Nelson’s Got Its Own Theatre Festival
We can’t call it a “Fringe” festival yet, but Nelson’s Outskirts Theatre Festival is on its way to joining the Fringe Festival ranks. This weekend is the first (annual!) festival, with four days and nights of live theatre taking place in venues around Nelson.
At $10 each (once you’ve bought your $5 membership for the festival itself) it’s an easy way to get out and support theatre in the town. There are also a ton (6) of great shows in store for you, with both local artists and artists from afar.
The festival opened last night, August 20, with an Opening Gala and Festival Preview Show at the Royal. Wow. As the MC, Lucas Meyers, so aptly said, “Expect the unexpected.” (or something like that.) Nothing else describes the essence of the six performances better than “unexpected”.
The six performances in a nutshell:
- Kids performing Shakespeare’s 12th Night
- Nelson Youth Theatre presents its annual performance of Shakespeare in Gyro Park, with one show only on Friday at 2:00. Do not miss this. Jaw dropping to see kids perform Shakespeare like it’s no thing. I have attended in the past, and this is an afternoon in the park well spent.
- A piece called “The Silent Party Interlude” that is anything but silent
- Devon More has toured this piece across Canada, which, through poetry, song, wordsmithery, and ukelele, is the “unexpected indie hit” and “impressive” show that she is looking forward to bringing to Nelson. I cannot wait. Seriously. Awesome preview.
- A one-man performance of “Tommy”
- Kevin Armstrong left Nelson to become an opera singer, and now he’s back with his one-man performance of the Who’s “Tommy”. Need I say more?
- Lisel Forst (I cannot begin to describe her preview, but I need to see her full performance now.)
- Honestly, the show is called “A Show” and from the second she walked on stage, I was hooked. I have no idea what it is “about”, but in this post-post-post modern era, is that even the point?
- Chimera Theatre Company will finally let us know: ‘Was it a racoon?” —
- In “One Day”, a night in a haunted house reveals more about the people in the house than the mystery of the house itself. Intriguing, and I was left wanting to know more. Awesomeness.
- The Break/Contemporary Circus gave us a performance of “The Heart”
- Unfortunately, if you were not at the Opening Gala, you missed out. Big time. Sorry. After this performance, conversations in the room centered around talking about the depth and meaning behind the piece. Things were said to me like, “This performance was one of the best I have ever seen.” The heart and soul poured into the writing and choreography showed itself on stage. Raw, sweet and memorable. Also full of metaphor. We hope they’ll be back.
Bottom line, this is a weekend full of theatre that you want to get out and support. First of all, because the performances are awesome. Second of all, as Lucas Meyers said so well, because this is the inaugural event and Nelson needs a theatre festival. The support the festival gets this first year ensures that it keeps happening. So there’s just that much more reason to get off your bum and attend a few events.
And, of course, the entire $10 you pay to attend each performance goes directly to the performer. So cool. The entire schedule is located on the very well designed website, at www.outskirtstheatre.com. Performances happen Thursday, Friday and Saturday, mostly in the evening.
The one exception to this is the Nelson Youth Theatre performance, which happens Friday at 2:00 in Gyro Park.
- Kevin Armstrong performs his One Man Tommy at Cafe Memento on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
- Devon More performs her Silent Party Interlude at Cafe Memento on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
- Lisel Forst performs her A Show at the Old Church Hall on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
- Chimera Theatre Company performs One Day at the Old Church Hall on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
And, as mentioned previously, Break/Contemporary Circus performed The Heart one time only on Wednesday at the Opening Gala.
Kudos to the Organizers & Behind-the-Scenes People:
Sam Van Schie organized this festival, with lots of input from the theatre community in Nelson. After the Opening Gala and considerable thought about what it must have taken to pull this off, I just wanted to hug her. I think I may have scared her. I am impressed and full of admiration for the work she has done. (Certainly, with the help of tons of loyal volunteers. I saw people hurrying about all evening, making sure that this was a success.) Eli Geddis created the website, which is awesome. I get the impression that he helped out a lot to make this happen. Christopher Gibbs catered the food for the Opening Night Gala, which was outstanding. When the invitation says “appetizers” and you are left feeling like you had a wonderful dinner, that says something. I found out later from the owner of the Royal that Christopher is a Red Seal chef who wanted to support this local festival. Awesome.
If you are in Nelson, or can make it to Nelson this weekend, attend as many of the performances as you can. You can thank me later. And if you need a place to stay while in Nelson, make sure to visit the Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism website for great suggestions of places to stay.