By: Adi Vella

PEI’s annual Community Theatre Festival will mark the 57th celebration of World Theatre Day during the afternoon of March 17th at the Carrefour in Charlottetown. Seven short plays will run approximately 45 minutes  throughout the afternoon. It will be a smorgasbord of comedy, charming drama, legend-telling and improv.

There are several dozen local drama groups, hundreds of amateur actors and stage hands who’ve worked to bring these plays to stage. It’s an important part of the social fabric of the PEI’s community life. This event is also a great chance for participants to tread the boards and also receive feedback in the process. Performers will be given constructive tips by adjudicators Laura K. Bird and Monique Lafontaine.

The lineup

This year’s Festival has a fine array of participants with The Tracadie Players performing ‘News at 6’, a spoof of the Island’s most-watched suppertime newscast. The Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors through song and dance will present several new tellings of First Nation legends handed down from one generation to the next.

The program also includes Nadine Salami’s French drama-comedy, ‘Ma meilleure amie, ma meilleure ennemie’.  The Murray Players have six “very proper” spinsters employing an unorthodox lure to attract the attention of a handsome homicide detective in ‘Any Body for Tea’ which is a suspenseful comedy. Also, the youngsters from Spotlight School of Arts have planned a theatre-improv game.

ACT (a community theatre) will provide a sneak-preview excerpt of the musical ‘Rainbow Valley’ which is due to be staged in November. Rainbow Valley is an adaptation by Hank Stinson based on L.M. Montgomery’s works. There is also a staged reading of a new original script, ‘Missing Mom’ by PEI playwright Malcolm Murray, featuring some of the Island’s best playwright-actors.

Patrons may drop in for a select few performances, or stay for the whole afternoon. The admission to these performances is by donation and there will be a social time with refreshments between performances.

The diverse lineup of events at PEI’s Community Theatre Festival is an excellent opportunity for everyone to experience local theatre productions, and especially so for the student population given the affordability of the event and the flexibility in programming.

The Carrefour’s doors open at 12:30 on Saturday, March 17th; the plays begin at 1:00 pm and will run till approximately 5:30 pm.  There’ll be a 15-minute break between plays to provide for adjudication and set-up of the following play, The beak is also to give the audience a chance to socialize, get raffle tickets and sample the refreshments.

Snow date: Sunday 18 March.

For further information, contact Rob Thomson by email at robthomson@pei.sympatico.ca or reach him by phone on (902) 628-6778.

Photo: Phil Matusiewicz