Five young playwrights will see their works on stage before Trinity Western University lowers the curtain for good on its theatre program.
The Langley university’s theatre department is shutting down by 2024 and no longer accepting new students. Before the closure audiences get the chance to watch five live shows back-to-back.
“It is such a delight to celebrate young artists, particularly when the pandemic has been so hard on the performing arts and TWU is closing its theatre program,” said Angela Konrad, professor and co-chair of the theatre department.
The mega show, New Words, New Works will feature 13 actors in different characters first imagined by five young playwrights. Each play – approximately 15 minutes long – will be performed by Trinity Western’s theatre students. The program is presented under the direction of instructor Kerri Norris, an experienced actor and director.
“I love directing, and I love working with emerging artists so this production is really special,” Norris said.
Konrad explained that along with the actors, two stage managers and about half-a-dozen people were involved behind the scenes in key roles.
The department was initially unsure about organizing the event due to rising Omicron cases, but Konrad said she is excited that the event is able to go ahead.
“We never knew from one day to the next if we would actually be able to get this play on stage, but it is happening,” she noted.
Konrad shared that COVID had made it difficult for the team to rehearse. She further explained that Norris could only focus on one actor at a time due to social distancing requirements. Multiple times, stage managers had to step in to take different roles to cover up for a cast member in isolation.
The mega show is expected to be at least 75-minutes long, and Konrad said people will have to wear masks throughout the performances. Proof of vaccination will be required at the time of entry to the hall, which will run at half capacity.
The five plays were selected from more than a dozen applications as part of a contest the department ran in the summer of 2021.
The department tried to cover most of the genres through its selection for the mega show.
“Whether you like fantasy or realism, drama or comedy, big box stores or blanket forts, New Words, New Works has something for everyone,” said Konrad.
Rebecca Martin, the playwriting instructor at the university, shared that the plays will represent diversity in terms of genres.
“The students are so creative and imaginative, and this show truly offers something for everyone,” Martin added.
The five short plays that will be performed include:
- Medium Auburn Cherry Crush by Lani-Marie Carbonel – Love is hard, especially when you’re 17. Thankfully, there’s best friends and hair dye.
- Wishing on a Steve by Emma Wiebe Giesbrecht – A star named Steve makes people regret not being more careful what they wished for…
- She Who Flew Too Close by Annie Zander – The sun isn’t the only light that catches on your wings.
- The Den-aisle by Braedon Grover Sunnes – Whether living in dorms or in Costco, it’s never a good idea to lie to your roommate. Or yourself.
- The Drive Home by Hailee Boks – One chasing dreams and the other hiding from fears – where will their drive take them?
“Being able to encourage these playwrights and performers that what they do is valuable is especially meaningful when the theatre program is closing. We hope people will forego Netflix for an evening and come out to see some future stars in action. The show is funny, touching, and inspiring – what more could you want?” Konrad said.
Performances will run from Tuesday to Saturday, Feb. 1 to 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Trinity Western University’s Langley campus.
There will be an additional matinee show on Saturday at 2 p.m. For tickets and more information, people can visit the school’s website at www.twu.ca/theatre.
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