Last summer Western Edge Theatre presented plays over Zoom, including ‘Sandpiper Serenade,’ by local playwright Bill Miner, starring Frank Moher, Barbara Metcalf, Lorna McLellan and Brian March (clockwise from top-left). The local theatre company has launched a new digital theatre initiative for mid-Island theatre artists. (Zoom screenshot)

Last summer Western Edge Theatre presented plays over Zoom, including ‘Sandpiper Serenade,’ by local playwright Bill Miner, starring Frank Moher, Barbara Metcalf, Lorna McLellan and Brian March (clockwise from top-left). The local theatre company has launched a new digital theatre initiative for mid-Island theatre artists. (Zoom screenshot)

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre launches new digital theatre initiative

Group to award $3,000 in grants to four independent central-Island theatre artists

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre is challenging theatre artists in the region to find innovative ways to tell stories on a digital stage.

On July 6 the theatre company announced in a press release the launch of its new Mid-Island Digital Theatre Initiative. Artists have until July 26 to submit their proposals, which could include Zoom plays, radio plays or pre-recorded plays in non-theatrical or virtual settings. Four selected artists will be awarded $750 grants and their productions will premiere on Western Edge’s online platforms in September.

“Things have been more than difficult for many artists over the past year, but we have evolved and adapted,” Western Edge artistic associate Daniel Puglas said in the release. “We hope our colleagues will take advantage of this opportunity to continue to express themselves in new and exciting ways.”

Fellow artistic associate Brianna Hamilton said the initiative will show what theatre artists can do when a traditional live show is not an option.

“With restrictions easing over the summer, we are excited to see what possibilities take shape and how mid-Island artists and performers can use these remaining limiters to their creative advantage,” she said in the release.

For more information and to apply, click here.

In other Western Edge news, the theatre company also announced July 6 that Brian March is leaving his post after five years in the artistic director and most recently artistic associate position. He will be succeeded by the remaining artistic associates.

March has been a part of Western Edge since its earliest days and has served as an actor, writer and director during that time. He will remain on the board of the theatre company.

“It’s been a privilege working as artistic director of Western Edge for the last four-plus years. I’ve engaged with many actors, writers, stage managers, directors and designers whose talents made my job a lot easier,” March said in a press release. “Thanks to them and the creative force of Brianna [Hamilton] and Dan Puglas as artistic associates, Frank Moher as executive director and Lorna McLellan as board president, I see nothing but success and excitement as the company moves forward into the post-COVID era.”

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