Putting the Spark into live theatre

The Belfry Theatre's fourth annual Spark Festival brings explosive, electrifying and seriously funny shows to Victoria audiences.

  • Mar. 14, 2012 6:00 p.m.

Ingrid Hansen (main photo) premieres her new SNAFU Dance Theatre piece, Kitt and Jane (inset, top) at Spark Fest alongside Shane Koyczan, Fish Eyes and Goodness.

Get ready for two explosive, electrifying and seriously funny weeks at the fourth annual Spark Festival — the Belfry Theatre’s festival of new plays and new ideas.

Featuring four world-class Canadian plays, a number of miniplays and new play readings (including a first reading by Theatre SKAM’s Matthew Payne and his show My Memory’s Not So Good, Mon., March 19 at 7 p.m.), three professional development workshops and one huge party smack-dab in the middle of the madness.

The festival kicked off March 12 and runs until March 25.

The Belfry’s artistic director, Michael Shamata, says Spark Festival is a great chance for Victoria’s theatre audiences to check out some of the most innovative shows in the country.

“These shows have all been met with some acclaim elsewhere in Canada,” says Shamata. “The idea is that they are innovative in some way, shape or form — either the way they tell their story or the story they’re telling.”

The first week’s big shows are Michael Redhill’s (Toronto) award-winning autobiographical play Goodness dealing with genocide, and the world premiere of Kitt and Jane by locals Snafu Dance Theatre.

Next week features Bollywood dance and cultural misappropriation with Fish Eyes by Anita Majumdar and the spoken word prowess of Shane Koyczan’s (Penticton) look back in When I Was a Kid.

Interspersed throughout are more than 40 free events, including mini-plays presented in some of the more non-traditional performance spaces throughout the building (like stairwells and washrooms, so get there early as there’s limited capacity), and readings of some new plays including the Belfry’s Home is a Beautiful Word, a verbatim piece based on more than a year of interviews with citizens in Victoria dealing with homelessness (Tues, March 20, 7 p.m., free. A second reading will be held Sat., March 24 at 4 p.m. Talkbacks will be held after each performance).

Three professional development workshops are also available, tackling Creation, Lighting Design and Bollywood with various presenters throughout the week.

New this year, the Belfry is teaming up with Intrepid Theatre to present La Compagnie Chaliwate’s production of Josephina, a piece of mysterious physical theatre about the relationship between a man and a woman (Spark Pass holders get a $11 discount on tickets to Josephina, March 20-21 at the Metro Theatre).

It all wraps up with Belfry 101 Live, a show created by the high school students in the Belfry 101 program (Sun., March 25, 8 p.m.).

Spark Passes are on sale for $74 (season ticket holders only $64), which includes four ticket vouchers (transferable, and includes discounts on Josephina). Otherwise tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for post-secondary students and $10 for high school students. Call 250-385-6815 or visit belfry.bc.ca. M


Check out interviews with Shane Koyczan SNAFU Dance Theatre’s Ingrid Hansen and Kathleen Greenfield in the entertainment section of mondaymag.com

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