On Stage: Plain Site Theatre Festival

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The Plain Site Theatre Festival, Fredericton’s annual celebration of queer voices in theatre takes place November 17-18 at Ted Daigle Auditorium. 

Matt Carter

The Plain Site Theatre Festival is happening this weekend. Now an established home for developing and performing work by queer artists, the 2022 fall edition of the Plain Site Theatre Festival will feature four readings of new work and four mainstage productions all happening at the Ted Daigle Auditorium on the St. Thomas University campus. 

This year’s lineup is another fun blend of touching personal scenes with the sprinkle of more fun abstract shows exploring gender and sexuality,” said festival director Alex Rioux. 

Presented in partnership with Solo Chicken Productions and STU’s own Black Box Productions, the upcoming fourth edition of the festival features plays selected from the many submissions put forward this year.

“Submissions are slowly going up and up, and it’s always exciting to see old names bringing new scripts to the table, and to see new students submitting their work for the first time,” said Rioux. “Our first submission call only saw two scripts get done, so to have a full roster of eight pieces is very exciting.”

St. Thomas University student Brie Sparks is one of this year’s participating playwrights with scripts featured in both the reading and mainstage portions of the festival.  

“I’ve always been a writer and more recently I’ve been doing short screenplays so working with the festival to really hone my skills at longer form theatrical production has been incredible,” said Sparks. “I had to find that balance that you don’t really need in prose of how to get my vision across while leaving enough room for the interpretation of the director and actors.”

Sparks is one of seven playwrights with work featured in this year’s festival. Was That Really Necessary?, their contribution to this year’s mainstage production lineup, takes the form of a dialogue between a mother and their child after a big moment in that child’s journey with their gender where neither party has the right words. The other, Baited: Mondays on Fox, offers a satirical look at one of network television’s biggest queer character tropes. 

“While my first script was something I think I may have written regardless as I was actively going through my gender journey, my second play, Baited, is all thanks to Plain Site Theatre Festival,” said Sparks. “The festival was fantastic motivation to write knowing I had someone who was listening. It was also great motivation to inject some queer comedy and joy into my second piece as my first script was quite heavy.”

Plain Site Theatre Festival runs November 17-18. Full details on all performances and readings can be found on the  festival’s Facebook page

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