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Elaine Schuller

Community Theatre Festival 2010

World Theatre Day celebration - Victoria Playhouse - organized & sponsored by ACT

Sunday, April 07, 2013

2013 Community Theatre Festival

A rich variety of original creativity—A fine success!

  The theatre of the Carrefour de l’Isle-Saint-Jean was a very lively place on Saturday afternoon, April 6th, 2013.  Several hundred people—some for the whole afternoon, others who dropped in for an hour of two—enjoyed a smorgasbord of six short plays in celebration of World Theatre Day.  The variety was so rich, in both the style of play and nature of the performing group ... small children and seasoned elders ... cultural pageant to biting satire.  A wonderful thing: five of the six pieces were original—developed by the groups themselves.
  For the first time we had a play in French, and it was about the French language.  In their home theatre, students of the dramatic arts program of L’école François-Buote staged “Le français—c’est moi.”  It was a hoot: each character claiming to be the representative of La Francophonie ... and what a potpourri of characters—ranging from snooty Parisians to down-home, full-of-bonhomie Island farm-boy.  Adjudicator Monique Lafontaine commended the amusingly iconic portrayals. Comic it was, yes, but with the good message about the breadth and strength of French language coursing through cultures around the world as well as our own Island community.
  The Bonshaw Young Players are a children’s group (ages 7 to 14) who work with Ruth Lacey.  “The Mystery Men - the Mystery of Joe Hardy” was scripted by youngsters Benaiah Johnson and Qwyn Scurr.  The mystery was a series of thefts from the Hardy’s own house, which connected with the presumed, but unverified, death of Joe himself in a plane crash in the Amazon ... and a trap caught the surprising criminal.  The audience was delighted with the comic touches, especially the car which alternately backed up and then raced forward across the front of the audience.  All was eventually revealed in fine irony as super-sleuth Joe was led off to jail.
  Colour would be the word which would best tell you about “Mi’kmaq Legends”.  The Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors were dressed in shiny bright regalia, and the mood was set by a campfire and drum.  The presentation included a haunting song, dancing, and effective flashing of lights.  It was great to see a range of ages working together—adults, youth and small children.  Adjudicator Wade Lynch pointed out how good stories, with good lessons-for-life, cross cultural boundaries: ‘The legend of Little Scar Face’ and ‘The Ugly Duckling’ aren’t very far apart.
  ACT (a community theatre) brought back, from its ‘fairy tale’ show last month at The Guild, “Mirror Mirror”.  The three sexy-looking women were, in a way, outclassed by the Mirror—the man in the fittingly termed ‘vanity’ set-piece who stepped out for his bow to reveal Superman underwear!  An impressive achievement was the way two actors portrayed a succession of very different princes.  There was lots of laughter in this satiric refashioning of the Sleeping Beauty tale.
  “Folding Tables”—A Play a Week’s portrayal of a dysfunctional life-coaching seminar—could well have been called ‘Turning the Tables’.  Over the course of 25 minutes the roles of coach and participant gradually reversed in hilarious fashion.  The wonderfully effective silences between the inept facilitator (Lennie MacPherson) and his straight-faced and taciturn victim probably outweighed the amount of dialogue.  Body gestures and facial expressions worked without words, and the audience was repeatedly in stitches.  No one who watched will ever behave the same at any future self-improvement workshop they might attend!
  The final play was “My Buddy Mark” by the duo All the World’s a Stage.  It was a quasi-improv-style portrayal of a rehearsal of itself—as old-pro Bill McFadden provided commentary and led his buddy Mark McIntosh through a reflection on their past few months of working together and building a friendship.  The audience was bolstered by a strong contingent connected with the Island’s Brain Injury Association, there to see their fellow-member or friend Mark take the stage.  Take it he did, climaxing the afternoon with his singing of “The Impossible Dream”.  The lyrics were so meaningful in this context: emotion surged, and the audience rose to give a standing ovation.
  It was a fitting conclusion to an afternoon of not just engaging entertainment but also exceptional achievement for the participants.  What a great springtime tapping of the creative juices running in Prince Edward Island’s community theatre landscape.
Click on ‘Gallery’ - see the photos

Thursday, March 14, 2013

World Theatre Day and the PEI Community Theatre Festival

Saturday afternoon, April 6th, at the Carrefour
Good entertainment!

