Introducing the next generation of Vancouver playwrights

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The 2014 edition of Brave New Play Rites includes Drifting by Christopher Evans, featuring Simon McIntyre and Taylor Scott, and directed by Jamie King. Photo by Justin Neal.

A co-production of the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing and Theatre departments, the Brave New Play Rites Festival brings together nearly 60 playwrights, directors, actors and designers for five days of short plays and staged readings.

Now in its 28th year, many of the scripts produced at Brave New Play Rites over the years have gone on to stages around the world and many of festival’s alumni are now prominent members of Vancouver’s artistic community including Dave Deveau, C.E. Gatchalian, Maureen Medved, Aaron Bushkowsky, Steven Galloway, Briana Brown and Jordan Hall.

Looking to join that illustrious group, twenty-one students from the next generation of Vancouver playwrights will present their fifteen minute plays, exploring contemporary issues here and around the globe, including two with queer themes.

Gay author Aaron Chan steps from behind the lens with the somehow appropriate In the Movies, the story of an average gay Chinese man, with a slightly above average husband, who is faced with a big surprise when his first boyfriend shows up on his doorstep sixteen years after their last encounter.

In an·thro·poph·a·gy, two women on a dinner date have secrets revealed and lives are changed all before dessert. Queer-identified actor Angie Lopez does double duty in this year’s festival, as both one of the women in an·thro·poph·a·gy, and as the title role in Diana, Huntress based on the real-life killer of bus drivers and avenger of sexual violence in Juarez, Mexico.

This year’s Festival also includes a family drama set in the Philippines, an exploration of the Boston Marathon bombing, an encounter with Tinkerbell, a married couple examining their relationship while drifting in a lifeboat off the coast of Victoria BC, and a skewed Godot riff with two guys in a bar.

The 2014 edition of Brave New Play Rites includes Drifting by Christopher Evans, featuring Simon McIntyre and Taylor Scott, and directed by Jamie King. Photo by Justin Neal.

The 2014 edition of Brave New Play Rites includes Drifting by Christopher Evans, featuring Simon McIntyre and Taylor Scott (above), and directed by Jamie King. Photo by Justin Neal.

Along with the main stage productions, the Staged Reading Series this year is getting a bump into the spotlight with nine new works in development to be directed by professionals from the Vancouver theatre community.  Rumble Theatre’s Peter Boychuk and Brave New alumnus and playwright Wade Kinley have been working with playwrights and actors to help realize those scripts.

“In the end, the only way to learn how to be a playwright is by getting your plays produced. Brave New Play Rites provides a vital first opportunity for student playwrights to get to work with trained actors, directors and designers, and then watch how an audience responds,” says Boychuk of the Festival.

The Brave New Play Rites Festival plays The Dorothy Somerset Studio Theatre at the University of British Columbia from March 26-30.  Visit http://bravenew.ca for tickets and information.

Mark Robins on Google+

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