16th annual summer theatre festival to stage 8 plays and 6 readings in Fredericton, July 25-August 5.
NotaBle Acts Theatre Company will stage its 16th annual Summer Theatre Festival, showcasing new plays by emerging and established New Brunswick playwrights, from July 25 through August 5 at venues across Fredericton. This year’s festival, which features a strong emphasis on youth, with several works written by or about teens, will see thirteen new plays performed, including one act plays, a site-specific play, ten-minute plays, readings of new works in development, and the festival’s feature mainstage production, Grace Notes.
A play by Saint John playwright Patrick Toner, Grace Notes is a topical thriller about a disgraced soldier assigned to a bagpipe band in “The Territories” who becomes drawn into a murky world of terrorism and conflicting loyalties. Directed by Clarissa Hurley, Grace Notes will be performed from July 26-29 at the Black Box Theatre at Saint Thomas University.
Eleven of the new plays to be performed at the festival were selected as winners in NotaBle Acts’ annual province-wide playwriting contest, including Hinter by Jean-Michel Cliche and It Happened at a Party by Caroline Coon, winners of the 2017 competition’s one act category. Hinter is the story of pair of teenage sisters struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic Canada where animals have reclaimed dominance over the land, while It Happened at a Party depicts the devastating fallout for the teens involved when a sexual assault takes place at a high school party, leading to a he-said, she said court case centring on the question of consent. Hinter and It Happened at a Party will be performed at Memorial Hall, UNB, nightly from August 3-5.
Free plays taking place outdoors and in unconventional locations in downtown Fredericton are an annual feature of the NotaBle Acts festival, and this year’s edition includes a double-bill of Arianna Martinez’s site-specific play The Marcy Case and Taking it to the Streets, the four winners of NB Acts ten-minute play competition. The Marcy Case, which will be performed in the Fredericton Public Library, is a comedy about a young woman whose only hope of being released from a peculiar predicament at the library lies with the unlikely combination of her unsuspecting blind date and Charles Dickens.
The laughs will continue with the four plays in Taking it to the Streets, which will feature Tilly Jackson’s Here Be Dragons, about a knight and princess battling a slightly less than fearsome beast; Brandon Hicks’ Gamma Man, a peek into the home life of a most unlikely superhero; Alex McAllister’s Interview for Two, in which a young man decides to deal with dating rejection by approaching it resume in hand; and Gordon Mihan’s high-energy comedy Brainstorm, about a squad of cranial crusaders who come to a teen girl’s homework crisis rescue. Taking it to the Streets will have four performances in locations including Officers’ Square and the Public Library.
Two nights of readings, July 31 and August 1 at the Picaroons Roundhouse, will feature new works in development, including Both Sides, Jeff Lloyd’s wistful and funny rumination on the state of rural New Brunswick, The Dealer Always Wins by Dylan Sealy, and Switched, a comedy by Anna Chatterton. A Hamilton playwright who is one of Canadian theatre’s rising stars, Chatterton is NotaBle Acts’ Artist in Residence for 2017, mentoring and providing guidance to the festival’s young playwrights and directors.
The festival will kick off with a night featuring three additional plays by and about youths, with readings of the winners of NotaBle Acts’ new Middle and High School playwriting contests taking place at Unplugged Café on July 25.
For full show, schedule, and ticket details, visit www.nbacts.com or phone 506 458-7406.