  The Community Theatre Festival is back, and variety is the spice of its life.  On the afternoon of Saturday, April 6th, the stage of the Carrefour will offer a smorgasbord of half-a-dozen short plays which appeal to virtually all kinds of audience.
  The Festival will be PEI’s way of marking the 53rd annual celebration of World Theatre Day—the day when thespians all around the globe show their respect for the vital force which live performance has been in virtually all societies stretching down through the centuries.  The Day’s message this year—from Dario Fo, the Italian playwright who won the 1997 Nobel prize for literature—refers to how provocative an influence the theatre has often been; it quotes a reactionary church prelate who 300 years ago lamented: “It is therefore urgent to rid our cities of theatre makers, as we do with unwanted souls”!
  The theatre makers of this year’s Festival are hardly unwanted souls; indeed, they represent a wonderfully varied cross-section of our PEI community.  For the first time there’ll be a play in (and about) the French language, developed and presented by the dramatic arts students of L’école François-Buote.  Children and young adults will have a strong presence in the Bonshaw Young Players, in a play by ACT (a community theatre), and in a unique production by the Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors which dramatically presents legendary stories through lyrical narration, music and dance.  Sketch 22 veterans Lennie MacPherson and Graham Putnam will take the audience to an ill-prepared and oddly mixed-up life-coaching symposium.  Another play, done in a modified improv style, will feature a friendship between seasoned pro Bill McFadden and Mark MacIntosh who has coped with a brain injury for most of his life.
  Five out of the six plays are original: they have been developed from scratch by the people who will perform them—a fine example of the creative juices flowing in community theatre on PEI.
  The Festival is an amateur-theatre happening for non-profit, for-the-fun-of-it groups.  It became a regular thing in the early 2000s.  There was a brief hiatus, and then it came back with grand success in the past three years.  It was standing-room-only at the Victoria Playhouse in 2010, and in the past two years it brought hundreds of people to the Carrefour for an all-afternoon session of plays topped up with yummy refreshments.
  For theatre-goers it can be a full afternoon or a drop-in-for-awhile sort of thing.  Each group puts on a short play, a half-hour or less, and there’s a good mix of types—comedy, edgy drama, cultural treat, mystery and such.
  The irrepressible Wade Lynch and his arts-savvy colleague Monique Lafontaine (for the play in French) will be adjudicators, giving helpful tips to each play-presenting group.
  The Community Theatre Festival is a showcase for true community theatre—a chance for scores of actors and off-stage production volunteers to perform beyond their usual home audience, to rub shoulders with and learn from one another and get constructive feedback.  For the audience it’s a bargain—pay-what-you-will admission to help defray costs—and good-fun entertainment.
  The Carrefour’s doors open at 12:30 and the plays begin at 1:00 and run till about 5:00 o’clock, following this schedule (subject to modification):
Ecole François-Buote ... Bonshaw Young Players ... Mi’kmaq Confederacy ...
ACT (a community theatre) ... A Play a Week ... All the World’s a Stage.
  There’ll be a 20-minute break between plays to provide for adjudication and set-up of the next play ... and also to give the audience a chance to sample the refreshments.
For information contact Rob Thomson—robthomson@pei.sympatico.ca

Posted by RobAdmin on 03/14 at 06:01 PM
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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

2013 PEI Community Theatre Festival

Now’s the time to be thinking about your play!

