Shane Rochon is launching a new Fringe-style theatre festival in Langley this summer. The Siloam Theatre Festival will run at the Langley Playhouse in Brookswood July 30 to Aug. 4. Local playwrights are invited to submit their work by June 1.                                Submitted photo by Heather Ashfield Photography

Shane Rochon is launching a new Fringe-style theatre festival in Langley this summer. The Siloam Theatre Festival will run at the Langley Playhouse in Brookswood July 30 to Aug. 4. Local playwrights are invited to submit their work by June 1. Submitted photo by Heather Ashfield Photography

‘Homemade, homegrown’ theatre festival launches in Langley

Local playwrights invited to showcase new work at inaugural Siloam Theatre Festival

A new opportunity to showcase locally written and produced theatre is coming to Langley this summer.

The inaugural Siloam Theatre Festival will be showcased at the Langley Playhouse in Brookswood July 30 to Aug. 4.

Siloam, which means “to send,” is an initiative of Langley Players board member Shane Rochon, who wants to provide a platform similar to the Vancouver Fringe Festival for thespians in the valley.

“I came up with the idea a couple of years ago, mainly because I had done an entry at Vancouver Fringe in 2011, and though it was a great learning experience, it was just a huge commitment to have to go all the way downtown,” Rochon said.

“It was a huge commitment for my actors, and having to haul all of our props and everything over there. And I guess in the back of my mind I thought, this is kind of silly, the people who are going to come out and support us are the people who know us, so why are we not trying to do this locally.

“I can’t be the only playwright who lives here, so why don’t we try and get other playwrights to submit their plays and try to do a homemade, homegrown theatre festival here in Langley.”

Rochon, who calls Cloverdale home, graduated from theatre school and performed professionally in TV and theatre in Montreal before moving to B.C. 12 years ago.

He started working with the Langley Players in 2013, and after becoming involved on the board of directors, decided to approach them with his idea.

“The nobility behind it (the festival) is that the entry fee is only $100, so if the groups really do their homework and promote their projects properly, they can easily make their money back,” he said.

“We’re just offering the venue as a space, as an opportunity, as an open door. Use our space, you still have to pay an entry fee, but we’re not charging an arm and a leg, as opposed to other venues, that would charge $850 and over. This really is an opportunity for people to stage their shows at a minimal cost, but also, again, to open the doors to the community. These people live in your own backyards, they’re your own neighbours, come and see their shows. That’s really the heart behind it.”

HOW IT WORKS

Local playwrights and theatre groups, including high school and university graduates, from the Langley and Surrey communities are invited to submit their one-act plays to Rochon by June 1.

All submissions must be original content, or a Canadian play with at least two or more actors.

The entry fee is $100, and participants will keep 70 per cent of the profit from ticket sales.

Plays must be between 50 and 90 minutes long, and projects will be reviewed and selected by a committee.

Tickets for all shows will be $15 each.

There are no limits on what playwrights can submit in terms of content, but Rochon asks that people be mindful of what subject matters would be of interest to Langley audiences.

“I’m hoping we don’t get anything that is too far out there — they can go downtown for that. It can be family friendly, but it can also be edgy in the sense of targeting older audiences as well. We’re not opposed to those either,” Rochon said.

“We’re also trying to bear in mind who our community is and who our audience is. There’s not really a huge boundary, but at the same time, we do want to have it open for the community.”

For more information on the festival, or to apply, email Rochon at me2youdrama@gmail.com.