Last night I had the pleasure of joining Heidi Taylor of Playwrights Theatre Center and Corbin Murdoch of the Cultch for a reading of the winning plays from last year’s Ignite Youth Week Festival Young Playwrights competition. Corbin meets with a panel of young artists every Monday through the year to put together a weeklong festival of theatre, dance, drag, visual art, music and film – the Ignite Youth Week Festival! Every year the panel holds a Young Playwrights competition and select 3 new scripts, which are produced the follow year as part of Ignite. It’s extremely exciting to be part of Ignite as an audience member or participant – for a week, the Cultch’s beautiful facilities teem with youth artists who put together a stellar week of programming. If you’ve never been to Ignite, I hope you’ll make an effort this year – the vibe is like Hive, Fringe, and PuSh rolled into one and bounding on a sugar high. The energy is invigorating, the work is great, and it’s so inspiring to see kids as young as 13 working their butts off to make this festival sing.
Last year my play Our Time was mounted at the Vancity Culture Lab as part of Ignite – this year I had the chance to help the current batch of young playwrights develop their work. Under the guidance of Heidi and Corbin and the playwright’s mentors Ami Gladstone, Michele Riml and Dave Deveau, we read the three plays for this years festival. I was joined by Pippa Mackie, Sebastien Archibald and Kholby Wardell to read Onomatopoeia by Sigal Samuel, The Living Situation by James Elliot, and Hide and Go Sell by Chris Nyarady who attended the reading all the way from Halifax via Skype! I was so impressed with these fantastic scripts by emerging young playwrights. I love love love play readings and we all had a grand old time reading these funny and very smart new shows. The playwrights will work with their mentors to further develop these scripts having heard them read by actors, and then they’ll turn them over to the directors. If you’re interested in directing or acting in this festival, head on over to the Ignite Mentorship Blog and check out the details – it’s a great opportunity to work in a beautiful venue. I had a blast reading with Sebastien, Pippa and Kholby and can’t wait to see how these shows take shape!