PLAYS WANTED

  PEl’s Community Theatre Festival is putting the call out for plays for April 6th, 2013.  Because of UNESCO World Theatre Day landing on the Easter weekend, the Festival is moving to the following Saturday, April 6th.
  The invitation is for short plays and/or excerpts with a 40-minute maximum running time.  All age groups are encouraged; there are usually seniors groups, children and young people, university students, and community groups participating.
  This is a showcase for true community theatre—a chance to rub shoulders with other amateur actors and volunteers and to perform beyond the usual home audience.  This is for any group, young or old, large or small doing amateur theatre (not-for-profit, for the fun of it).
  Constructive feedback will be offered after each performance by Adjudicator Wade Lynch and there will be awards to recognize achievement.  During rehearsal time each group is offered directorial and production advice by a visiting mentor if desired.
  Each participating group is responsible for all aspects of its play: rights, costumes, props, light/sound design, special effects, transportation, etc.  A technician will be available for the technical rehearsal early on the day of performance for each player-group to make specific plans.  There is no charge for taking part.
  The Festival Committee, with the support of ACT (a community theatre), invites those interested to make contact for further information or to express intent.  The contacts are: Ruth Lacey - rlacey688@gmail.com, 675-4282 or Kate Martin - eslkatie@yahoo.ca, 892-4384.
Participation needs to be confirmed by January 15th.

Posted by RobAdmin on 12/04 at 10:11 AM
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Monday, March 29, 2010

World Theatre Day on PEI - What a Festival!

  Saturday, March 27th—World Theatre Day ... and did PEI ever have a good celebration of it!  At the Playhouse in Victoria-by-the-Sea, it was standing-room-only—literally.  Well, almost literally: actually people had to sit on the floor in the aisles.  Besides the 30 or so players and back-stagers, 175 people packed the cozy theatre.  They had a fine time.
  First the Bonshaw Young Players—a cast of sixteen youngsters including cats and a parrot!—presented “Heir Repair”, written and directed and narrated by 16-year-old Rachel Horrocks.  It wasn’t just cute—it was good ... and the players were rewarded with a lot of audience chuckles and adjudicator praise.
  With “The Worker” by Walter Wykes, Sheep for Wheat Productions startled the house.  There was laughter at some of the delightful absurdities ... but dark-theme moments of man/woman relationship and corporate wickedness had people holding their breath.  Ben Rayner and Rebecca Ford delivered superb acting.
  Relief from that tension came with the belly-laughs the Harbourfront Theatre Company gave us with their half-hour segment of Norm Foster’s “Opening Night”.  Imagine a sort of triptych spread across the stage: in the centre the wonderfully bad acting of a silly play; on one side the frustrated director and his carping wife; on the other side as audience, a would-be sophisticate and her bored paint-store-manager husband—the often double-entendre repartee hopped back-and-forth.
  Between the mini-shows adjudicator Wade Lynch interacted with the actors and their directors, and even the audience, to give compliments and helpful observations.  He presented an award to each group.  At the second break the audience trouped out into the lobby for refreshments (highlight: decadent cinnamon rolls) served up by the Bonshaw Women’s Institute.
  ACT (a community theatre) can feel very pleased and proud for having made this Festival night happen.
  World Theatre Day has been celebrated in plays, workshops and happenings around the globe for 49 years now.  A scan of the Web shows 2010 events in places like Vancouver, Ghana, Indonesia, New York, Mexico, Argentina, India, Mongolia ... and now, in Victoria-by-the-Sea, Prince Edward Island.  This year’s official WTD message came from Dame Judi Dench; among other things she said this:
“Theatre has the ability to make us smile, to make us cry, but should also make us think and reflect.  All it needs is a space and an audience.”  We certainly had all those things in the 2010 PEI Community Theatre Festival.
  To see photos, click on Gallery (top-right of this page) and choose ‘Productions ... Community Theatre Festival’

Posted by RobAdmin on 03/29 at 09:59 AM
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Community Theatre Festival a Success!!

There was a wonderfully enthusistic, turn-away crowd in Victoria last night for PEI’s Community Theatre Festival and they weren’t disappointed. The three shows on the bill had something for everyone. Bravo. What a treat to see such a wide selection of ages participating in and/or attending the performances. Congatulations to everyone involved in the Festival, on stage and off. I am looking forward to next year!!!!

