Next Folding Theatre Company Announce New Season
Fredericton’s Next Folding Theatre Company has built its reputation by challenging convention and working outside the parameters of conventional theatre. Each new season sees the company mixing traditional theatre practice with a healthy dose of experimentation, pushing themselves willfully into the unknown.
“We’re fiercely independent as well as fiercely empathetic in terms of the theatre community,” said Ryan Griffith, the company’s Artistic Director. “We’re not a bunch of rebels, but we do want to stay ourselves.”
Today the company announced their new season of theatre. In keeping with the format they’ve established in recent years, this season will once again highlight the three pillars that for many, have grown to define and support the company’s identity – live readings of works in development, exciting collaborations and a Main Stage production.
Every aspect of the company’s work is designed to encourage new artistic experiences for audiences and artists alike.
The season begins in November with a new installment in the company’s Live Audio Workshop Series, an evening of readings that showcase both emerging and established Canadian playwrights. The selected works are rehearsed by a cast of actors and then read before a live audience. The evening’s readings are recorded and shared with the playwright, acting as a valuable reference for the play’s continued development.
“This allows playwrights to not only listen back to their work, but to also hear audience reaction,” said Griffith. “A reading is a great experience on its own but a recording serves as a lasting tool of reference. It also acts as a calling card and something they can send to other theatres for consideration. We’re trying to build tools for playwrights through this process.”
February will welcome another installment of the company’s Creative Collaboration series, and the first to be cast from the company’s general auditions. Over the past few years, these events have become a highlight of the city’s annual theatre offerings, based largely on their unique casting, unpredictable nature and high standard of entertainment.
“This show can be anything,” said Griffith. “We have a template that we use to guide the creative process. It goes back to the first year we experimented with this idea, although we have made small adjustments to it here and there over the years because ultimately, new people bring new ideas on how to improve the process. It’s very much a roll of the dice but to me, it always comes up at least double fives, if not double sixes.”
NFTC’s Creative Collaborations play an important role in the broader theatre community, often giving artists their first taste of what it’s like to conceive, write and perform a new work. The process begins by simply bringing artists together. The script and the story evolve out of the rehearsal process. What will happen in February has yet to be written and that’s a big part of why the company continues to include these events each season. Challenge fuels creativity.
“These collaborations give people the opportunity to be involved in a truly meaningful way,” said Griffith. “It’s a great project and that’s why we stick to it. Plus, all the work created is original New Brunswick work.”
According to Griffith, five of out the six Creative Collaborations NFTC have produced where centered around New Brunswick stories as well. The company’s first attempt at exploring this idea told the story of Henry Moon, better known locally as The Lunar Rogue.
This year’s Creative Collaboration will take place at the newly renovated TNB Studio Theatre at 55 Whiting Road.
The company’s Main Stage production this season will be Jordan Stewart’s Back to Zero, a work described by the company as, a detective story for cosmonauts, archaeologists and astrologers. Three disillusioned detectives race against the clock to solve a double homicide in their city, as their own personal lives come into focus and unravel.
NFTC featured Stewart’s work previously as part of their 2013 season, adapting a number of his short stories into the play, Greetings! From Gumdrop Mountain, produced at The Black Box Theatre in February of that year.
“I believe Jordan is one of New Brunswick’s greatest writers ever, with a voice that’s completely unique,” said Griffith.
Outside of these three main productions, the company will also present a series of free workshops hosted by Next Folding veterans Ryan Griffith, Jake Martin and Jean-Michel Cliche, sharing the method they use to guide their collaboration process. And if that’s not enough, the company will also present a reading of Emily Bossé’s Cocaine Plane at Saint John Theatre Company’s BMO Theatre in April. It’s going to be a big year.
“Every season we set the bar a little bit higher,” said Griffith. “It’s going to be risky, but it’s the risk that pushes us.”
Watch for complete season information coming soon to www.nextfolding.ca