What’s Next from Theatre St. Thomas?

Category: stage 65

Three new plays are coming to the Black Box Theatre January 31 – February 2.

Matt Carter

Theatre St. Thomas celebrates 25 years in the Black Box Theatre with the production of three new plays written by STU students. All three works will make their debut as part of the new play festival, What’s Next? running January 31 to February 2.

TST president Robbie Lynn came up with the idea for the festival and is producing the event.

“After being elected president of Theatre St. Thomas last spring, one of the first ideas I had was to organize a playwriting festival,” said Lynn. “STU has a tightknit arts community that is open to collaboration. I knew that if I put the call out for play submissions, we would get a strong response. And we did.”

Dr. Robin Whittaker, TST’s artistic producer, believes this season was the perfect time to ask students to participate in a playwriting event.

“After I offered our Advanced Scriptwriting course in the STU English Department in the winter of 2016, we had a groundswell of interest in new play production among students,” said Whittaker. “This gave TST the confidence to put out a call to current STU students and alumni for new 30 minute plays and directors.”

The call for submissions generated 12 new scripts for consideration. A six-person jury furiously debated the best contenders, selected three plays by current students and linked them to three directors.

“While these are three distinct plays, they are all responding to the same prompt: What’s Next? It’s a question I find particularly pertinent to the undergraduate experience, as we make the first steps toward our professional careers,” said Lynn. “It’s also a question of 2018, as the world appears to be increasingly unstable. All of these plays go about answering the question in different ways, but within all of them, I think the audience will be surprised to find some common themes.”

The three plays included in What’s Next? are:

And Above All               
Written by Thomas MacDougall 
Directed by Samuel Crowell

It is 1977 and the shadow of communism and nuclear war threatens a small Nevada town. But remain calm! Richie’s Convenience serves as a designated safe zone.

I Love This City               
Written by Louis Anthony Bryan 
Directed by Esther Soucoup

When a young online celebrity goes missing, private investigator Ambrose Holiday seeks a partnership with Sonny Elmore at the Bright Young Things café. The pilot to a serial detective story, I Love This City shows the origins of a beautiful friendship.

Thieves Of Paradise    
Written by Michael Pallotto
Directed by Laura-Beth Bird

Based on a true story, Thieves of Paradise animates the historical theft of St. Nicolas’ relics from a Turkish church in 1087. But when things turn violent and a powerful storm threatens their journey home, the faith of the thieves is tested.

“The three new plays written for What’s Next? are wholly original works that will offer TST audiences reason to reconsider our world from new perspectives,” said Whittaker. “They offer contrasting styles and have received dramaturgy from Next Folding Theatre Company’s artistic director and STU alumnus Ryan Griffith.

“Though TST doesn’t plan to produce new plays every year, we know that we have excellent playwriting talent to draw into the unique educational environment that Theatre St. Thomas provides to our students and the Fredericton community broadly,” he said.

What’s Next | January 31 – February 2 | Black Box Theatre, James Dunn Hall, STU | 7:30 p.m. | Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. | $10 – $5 for students and seniors

Producer: Robbie Lynn
Technical Director: Chris Saad
Artistic Producer: Dr. Robin Whittaker

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