- Gerry

Posted by webmaster on 03/28 at 12:19 PM
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Saturday, March 06, 2010

PEI COMMUNITY THEATRE FESTIVAL

ACT is sponsoring the PEI Community Theatre Festival - on World Theatre Day, 2010

  People around the world will be celebrating UNESCO’s World Theatre Day on March 27th, and here on the Island that Saturday evening is the occasion for the PEI Community Theatre Festival.  The place is the Playhouse in Victoria, and the curtain goes up at 7:00 pm.

  It’s an evening of short plays presented by some of the Island’s most dynamic amateur theatre groups.  This is a showcase for true community theatre—a time when for-the-fun-of-it actors and back-stage production crew get to perform beyond their usual home audience, to rub shoulders and learn from one another and get constructive feedback.
  Popular theatre-man Wade Lynch will be the adjudicator, providing observations and tips.  The participants will have the opportunity to socialize and discuss their experiences.  Each acting group will go home with a Community Theatre Festival award.

  The Festival play-bill has comedy in common, but the participating groups and their stage-works are delightfully varied.

• Sheep for Wheat Productions has a ‘dark comedy’ with an absurdist touch—“The Worker” by Walter Wykes.  A young woman fashions a pretend child to cope with her loneliness; her husband is furious, and perhaps with good reason—what does this mean for his life ... literally?!  The show offers the bonuses of original music and a recreation of the painting which inspired the writing of the play.  With their playful name from a card-trading board game, Sheep for Wheat is a fresh and enthusiastic group—known for their all-participant collaborative approach in bringing to life the provocative drama of the mid-20th century, such as Harold Pinter’s “The Dumb Waiter” and Eugene Ionesco’s “The Lesson”.

• The Bonshaw Young Players have been honing their skills in a fun way with Ruth Lacey for four years now—learning Improv, doing workshops with professional actors, writing, directing, and presenting their own material.  Their ages range from 5 to 16; interestingly, half of them are home-schooled.  Their play is “Heir Repair”, written and directed by one of their members, Rachel Horrocks.  It entangles an elderly spinster in a series of hilarious misunderstandings.

• The Harbourfront Theatre Company offers a half-hour excerpt from a typical Norm Foster comedy, “Opening Night”.  How do you celebrate the 25th anniversary of a now-stale marriage? ... by going to the theatre, of course!  Here’s a play-within-a-play, and it’s a toss-up as to which one causes more laughter.  Islanders know this troupe from their days as the Jubilee Players, which they became on their move from Kensington.  They have almost two decades of comedy experience.

  This is an evening of live, and lively, theatre.  The public is welcome for the fun of the performances and for refreshments served up by the Bonshaw Women’s Institute.  Admission (to somewhat defray the costs) is by donation.

  The Community Theatre Festival—previously a successful project of Theatre PEI—is being mounted this year with the sponsorship and support of ACT (a community theatre).
  The contact for further information is jshields932 @ gmail.com, 675-3672.

Posted by Rob T on 03/06 at 03:25 PM
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

PEI COMMUNITY THEATRE FESTIVAL

March 27 ... For World Theatre Day, an evening of lively comedy

  “The Play’s the thing!”  Drama is as old as civilization ... and it keeps revitalizing itself in every time period, in every culture.  No wonder UNESCO celebrates it annually with World Theatre Day.
  To join in the observation, PEI has its own Community Theatre Festival.  This year it’s Saturday, March 27th.  The place is the Victoria Playhouse, and the curtain goes up at 7:00 pm.
  It’s an evening of short plays or excerpts presented by some of the Island’s most dynamic amateur theatre groups.  This is a showcase for true community theatre—a time when for-the-fun-of-it actors and back-stage production crew get to perform beyond their usual home audience, to rub shoulders and learn from one another and get constructive feedback.
  ACT (a community theatre) is offering a visit by an experienced director to any group who may want some friendly guidance as they prepare their play.  Then on Festival night a professional theatre adjudicator will provide observations and tips, and the participants will have the opportunity to socialize and discuss their experiences.  Each group will go home with a Community Theatre Festival award.
  The Festival play-bill:
• The Bonshaw Players present “Heir Repair”, written and directed by Rachel Horrocks—An elderly spinster gets entangled in hilarious misunderstandings.
• Sheep for Wheat has a ‘dark comedy’, “The Worker” by Walter Wykes—A young woman fashions a fake child to cope with her loneliness; her husband is furious, and perhaps with good reason—the child’s existence may put him in grave danger.
• The Tignish Drama Club is preparing “Grandpa’s Twin Sister”, a good-old-standby farce.
• The Jubilee Players offer a typical Norm Foster comedy, “Opening Night”—How do you treat a stale marriage? ... by going to the theatre, of course!
  It’s an evening of live—and lively—comedy.
  The public is welcome to join the audience for the fun of the performances and refreshments.  Admission is by donation.
  The Community Theatre Festival—previously a successful project of Theatre PEI—is being mounted this year by an organizing committee of community-theatre enthusiasts with the support of ACT (a community theatre).  The contact for further information is jshields932 @ gmail.com

