Festival reading series will include new work by artist in residence.

Play Out Loud will present new work by Erica Kopyto alongside runners up from this year’s playwriting contest.

Erica Kopyto does not consider herself a playwright. She’s an accomplished dramaturg, a curator, a director, a producer, an activist and an educator, but not a playwright. At least not officially, yet.

“I’ve co-created and devised new pieces before,” said Kopyto, “but my main activity in the theatre is as a dramaturg and literary manager focusing on new play development.”

Kopyto spent two years in residence at the Banff Arts Centre and fourteen years as Literary Manager at Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre. She is currently in Fredericton as NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival’s artist-in-residence, where she can share her experience with the many artists involved in this year’s festival.

“It is definitely a gift to be brought in to engage and create with such a diverse and busy group of dedicated theatre makers,” said Kopyto. “I hope to offer some of my specific dramaturgical skillset to the plays in development but the secret of course is that I get to learn so much in the process.

“Being able to work on a variety of plays at various degrees of development and with such a great group of artists at different stages of their own artistic development, has made for a very lively time here so far.  Fredericton has a very encouraging theatre scene.”

Kopyto will also have the opportunity to showcase her own work during the festival as part of the opening night kickoff party and the Play Out Loud reading series.

“The piece I’ll be sharing, Tissue, is a work at the beginning stages of its development,” she said. “I’ll be sharing just some snippets at the festival.”

As a work in progress, Tissue is far from a completed piece. Through her residency, not only will Kopyto be able to help other theatre artists develop their own work, but also present something of her own for feedback and development.

“I asked six women, all from different disciplines, two playwrights, a critic, an academic, a novelist, a social worker and my several year old daughter, to offer some writing on the general theme of relationships,” she said.  “Some content had been previously published in various forms.  Some of it is recorded verbatim.  I’ve then recontexualized the pieces, added some of my own writing and am weaving together a narrative thread.  As a process it’s actually quite fun. The writers who offered up their work were all very generous in allowing me to do whatever I wanted with it.  I’m not being cautious at all and there are no specific rules I’m trying to follow except my one golden rule: what tells the better story.”

Opening Night Kickoff Party | July 19 | Milda’s Pizza | Charlotte Street Arts Centre | 7:30pm | FREE

Play Out Loud | July 25 | Beaverbrook Art Gallery | 7:30pm | Admission by donation



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