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Annual PEI Community Theatre Festival

Veronica Gendrick and Rebecca Parent in the 2017 Festival (photo: Philip Matusewcz)PEI will mark the 58th celebration of World Theatre Day on March 30 at the Carrefour in Charlottetown with the annual Community Theatre Festival.

PEI is full of theatre. There are several dozen local drama groups, and literally hundreds of amateur actors and backstage workers who make plays happen. The Community Theatre Festival is a chance for participants to strut their stuff and get feedback.

This year performers will get that feedback from Adam Brazier, the Artistic Director of the Charlottetown Festival.

It’s great for the audience, too. People drop in for a particular play or two, or stay for the whole afternoon. Pay-what-you-will admission helps defray the costs. There’s a social time with refreshments in-between performances.

Eight short plays will run every three-quarters of an hour or so through the afternoon. This year’s Festival has a fine array of participants.

For ever-reliable belly-laugh humour, the Tracadie Players’ skit will pose what a person would do if they did Rrrrrrrroll up the Rim and actually won!

The Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors will drum and dance through new tellings of colourful First-Nation legends handed down through the generations.

The Malcolm Murray Group will present a comic-absurdist piece, Chop Wood, Carry Water, by the UPEI philosophy professor—with gripping highlights such as the moving of a wood-pile.

The Side Hustle improv crew will offer a half-hour of spontaneously comedic long-form improvised theatre.

The Shamrock Players’ play is Babel Rap, in which two people working high up on the biblical Tower of Babel contemplate life, work and the hereafter.

There’ll be stand-up comedy—original solo routines by humorists from Charlottetown ALL Comedy Open Mic.

A band of Birchwood Intermediate students called 9-F Theatre Troupe have themselves written and developed a drama, The Tipping Point, which follows a teenager hounded by anxiety as she goes through a school day to a gripping crisis.

Homeward, by Louise Burley, is an imaginative set of episodes from the Homeric epic The Odyssey. We’ll see a staged reading of scenes of the nymph Calypso and her captive lover Odysseus, with the goddess Athena looking on.

A schedule of the plays in order, with roughly specific times, will be available on ACT’s website and Facebook page.

The annual Festival is backed by ACT (a community theatre) and sponsored by community businesses which have a commitment to the arts—The Buzz, Bluefield Realty, and a well-known dental clinic—and support (for refreshments) comes from Sobeys, Superstore and Foodland. Watermark Theatre, Victoria Playhouse and Spotlight School of Arts have all donated tickets to be raffled.

Doors open at 12:30 pm March 30; plays begin at 1 pm and run to about 6 pm.

Info: Rob Thomson at robthomson@ pei.sympatico.ca or 9032-628-6778.

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