Posted by Rob T on 02/11 at 04:40 PM
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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Theatre Festival Deadline

Hi folks,
  I’ve just heard from Jennifer Shields, who is chairing the committee that is getting the theatre festival resurrected and rolling for this year.
  She wanted me to let everyone know that the deadline for submissions for the festival has been extended to February 7th.
  If you are interested in entering a show into the festival Jennifer will need the following information by that deadline;

-name of the group
-title of their submission and a few sentences of a description
-approximate running time
-contact email and phone number
-the fee (will be 50$ or less)(I’ll confirm the exact amount for you guys within the week)

You can contact Jennifer by email at jennifer932@gmail.com

This is going to be a terrific festival, and I’m so looking forward to seeing all of our Island’s wonderful talent.

Richard Haines
ACT President

Posted by RH_Admin on 02/02 at 12:16 PM
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

COMMUNITY THEATRE FESTIVAL

  The PEI Community Theatre Festival is back.  It lapsed with the demise of Theatre PEI ... but now ACT (a community theatre) has spear-headed its revival.
  It is a series of several evenings in late March 2010 when short plays get presented in several locations by about a dozen of the Island’s amateur theatre groups.  The conclusion is a gala awards evening.  In celebration of UNESCO’s World Theatre Day, it is a showcase for true community theatre—a chance for scores of amateur actors and off-stage production volunteers to perform beyond their usual home audience, to rub shoulders with and learn from one another and get constructive feedback.
Dates: March 25th to 28th, 2010
Venues: three or four small theatres or community halls in different parts of the Island
Who should participate: any group—big or small, young or old—which does theatre in an amateur (not-for-profit, for-the-fun-of-it) way
What kind of show: short (45 minutes maximum) ... comedy, serious drama, avant-garde, whatever.  There’s no pre-screening to assess appropriateness, although a group should be conscious of potential offensiveness. (Even so, it may be possible to have a special performance evening for more ‘mature’ or ‘cutting-edge’ plays).  Choice of play could be affected by technical limitations of the performance space and the limited set-up time between plays.
Programming: arrangement depends on numbers and nature of the plays ... but each evening will probably have 3 plays, with a 20-minute set-up gap between plays.
A group is responsible for all aspects of its play—rights, costumes, props, light/sound design, special effects, transportation, etc.  A technician will be provided for each evening, with whom the player-group can make specific plans.  It is possible that workshops or mentoring may be offered if groups feel they need such support as they prepare.
Adjudication: an experienced off-Island professional will give constructive feedback ... and there will be awards for such categories as overall production, lead and supporting actors, costuming, set, and audience choice.
Wrap-up Gala: Sunday evening - presentation of awards, entertainment, refreshments
Finances: mostly covered by sponsors and program advertisers + ticket sales ... but it is necessary to have each group contribute an entry fee (probably $50)
Timelines: expression of intent before Christmas ... confirmation by the end of January
Organization: by the Festival Committee—9 community-theatre enthusiasts with the sponsorship and support of ACT (a community theatre)
Contact: Jennifer Shields jshields932 @ gmail.com

Posted by Rob T on 10/15 at 09:08 PM
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