New theatre festival aims to foster LGBTQ2+ talent and visibility

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The Plain Site Theatre Festival takes place this week at St. Thomas University. 

Theatre St. Thomas have partnered with Solo Chicken Productions to create something new and exciting for the city’s theatre community.  The Plain Site Theatre Festival aims to bring LGBTQ2+ visibility front and center by fostering the development of LGBTQ2+ playwrights, performers and directors. Curated by STU Alum and local theatre artist Alex Rioux, PSTF runs this week offering workshops, panel discussions and staged readings with the aim of helping emerging LGBTQ2+ artists to develop, craft and share their work.

“It all started back last fall when I was nearing the end of my time with the Calithumpians,” said Rioux. “I noticed there weren’t a lot of opportunities for LGBTQ2+ students to play roles that reflected their identities in the material that was being presented, and that students would receive some hostility about their gender identity when auditioning. For example, a trans masculine person would be asked to read for women’s roles frequently. 

“I decided to start this festival to provide a platform and space for queer students to feel supported and give these students who have been underrepresented a chance to work closely together.”

Fostering emerging LGBTQ2+ talent and carving out space for the stories and voices of those artists is at the heart of this festival.

“In my time at STU I noticed there are so many amazing LGBTQ2+ artists hiding in plain sight, and I wanted to allow those creatives to shine and be given something that really speaks to them and their experiences.”

Following a call for submissions that went out during the summer, Rioux eventually selected two plays written by current St. Thomas University students that will receive professional dramaturgy by NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival’s 2019 artist in residence Rob Kempson. 

“This is a building year so we’re focusing mainly on workshoping and preparing for next year,” said Rioux. “We have two wonderful shows by two STU students and we’re getting them professional dramaturgy and workshopping the pieces. On top of this we’re offering a writing workshop, and panel as part of the festival.”

These works will be workshopped with LGBTQ2+ artists and given a final performance in the form of a staged reading on October 4 at the Ted Daigle Theatre. With an eye to making this festival a more permanent fixture within the city’s theatre scene, the festival will also be offering a creation workshop designed to foster future festival artists, as well as hosting a public panel about the importance of providing platforms to queer artists. 

Upcoming Events:

Play Development/Workshops | Oct. 3-4

Director Alex Rioux will workshop the festival scripts with a cast of STU performers and provide live feedback to the festival playwrights. 7-10 p.m.| Ted Daigle Theatre | Closed to the public

Panel Discussion: Providing Platforms for LGBTQ2+ Artists | Oct. 4

Moderated by Alex Rioux, this panel will consist of participants of the Plain Site Theatre Festival and local LGBTQ+ artists to discuss the importance of providing opportunities and platforms to aspiring queer artists to present their stories. 7-8 p.m. | Ted Daigle Theatre | Pay What You Can

Staged Readings | Oct. 4

Directed by Alex Rioux, a cast of LGBTQ2+ performers will deliver a staged reading of How the Night Sky Looks 80km Away from Civilization by Noah Deas and Lesbians: A Review by Charlotte Simmons. 8:15 – 9:00 p.m. | Ted Daigle Theatre | $5/STU Students $7/Everyone Else

Workshop: Crafting Queer Narrative 

Alex Rioux and McKenna Boekner lead a discussion and workshop for aspiring LGBTQ2+ creators on how to merge their queer experiences with their creative processes. This workshop will give aspiring artists the tools to go forward and create new and innovative work that reflects their identity and experiences. 10-11:30 a.m. | Free | Please email alexander.rioux94@gmail.com to sign up.  (Space is limited.)

Plain Site Theatre Festival | October 2-5 | St. Thomas University

Related: NotaBle Acts presents the first of several queer theatre productions coming to New Brunswick stages this season.

 

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