Theatre spaces may have gone dark, but the world of online performance has lit up laptops and televisions, bringing the world of theatre into homes as the pandemic persists. University Players has taken the opportunity to reimagine live theatre, discovering new methods of delivering first-class semi-professional entertainment consistent with the longstanding reputation of the school and with UP.
The fall season brought audiences “The Stream You Step In,” a partnership with Outside the March, which provided students an opportunity to connect with playwrights and directors across Canada to create cutting-edge theatre in response to the pandemic. Now the winter semester will culminate in a similarly innovative project, this time focused on student works: the StartUP Theatre Festival.
Each of the 16 graduating BFA in Acting students will write and perform a 20-minute piece that showcases their talents. These short plays will be directed by professors Lee Wilson and Marc Bondy, and supported by the designers of the University Players staff.
“The StartUP festival gives each of our graduating BFA Acting students a chance to explore their voices as artists and creators,” says University Players marketing co-ordinator Kristen Siapas. “Our audiences will get the unique opportunity to see these emerging artists in their first digital plays, in a format that’s accessible to everyone.”The StartUP Theatre Festival opens May 5 with a premiere of the first show at 7 p.m. on YouTube. Each show runs approximately 20 minutes. Recommended for ages 14+. Tickets are pay-what-you-can with a recommended price of $5 per show. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at www.universityplayers.com.