. We’ve adjusted our seating plan to allow two metres between single, double or three-seat bookings. And there’s one row reserved specifically for social bubble bookings of four or more, safely apart from other patrons.”

Overdale plays Presentation House Theatre with three in-person performances on September 12 and 13 and a live-stream option for the September 13 matinee. Visit phtheatre.org for tickets and information.