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Photo courtesy of #FreshMeat4.

DIY theatre fest asks: “What is a play?”

By Madeleine McGreevy on October 5, 2015



“Theatre”, as we know it, will be turned on its head starting next weekend. Fresh Meat 4: DIY Theatre Fest runs from October 15-17 and 22-24 at Arts Court Studio.

Ten local theatre companies including THUNK!theatre, Filament Théâtre, egodeath and more, will perform original, twenty minute works that test the limits of live theatre. Artists have been given just a few months to create pieces that push the boundaries, experiment, and bring something new to the table.

Audiences can expect to see five completely different shows each weekend. The line-up includes comedy, clown, dance pieces and more serious shows, to be performed by solo artists, two-handers, and bigger groups. Each night will be hosted by a different member of the Ottawa arts community. The opening night party (Thursday, October 15 at 10:15pm) will feature performance art by Danica Olders and Laura Acosta, and tunes by DJ Rosstronica.

static1.squarespace.comThe independent festival, now in its fourth year, offers a unique opportunity for local artists to share their art. “They’re passion projects. We’re giving people a chance to tell the stories they really want to tell, ideas they’ve had that might not work in more traditional theatre settings,” says Madeleine Hall, festival co-founder and media and marketing manager. “People are really getting into the spirit of experimentation…we have one show, by THUNK!theatre, that is actually being performed by the audience and conducted by the performers,” she continues.

Fresh Meat strives to bring theatre to non-theatre audiences. “It’s a good place to start for someone who is interested in seeing theatre but is a little bit overwhelmed by sitting through two hours of a play,” Hall says.

When the festival began in 2012, its mandate was to focus on providing opportunities, and, importantly, a platform, for emerging artists. “It was this hunger- this need to make shows and have someone to put them up,” says Hall, of the motivation to start the festival.

However, Fresh Meat soon found that established artists were also interested in participating, and opened its doors to this demographic, “as long as they are doing new partnerships, new creations, or pushing the boundaries of what they normally do,” says Emily Carvell, festival co-founder and festival director.

The inclusion of established artists also provides an opportunity for future collaboration. “A recent graduate that’s never done a show before is performing immediately after two established artists- and now suddenly they’re peers, and they get to swap stories in the green room. It bridges a gap,” Hall says.

Fresh Meat 4: DIY Theatre Fest runs from October 15-17 and 22-24, 2015 at Arts Court Studio. Tickets are $20-25 per evening, which includes five shows. The ‘Fresh 44’ combo is available at the door, which includes two tickets and two drinks for $44. Doors are at 7pm and the show begins at 8pm. Cash bar on site.