There is now but one short month between us and the resonating thud of the 2008 Magnetic North Theatre Festival landing in our backyard. It’s time to clear the decks and start preparing, so we’re going to be making a lot of fuss about it here at The Next Stage. This is such a cool and Canadian cultural event we’re quite beside ourselves. First off, a little bit about the festival itself.
Positioned as Canada’s National Festival of Contemporary Canadian Theatre in English (gasp), Mag North was summoned into being a mere 6 years ago by the Canadian Theatre Festival Society after two years of research and feasibility studies. Rooted in Ottawa, it was decided at its inception that to truly nationalize the idea of celebrating and propagating our theatre the festival should go out to the nation instead of always making the nation come to it, thus every evenly numbered year it travels to a new city, and oddly numbered years it mounts in its home town of Ottawa. The road show has landed in St. John’s and Edmonton prior to its debut here on the Left Coast.
Artistic Director Ken Cameron sayeth:
“Vancouver has emerged over the past decade as one of the most exciting theatre cities in Canada. The city’s fantastic artists are among the nation’s best and the audiences are sophisticated, adventurous and enthusiastic. This magic combination allows us to present a festival that showcases some of the nations’ most interesting artists and highlights the broad range of what theatre can be and what theatre can do. I am tremendously excited to share this line-up with the nation.”
Like our own PuSh festival, Mag North is a juried event with works selected on a criteria of their represention of excellence in Canadian theatre. As well as bringing some of the best of the nation’s theatre artists to our city, the festival is a forum for them to market their work to national and international presenters and touring venues. This year the festival features 53 performances of 10 works in the main program at 8 venues.
Total attendance for last year’s festival was over 9,000, I say we can beat that. Keep checking back for all the details on the various shows, as well as the amazing adjunct programs that come bundled with the festival. This is shaping up to be Vancouver’s year for theatre.
June 4-14, 2008