15th annual festival celebrates New Brunswick’s emerging and established playwrights.
NotaBle Acts Theatre Company is gearing up for the 15th edition of its summer theatre festival, showcasing emerging and established New Brunswick theatre artists. This year’s festival includes ten plays and three readings of new New Brunswick scripts received through the festival’s annual playwriting competition.
This year’s competition drew a record number of entries, spanning one-act plays, ten-minute plays and site-specific work.
“I seem to keep saying this every year, but the quality of the plays keeps getting better and better,” said NotaBle Acts’ Artistic Director, Len Falkenstein. “The jury had a very tough time with some of their decisions. We were also delighted that we had a diverse group of plays from across the province, and that we ended up choosing a number of scripts by new writers who hadn’t entered the contest before.”
This year’s festival includes the mainstage production, A Record of Us, created by Lisa Anne Ross and Lesandra Dodson and performed by members of Solo Chicken Productions’ the coop, who have been developing and rehearsing the work over the past year. This year’s lineup also includes one-act plays by Jake Martin and Alex Donovan that will be staged at Memorial Hall on the UNB campus, along with a series of free lunchtime performances and site-specific work that will take place outdoors in downtown Fredericton.
The 2016 NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival will also include readings of new plays in development, with two events planned for this year’s festival, including work by this year’s artist in residence, Erica Kopyto.
“Erica is a really terrific dramaturg and playmaker,” said Falkenstein. “She’s worked largely with Nightwood Theatre in Toronto, among other companies. I met her when she was the dramaturg for Playwrights’ Week at the Ottawa Little Theatre last year when I was there with my play Lac/Athabasca. From her interactions with me and the other writers I could tell she’d be a perfect fit for NB Acts—smart, very talented, very personable, and bursting with energy.”
In recent year’s organizers have begun reaching out to students from grades 1-12 as a way to further their own programming and encourage students to try their hand at writing a play of their own.
“There have been some challenges,” said Falkenstein, “but we’ve also had some great successes, such as staging a couple of plays by Fredericton high school student Kira Smith, one of which has been picked up by Theatre New Brunswick as their touring Young Company play for the coming season.”
When asked how NotaBle Acts’ role within the province’s theatre community may have changed over the festival’s previous fourteen years, Falkenstein notes how the festival has acted as a launch pad for many artists working in New Brunswick theatre today and continues to foster future generation playwrights.
“When NB Acts started, the idea of a New Brunswick play, something written by someone from the province or set here, was a novelty, and we were pretty much the only English-language company in the province doing new work from here on anything other than an occasional basis,” he said. “Now there are many other companies in the province and especially in Fredericton doing new local work. I’d like to think that we were part of that, that we blazed a trail that spun off other things, and I’d say in some cases we were directly responsible for bringing people together who have continued to work together and create new companies and projects. While we’re no longer the only ones doing new work, we’re still the only company that does only new work in the form of a big annual festival where artists from across the province come together, get mentored by influential professional guest artists from across the country, and make new connections and continue to go off to create other beautiful new things.”
NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival will take place July 19-30, 2016 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. For full information on this year’s plays, schedule of events and ticket information, please visit www.nbacts.com