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Image courtesy of Fresh Meat Festival.

Nothing but world premieres in the Fresh Meat theatre festival lineup

By Greggory Clark on September 12, 2017



Today, curators announced the 12 new shows being put on at Fresh Meat in October. Every work is a world premiere; selected by the producers for being a starkly original concept. “No idea is too simple and nothing is too out there,” says co-producer Madeleine Hall.

Each year, theatre makers are invited to create and perform new 20-minute shows at the indie festival. Fresh Meat 6 (October 12–21, 2017) will be an artistic playground; a unique opportunity for Ottawa artists to play with new ideas in front of an ardent, perceptive audience. Their works tend toward the experimental – at odds with traditional boundaries of theatre – and this 2017 lineup looks to be as freaky as ever.

Photo provided by E T E R N I T Y.

Photo provided by E T E R N I T Y.

Esteemed pros like Kristina WattAlan Shain and Frank Hull will brush shoulders with emerging artists – proving you’re never past the point of being able to reinvent yourself and try something new. Fresh Meat is a place where artists of all levels meet as equals. They’re all performers with stories they want to share.

Alan Shain will make his Fresh Meat debut.

Alan Shain will make his Fresh Meat debut.

Career artists Marc-André Charette and Anie Richer will take to the stage with La disparation, performed in French with English surtitles. Le Crip Bleu is a power-wheelchair-burlesque show performed by collaborators Alan Shain and Frank Hull. Watt’s new show Holding Mercury is a solo piece inspired by 77 poems she wrote in 90 days. She has won three Prix Rideau Awards for her performances. 

Another crop of artists –  either new to town or fresh out of theatre school – will be making their Ottawa debuts at Fresh Meat 6.

Kelsey Rideout is an Ottawa-born multidisciplinary artist who returned to her hometown this year to launch a new theatre company. Rideout is bringing her newest show a n X i e t y w o m X n to Fresh Meat.

a n X i e t y w o m X n. Photo provided by Kelsey Rideout.a n X i e t y w o m X n. Photo provided by Kelsey Rideout.

Maritime expats Luke Brown and Kyle Cameron have devised Honey Dew Me, a new play about Canada’s crackdown on queer people in the 1960s and 70s (because queers were perceived as security threats during the Cold War). Some cruised in public parks and Ottawa restaurants like the old Honey Dew on Rideau Street. 

Michaela Steven, a stage manager who has worked in theatre production for years, will make her creative debut performing Beer Buddies, an original solo show.

“No idea is too simple and nothing is too out there.” 

Festival producers have brought back The Little Black Box for 2017. Two 10-minute shows will be performed in the pop-up venue, which is normally a storage closet at Arts Court. This unique side stage was a popular addition to the festival in 2016, attracting adventurous theatregoers to interactive pieces in a tight space.

You can expect both shows in The Little Black Box to be interactive. “It’s a much less passive experience,” says Madeleine Hall. “You don’t really know what they’re going to do with the space.” Gabrielle Lazarovitz will invite audiences of one into the closet for her new play, The ‘I’m Not a Doctor’ Sleep Clinic. Lauren Cauchy, Alli Harris and Amanda Logan aka Toasted Theatre Company will perform Badges in The Little Black Box.

FM6 PosterNow a mainstay in the Ottawa theatre season, Fresh Meat has presented more than 50 world premieres of short plays and paid more than $20,000 to local creators for their work. The festival plays a key role in the steady stream of exciting new work being created in Ottawa, seeing as many artists use Fresh Meat as a testing ground before creating a new full-length show.

This year alone, Burnt by Norah Paton (Fresh Meat 3) made it into the undercurrents festival and Ethel by Madeleine Hall (Fresh Meat 4) was named “Best Show” at the Ottawa Fringe Festival. This month, Awoken by Nicholas Amott (Fresh Meat 2) has a run at The Gladstone. Seedlings planted at Fresh Meat have been produced at the National Arts Centre and festivals across Canada.

Fresh Meat 6 runs for two weekends from October 12–21 at Arts Court Studio (2 Daly Avenue). Tickets cost $10–20 online. Visit for the 2017 lineup and schedule.