THE BATTLEFORDS — For the first time since 2017, the Battleford Community Players (BCP) in partnership with Theatre Saskatchewan, will be hosting Saskatchewan's 87th Theatre Festival this April 21 to 27 at the Dekker Centre for the Performing Arts.
Donna Challis with BCP, said that although some information isn't ready to be made public yet, the competitive community theatre festival known as TheatreFest, will likely bring at least seven community theatre groups from across the province to the Battlefords.
"So we're excited about it. Part of the [festival], of course, is a play every evening," Challis said, explaining that every evening will feature a performance from one of the theatre groups, followed by workshops each day and awards at the end of the festival.
The workshops could range from teaching about movement or voice to focusing on directing or mime, though Challis isn't sure if there will be a small fee attached at this time.
But regardless of cost, Challis said that the festival serves as an opportunity to learn about theatre while making it accessible to the public.
"So really anybody that has any interest in theatre, from around this area, we're bringing this awful close to them," she said.
"It's meant to be a very much a learning experience for everybody ... it's a celebration of theatre," she added.
Challis noted that the theatre groups who will be attending will be announced soon, along with the plays they will perform.
Tickets, with daily rates or a week-long package, are expected to go on sale sometime at the end of February or early March.
Community Players looking for support
"So we've got a partner [Theatre Saskatchewan] in this, but obviously, it takes a lot of people and a lot of support to make sure such an event is financially and culturally successful," Challis said.
She told the News-Optimist that they're looking for community support ranging from helping to sponsor the festival, donations-in-kind, purchasing tickets as they become available or volunteering to support the festival.
"There are lots of things that people can do to help us," she said, adding that it goes beyond financial support.
"We need people that are just willing to take tickets or, you know, stuff envelopes or whatever. There's lots to be done to make it a success. We need hosts, people to take tickets," she said.
When asked how BCP is feeling, despite the work the festival poses, she said,
"Certainly, we see it as a very much a win-win situation. It's bringing community theatre to the Battlefords. And it's a fundraising opportunity for the BCP as well.
More available will be announced soon as details are finalized.