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Youth Infringement Festival brings new Ottawa plays to your screen—May 6 to 9

By Samara Caplan and Laura Gauthier on May 5, 2021



Laura and Samara spend their days as non-profit unicorns and fill every spare minute exploring the world of musical theatre as BFFs (that’s Broadway Friends Forever). Follow @bffs613 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The Ottawa Youth Infringement Festival (YIF) is celebrating its 23rd year and bringing six new original plays by local Ottawa youth (aged 15 to 25) right to our homes, virtually from May 6 to 9.

This arts festival provides the opportunity for Ottawa youth to produce original work and for artistic and personal growth through practical experience, collaboration, and mentorship. The YIF was started in 1998 by two high school students who wanted to create more opportunities for creative expression through partnership with professional mentors. In the last 22 years of the festival, it has been run entirely by young people. Each year, writers and directors under 25 are paired with a local professional theatre artist to support the creation of six original works.

The 2021 festival will include:

  • Stevie Nicks Is My Girlfriend, about a lie that spirals way, *way* out of control
  • Oh Boy!, which explores a… challenging family dynamic at a restaurant in Ingersoll, Ontario
  • A Gentleman’s Dispute, an absurdist romp surrounding an unpolished wine glass
  • Twelve Hundred, a narrative of memories, calculations, passions, and struggles with food
  • The Coven, which follows magic travelling through generations and across countries to tell the story of one family dealing with intergenerational trauma and repairing mistakes of the past to build a brighter future
  • Signal Breakdown, which focuses on a marriage in peril and what happens when love breaks down.

You can see the full festival lineup and performance dates on their website.

Andrew Kellie, one of the festival producers, is excited about this year’s online format. “Virtual theatre has opened a lot of really interesting possibilities, and our teams have been able to do some super creative stuff! It’s been great seeing folks trying new things out and pushing the medium of theatre forward—I’m really excited for everyone to see the performances.”

We know the past year has been a challenging one for the arts. It has impacted not only people’s livelihoods but a lot of their ability to explore, create and share their art. We’ve seen now more than ever the importance of art for both creators and audiences, and the struggle to get through an already tense, stressful and unpredictable time without that source of release. That’s why opportunities like the ones YIF provides are so important. Through the pandemic, they are a supportive and empowering space for creative expression for new and upcoming young artists in Ottawa.

We are excited to see what the youth of Ottawa will share this season and, with pay-what-you-choose ticket prices starting at $5, the Ottawa Youth Infringement Festival is bringing accessible theatre to creators and audiences alike.

The Ottawa Youth Infringement Festival takes place from May 6–9. The festival alternates three shows each night with shows starting at 7pm, along with two matinée performances of To Be Honest on the weekend. Tickets are pay-what-you-choose starting at $5 and are currently available for sale on the YIF website.