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Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer
Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production Gender Sucks! in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)

Due to international travel limitations, this year’s Nanaimo Fringe Festival will be an all-B.C. affair and there are still five spaces available for local and provincial productions.

Last week Fringe announced that it is accepting submissions to its artist lottery to determine which plays will make up this year’s festival. At this stage only a title and premise are required of the playwrights, and those details may still change before showtime. The deadline to submit is March 31.

Three central-Island playwrights and two more from outside the region will be chosen to take part in the festival, scheduled to take place from Aug. 12 to 22. They will join six other entrants who were drawn in last year’s lottery and were permitted to defer or re-stage their production this year due to COVID-19 interfering with last year’s festival.

The returning artists are Willem Roelants and Daniel Puglas of Nanaimo, Connor Runnings from Lasqueti Island, Bucket Head Theatre from Victoria, Handmade Ivy Productions from Saanich and Story Envelope Theatre from Vancouver.

Nanaimo Fringe artistic managing producer Bryony Dixon said the goal for this year is to stage productions in small venues and outdoors in places like the Old City Quarter and downtown during the night market if that event resumes this summer. She added that thanks to their experience presenting an online festival last year, Fringe is “well positioned to pivot it into being online if we need to.”

“We want to be in-person and having streaming capabilities but the idea is to get people back together, hopefully, if we can,” Dixon said.

To apply for the 2021 Nanaimo Fringe Festival, click here.

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