- TIMOTHY RICHARD
Eastern Front Theatre's new artistic director Jeremy Webb wants the Stages Festival to appeal to a wide audience, and that's reflected in this year's jam-packed lineup. The two-week-long festival is offering a smorgasbord of entertainment including comedy, dance and plays in various stages of development. There's theatre for kids and theatre for young people. And even something Webb calls "a cultural reality show."
"Forerunner Theatre is offering a Pitch the Panel event," he explains. "Eight writers will pitch their play ideas in front of a live audience. The judges will confer and then award the winner $1,000 and a development deal with Eastern Front Theatre."
2b Theatre's Unconscious at the Sistine Chapel is also sure to be a festival favourite, says Webb. The show, which imagines an unlikely meeting between Minna Bernays and Nora Barnacle (the partners of Sigmund Freud and James Joyce), takes place in the Sistine Chapel in both the past and present. And as an added draw, the chapel is being "recreated" in Paul O'Regan Hall in the Central Library.
In terms of youth-specific theatre, there are several offerings in the NextSTAGES Festival for Families. Rhys Bevan-John is presenting his charming play The Happy Hobo in Moon Land, a one-man-show about how we use our imagination for play, and Halifax Theatre for Young People is presenting Red Fish, a "comedy about depression." There are also readings of new plays for young people and the ever-popular Ten-Minute Play Contest.
"We've got comedy at the Casino with Bette MacDonald. We've got plays by Anne-Marie Woods and Graeme Gillis," says Webb. "We've got a dance piece by Veronique Mackenzie.
"Oh, and we've got an awesome Flash Pass—three shows for $30. A chance to take a chance on a bunch of these fabulous shows."
Stages Theatre Festival
To Sunday, June 26
various times and locations
various prices per play, three-show pass $30