After being cancelled partway through last March due to COVID-19, the Gabriola Players’ One-Act Play Festival is returning this year in an all-online format.
This week the Gabriola Island-based theatre company announced it is seeking submissions from Gabriola and Nanaimo playwrights for this spring’s festival.
Board member Miranda Holmes said any genre is welcome and playwrights of any experience level may apply. The only limitation is the plays must adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, meaning no large groups gathered in a room.
“If you’ve got something that you think we might be able to do online, we’d love to have a look at it,” Holmes said, later adding, “We’re looking for new plays to showcase but also to get people an opportunity for their work to be seen.”
Holmes said cancelling the final performances of last year’s One-Act Play festival was “heartbreaking” for audience members and cast and crew alike. In the fall the group made its return to performance by staging a pair of pandemic-themed plays using the online videoconference platform Zoom.
Holmes said they were “really taking a chance” with the productions and were “thrilled” by the reception. In December the Gabriola Players presented their Christmas production online as well.
“The Christmas show did very well and had very favourable response from audience members,” Holmes said. “I think people are pretty starved for distraction at the moment so it’s great that were able to do it.”
Holmes suggested Zoom plays, one-person shows and pre-recorded plays featuring a couple actors in the same social bubble would all be suitable for submission. She said it’s important to proceed with the festival for the sake of the actors and viewers.
“Yes, it’s online – you don’t get to hear the audience clapping thunderously at the end – but it gives [actors] an opportunity to get involved in something…” she said. “It’s also really important to provide something for our very loyal audience members and they have shown that they are willing to go online until such time as we can get back in a theatre.”
Plays can be submitted to email@example.com. Deadline is Feb. 28.