NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival’s 2017 lineup is packed with emerging New Brunswick talent.
Fredericton’s annual summer theatre festival has rolled out the lineup for this year’s event which takes place July 25 to August 5, bringing a wealth of theatre performances to venues across the city.
The 16th annual NotaBle Acts Summer Theatre Festival will feature eight plays by emerging New Brunswick playwrights and six readings of new work including the winners of the 2017 Notable Acts Middle and High School playwriting contests. Performances will take place at Unplugged – A Board Game Café, Memorial Hall (UNB), the Black Box Theatre (STU), the Fredericton Public Library, Officer’s Square and the Picaroons Roundhouse.
Since its inception, NotaBle Acts has offered development and dramaturgy to new and emerging playwrights from across the province while also offering a stage to showcase their work. As Fredericton-based actor/playwright Jean-Michel Cliche points out, NotaBle Acts plays an important role in the development of New Brunswick playwrights and the theatre culture that exists within the province.
“It’s great having a deadline to work towards,” said Cliche, whose play Hinter will debut as part of the festival’s Acting Out series. “We all have these ideas that we want to share but don’t always get around to it. Especially for the theatre artists and the storytellers in the province, we have a lot of ideas but don’t necessarily have the avenues to get them out there before an audience. NotaBle Acts gives us the opportunity to make that happen.
“NotaBle Acts is great because it gives the idea that anybody can write for this,” said Cliche. “And there’s such a variety of plays involved in each festival from ten-minute plays and readings to the full one acts, and if your play is accepted for the festival, you get to work with a dramaturg to develop it further.”
This year’s dramaturg and playwright in residence is Hamilton theatre artist Anna Chatterton. Chatterton will be working with each festival playwright as well as offering a free playwriting workshop as part of this year’s programming.
“Not only do we get to stretch our legs as playwrights but we’re also being guided by professionals sharing tools we can use in the future,” said Cliche. “And not only is it a competition and a festival for playwrights, but it also includes new directors, new actors and new designers so it’s a very collaborative festival as well.”
This year’s programming includes three winning plays from the festival’s Middle and High School Playwriting Contest. These winning playwrights will be celebrated as part of the festival’s kickoff party July 25 at Unplugged – A Board Game Café on Queen Street where their work will be read before an audience for the first time.
“NB Acts has always drawn a lot of interest and support from Fredericton and the area’s large student population, both in terms of theatre students and creative writing students,” said organizer Len Falkenstein. “It’s no different this year with probably a majority of the scripts submitted to our playwriting contest coming from this demographic of both current university students and recent graduates, plus those that were submitted to our new Middle and High School playwriting contests.
“An interesting trend I’ve noticed over the years is that many students will get involved with the festival as actors initially and then after a year or two they’ll decide to try their hand at writing a play,” he said. “Many of our best scripts and strongest writers have evolved through that process.”
The festival’s programming is divided between a number of different performances that highlight theatre’s versatile nature. Besides offering a chance to experience theatre in a traditional setting with the Mainstage show and fully produced one act plays, Notable Acts also offer outdoor performances and site-specific plays, giving audiences equal opportunity to experience plays in a non-traditional settings like public parks and libraries with a majority of programming offered free of charge or by donation.
“NotaBle Acts is very much a grassroots company that wants to make theatre accessible to all and break down barriers that might keep people from attending regular shows throughout the year,” said Falkenstein. “So a large part of our programming each year is shows that are free or pay-what-you-will, and that are staged in places that are very accessible – outdoors or in public places downtown. Then at the same time we also stage fully realized professional productions that need to be done in a traditional theatre for which greater costs are involved, and hence are ticketed but still very reasonably priced.”
NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival takes place in Fredericton July 25 – August 5.
For complete festival details including showtimes, play descriptions, venues and performance pricing, visit www.nbacts.com
Grace Notes by Patrick Toner | Hinter by Jean-Michel Cliche | It Happened at a Party by Caroline Coon | Here Be Dragons by Tilly Jackson | Gamma Man by Brandon Hicks | Interview for Two by Alex McAllister | Brainstorm by Gordon Mihan | The Afterlife by Brendan Foley | I Choose Life by Kayley Clark | The Fog by Adrien Beaman | Both Ways by Jeff Lloyd | Switched by Anna Chatterton | The Dealer Always Wins by Dylan Sealy