Digital Theatre Initiative call for proposals

Laptop with image of theatreNanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre invites proposals from central Vancouver Island theatre artists for its new Mid-Island Digital Theatre Initiative.

While Western Edge looks forward to returning to live, onstage production in November, the Mid-Island Digital Theatre Initiative will continue the company’s exploration of innovative ways to create and distribute theatre meantime. Four grants of $750 each will be given to independent theatre artists in the mid-Island area with inventive ideas for projects that are theatre-based but use digital means to tell their story.

Possible examples include Zoom productions; plays recorded in theatres or non-theatrical settings for distribution on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch; audio plays; interactive plays featuring real-time online participation by the audience; digital larping (live action role play) or theatrical performances in virtual worlds such as Minecraft; plays that overlap digital and real worlds; or any other creative ways that central Vancouver Island theatre artists can dream up to safely keep theatre going until the pandemic is fully behind us.

“Artists are incredibly adaptable and this project allows them to show what they are capable of when the traditional live show is taken away,” says Western Edge Artistic Associate Brianna Hamilton. “With restrictions easing over the summer, we are excited to see what possibilities take shape and how mid-Island artists and performers can use these remaining limiters to their creative advantage.”

Says Artistic Associate Daniel Puglas: “Things have been more than difficult for many artists over the past year, but we have evolved and adapted. We hope our colleagues will take advantage of this opportunity to continue to express themselves in new and exciting ways.”

Projects should be up to 30 minutes in length. Western Edge will also offer artistic and technical guidance to the chosen projects and monitor and provide support to ensure that public health orders are observed during rehearsals and production. The completed projects will be premiered at a special event in September and hosted and promoted on Western Edge Theatre’s various online platforms.

In addition to the grant, successful applicants will receive a portion of revenue from online distribution of the project, and a free subscription to Western Edge’s 2021-22 Season.

For further details and to submit a proposal, visit https://westernedge.org/dti. The deadline for proposals is July 26. Creativity, ingenuity, thinking outside the box, and inclusivity of underrepresented groups in the artistic and production personnel will be taken into account in the selection process.

Western Edge strongly encourages artists with whom it hasn’t worked, those with little or no experience, and those who identify as coming from under-represented communities, to submit proposals. Any artists experiencing barriers to participation are encouraged to reach out to Western Edge, at admin@westernedge.org or 250-714-4476, so that the process can be adapted to best serve them. General questions are also welcome at admin@westernedge.org.

The Digital Theatre Initiative is made possible by funding from the City of Nanaimo’s Resilience Grant program and the Province of BC.

To submit a proposal, visit https://westernedge.org/dti