By: Rob Thompson

[The Cadre recently received a request through email to publish this story publicizing calls for participants for the 2016 Community Theatre Festival. We have decided to do so while, in the interest of transparency, putting this disclaimer.]

Prince Edward Island’s annual celebration of World Theatre Day is the PEI Community Theatre Festival, which will again be held in March, probably on Saturday the 12th.

  The Festival will be held at the Carrefour de I’Ilse-Saint-Jean school in Charlottetown, filling the Saturday afternoon with a play running approximately every ¾ of an hour or so, with social time in-between performances.  Refreshments will be provided to the players.  Performers will be given helpful adjudication; previous mentors have been helpful people like Wade Lynch,  Monique Lafontaine and Richard Haines.  Each group will be presented with a participation award.

Image courtesy of ACT. UPEI Students Cassinda Bulger and Courtney Starkman act in "Small Talk" during the 2015 Festival
Image courtesy of ACT. UPEI Students Cassinda Bulger and Courtney Starkman act in “Small Talk” during the 2015 Festival

  The Community Theatre Festival is a showcase for true community theatre — a great chance for scores of actors and off-stage production volunteers to perform beyond their usual home audience, to rub shoulders with and learn from one another and get constructive feedback.  It’s a fine opportunity for a group to preview or reprise a show they’ve developed for another presentation.

  The Festival has grown in popularity since its resurgence in 2010.  Last year the audience tended to drop in to watch two or three of the five performances — a fine mix of slapstick, intense drama, legend and the absurd.

  Here’s what Adjudicator Wade Lynch has said about the Festival:

“The PEI Community Theatre Festival reminds me of why I went into theatre in the first place. It is an inclusive, nurturing community experience. The PEICTF is cross-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual celebration of life expressed through theatre. To see young actors taking their first tentative steps into a public arena alongside those who have spent decades treading the boards is thrilling. To hear stories told, sung and physicalized in English, French, Mi’kmaq and mime is how we build a stronger, welcoming, tolerant, safe and magical community. I can’t wait for next year!”

Image courtesy of ACT
Image courtesy of ACT

  Now is the time. Organizers are inviting amateur (for-the-love-of-it) theatre groups to express interest and get working on a play.  What’s wanted are short plays or excerpts — no more than a half-hour — of any kind: comedy, quasi-improv, gripping drama, mystery, slice-of-life, political satire, romance, family-friendly or avant-garde/mature.

  So let the creative juices flow.  There’s plenty of time over the coming few months to get into performance mode.  Mentoring guidance is available on request.

  To get information and to express interest, contact Kate Martin  892-4384, eslkatie1@gmail.com or Rob Thomson  628-6778, robthomson@pei.sympatico.ca.

A group should signify its intention to participate by December 15th; then definite confirmation is needed by January 31st.