Theatres around the world have reached online during the pandemic, to stay connected with their audiences. Now Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre takes that a step further, with the Swipe Right! Digital Theatre Festival, starting Oct. 1st.
The Festival features projects created for Western Edge’s digital theatre initiative, as chosen by artistic associates Brianna Hamilton and Daniel Puglas. But it will start in a very Real Life way, with a premiere of the three videos at the Bowen Park amphitheatre in Nanaimo.
“We know people are eager to be together again, in a safe fashion,” says Western Edge executive director Frank Moher. “So we’re beginning with a premiere in the park. But for any who can’t make that, there’ll be an online launch, too.”
The videos created for the Festival have their roots in theatre but also take advantage of new possibilities afforded by digital technology.
A Night of Process, produced by Nanoose Bay actor Blaine Nosworthy, uses improvisation and high-intensity filmmaking to provide a startling look at four actors exploring the inner lives of four very dark characters.
River: A Metaphor, produced by Nanaimo poet-turned-playwright Joy Dubé, is an adaptation of her play of the same name. Filmed at the Gallery Row stage in downtown Nanaimo, it commingles the voices of women with the sounds of the city to create a delicate meditation on nature, and nature’s desecration.
And Virtual Ecstasy, produced by Denman Island multi-media artist Dante Ambriel, is a play taking place on a digitally-created stage, in which two sexually dysphoric friends explore love, self-imaging, and a deeper understanding of their own selves.
The projects will be unveiled on Fri., Oct. 1st at 7:30 pm, at the Bowen Park amphitheatre in Nanaimo. The creators will be present for Q & A’s moderated by Hamilton and Puglas. In the event of inclement weather, the premiere will move indoors, and public health orders will be observed. Tickets are limited and early purchase is advised.
The online launch takes place the next day on Sat., Oct 2nd at 7:30 pm. Ticket holders for the online premiere will be given exclusive access to the event’s livestream. The videos will then remain online for viewing by donation.
Tickets to both the real life and online premieres cost $15 plus processing fees and are available at westernedge.org or by phone at 250-816-6459.
Support for the Western Edge Digital Theatre Initiative and Swipe Right! Digital Theatre Festival is provided by a City of Nanaimo Resilience Grant. Western Edge Theatre’s 2021-22 Season is made possible by the City of Nanaimo, the BC Community Gaming Branch, the British Columbia Arts Council, and the support of the community.