Tiffany Ayalik stars in Café Daughter March 20 to 24 during the Belfry Theatre’s SPARK Festival. Photo contributed

Belfry Theatre brings a SPARK to the stage

Annual live theatre festival offers a wide range of subjects and styles

From March 8 to 25, the Belfry Theatre presents its annual SPARK Festival, highlighting some of the best new theatre in Canada.

Highlights of this year’s festival include True Crime (performed by Torquil Campbell with live music by Julian Brown), the return of Daniel MacIvor with his piece, Who Killed Spalding Gray?, and Inuit actor and storyteller, Tiffany Ayalik in Café Daughter (based on the true story of Senator Lillian Eva Quan Dyck).

Iconic musician and provocateur Campbell was inspired by real life con-man Clark Rockefeller. Now serving a life sentence in California, Rockefeller duped hundreds into believing he was the scion of the wealthy clan, with cataclysmic consequences. Check out Vanity Fair’s “The Man in the Rockefeller Suit” for the full story.

Torquil’s dogged investigation and impersonation challenges us to find the truth in True Crime and confront our cultural addiction to a good story.

On March 12, at an undisclosed location, the Belfry invites the audience to be a part of an exhilarating choral adventure. Why We Are Here!, created by Brian Quirt and Martin Julien, is a unique and standalone experience that invites audience members to become a choir and sing in a site that they would not normally be able to sing in.

MacIvor has been called Canada’s Spalding Gray, so it’s especially intriguing to see one monologist take on another in that production, running March 13 to 17. MacIvor has always pushed and reshaped the boundaries of a good story and to see him perform is a real treat.

On March 18, The Belfry will host the New Play Cabaret, featuring new work from UVic’s Creative Writing Department, read by UVic Theatre students. Intrepid Theatre’s Sean Guist will direct a reading of Jordan Tannahill’s Sunday in Sodom on March 19. Both readings are free events.

Ayalik performs Café Daughter in a series of shows March 20 to 24, with the script written by Kenneth T. Williams as adapted from his book. It’s a powerful, funny and touching tale of one woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage.

Also that week Calgary’s Ghost River Theatre offers up an unforgettable immersive audio experience created for a blindfolded audience. That’s right: everyone in the audience will be given their own set of headphones and blindfolded to experience Tomorrow’s Child, adapted from Ray Bradbury’s short story by writers Eric Rose, Matthew Waddell and David van Belle.

SPARK closes March 25 with Belfry 101 Live – a show created by the students of Belfry 101 in response to the performances they’ve seen at the theatre over the past seven months. Their remarkable take on the themes and stories they’ve witnessed is always eye-opening.

Scattered throughout SPARK are a host of free events, including concerts, an all-ages dance party (Hootenanny on March 11), and the perennially popular mini-plays – 10-minute plays performed throughout the building.

For information and showtimes visit sparkfestival.ca.

editor@mondaymag.com

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