PlaySmelter 2020, Sudbury’s only festival of new work for the theatre, returns this week. Together but Apart – At Home marks the first all virtual and eighth annual PlaySmelter Festival. The festival runs Nov. 19-21.
Tough times calls for new and innovative measures, and PlaySmelter artists have answered the call. All offerings illustrate the keen resolve that this pandemic cannot keep us down, said a press release.
PlaySmelter 2020 offers new plays-in-process in several digital form - podcast, immersive at-home and live-streams – all in the comfort and safety of your home.
Included this year is a special immersive theatre experience, the national theatre hit, Sensory Box, whereby each audience member is guided blindfolded in the unboxing of a mystery box (box included with each ticket).
Other offerings include fresh, new works-in-process by PlaySmelter favourites Matthew Heiti and Kristin Shepherd, and a fierce, fast comedy about friendships and why we need them now more than ever.
Another first this year is a collaboration with Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario with a first-look presentation of PlaySmelters’ 2019’s hit Aviatrix in the new French translation, Aéroportée.
PlaySmelter organizers say they are thrilled to announce that all ticket sales and donations made during PlaySmelter 2020 will be distributed to local artists. All dollars raised will go directly to a program of micro-grants to local artists to instigate and spark the first idea of a new art work.
This “kick-start” is essential more than ever during the pause the COVID-19 pandemic has created for local artists who often depend on live gatherings to exhibit and perform their work.
“Support to Northern ON theatre artists is a key mandate of PlaySmelter,” said artistic director Lisa O’Connell.
These grants will aide artists in investigation of their practice, with a focus on process, iterative learning, collaboration, and deep thinking. This program is a response to the ongoing pandemic and the necessity for artists to continue to delve into and develop their practice in imaginative and innovative ways.
The PlaySmelter New Work Theatre Festival is made possible through funding from Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the City of Greater Sudbury. PlaySmelter is produced by Pat the Dog Theatre Creation. A catalyst for new play creation, Pat the Dog is nationally recognized as a leader in the cultivation and promotion of regional Ontario theatre creators and their work.