Three playwrights are getting the chance to test their works-in-progress in front of a live audience.
Nanaimo’s TheatreOne recently announced the plays that will be part of its 2022 Emerging voices staged reading series. They are The Ties That Bind by Yvette Menard of Comox, The Shape of Your Good Days by Victoria’s Anna Marie Anderson and Break Horizons by Kim Senklip Harvey from the Lower Mainland.
TheatreOne artistic associate Jessica Schacht said TheatreOne received more than 30 submissions from across the country and it was difficult to choose which plays to feature.
“It’s a real opportunity to be able to read so many different plays and get transported into those different worlds,” she said. “Yeah, it’s hard to make selections – we received a lot of really strong submissions – but it must be done.”
Schacht said she looked for diverse voices and plays that would benefit from further development.
“For Emerging Voices, I think [of] the idea of taking that name into the mandate of it,”she said. “So looking for emergence and things that are emergent, whether that be a new playwright or new characters or new artistic practices that folks are exploring in their work.”
The readings start in February 2022. The first play in the Emerging voices series is Break Horizons, which Schacht said “centres around five Indigenous friends in a healing lodge and a shifter who traverses space and time to help them in the 500 years imperial war and with the aim of helping us all break free of the prisons that we create for ourselves.”
The second play is The Shape of Your Good Days. Schacht said it’s an intimate story about two people looking to find love after heartbreak and it examines the ways mental health can affect relationships.
The series concludes with The Ties That Bind. Schacht calls it a “moving and funny piece” about a middle-aged woman who takes the audience through her life’s journey as she aims to “be her best self and start living for herself as opposed to everybody else.”
This is Schacht’s first year running Emerging Voices. She said it’s a unique program that benefits both the playwright and their audience.
“The opportunity to workshop three different new plays, it’s really exciting and I think it’s a great way for the audience to be engaged in the behind-the-scenes development of work,” she said. “And it really does serve the playwright to get to that next stage.”