By John Ployer
PEI’s community theatre group is hoping that UPEI students will get involved in acting ahead of PEI’s Community Theatre Festival.
The 2020 PEI Community Theatre Festival, hosted by ACT, is looking for amateur groups to express interest by December 15th.
“A Community Theatre … which began with a half-dozen people putting $25 each on a coffee table to buy the set (two stepladders) for our first play … and which a decade later was putting on a $50,000 production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Rob Thomson told the Cadre.
ACT (A Community Theatre), which puts on the Community Theatre Festival, encourages Islanders to participate in the art of acting, along with putting on various shows throughout the years.
Thomson, who has spent a decade co-organizing PEI’s Community Theatre Festival, says that community theatre offers UPEI students a positive outlet.
“It’s like being on a sports team: the people involved in a production bond as they prepare it and then share in the achievement of putting it on,” he said.
“You get to be expressive. That’s especially important for someone who lacks self-confidence.”
When asked about how to prepare, Thomson said that individual groups start by choosing a play or excerpt. He recommends groups practice once a week in the leadup to the festival.
On March 28th, Festival day, the groups will have a 30 minute ‘tech rehearsal’ on the stage of the Carrefour.
Former UPEI student Jay Gallant recommends community theatre as it teaches valuable skills and helps one overcome stage fright.
“I highly recommend that UPEI students get involved in community theatre for a number of reasons. Not only did theatre help me with shyness and presentation anxiety, but it taught me valuable skills such as how to work collaboratively with others, public speaking skills, organization and time management skills, leadership skills and general communication skills.”
As a person who often speaks publicly as a 2SLGBTQ+ activist, Gallant says that theatre can help address social issues, which is the biggest takeaway from the experience for him.
“Most importantly, I found theatre to be a wonderful way to bring awareness to and explore difficult social issues.”
Along with the Community Theatre Festival, Gallant has also performed in Realizations at The Guild.
“It was an honour to be involved in such an incredibly important show (Realizations), and it had an impact on many audience members – as well as cast and crew.”
Final confirmation of groups and performances must be submitted by January 31st. Questions or submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.