Neanderthal Arts Festival premiers next week

A HUGE up to the brains behind Left Right Minds and Upintheair Theatre for taking the mammoth by the horns and kick-starting a brand new indie theatre festival in Vancouver. Taking its cues from Toronto’s Summerworks, Neanderthal is a juried fest that includes both local and national works, 6 in total. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure about the name when I first heard it, but their smart marketing and terrific branding won me over, and the festivals tag line revealed its brilliance:

Boom. Love it. Break a bunch you guys, here’s to a long and lucrative evolution.

Click here for the official web site

Name Vancouver’s new independent theatre festival

A brand spankin’ new indie theatre festival is in the works here in Vancouver – it’s the new project of the boys at Upintheairtheatre (the Walking Fish Festival) and the heads of Left Right Minds and Machine Fair (Plank Magazine). The inaugural fest is scheduled for this July, with no venues or specific performance dates yet announced. The break-down is thus:

Based on Toronto’s successful, SummerWorks, the Festival will provide a platform for theatre artists to showcase and try out new and experimental work. The objective is to feature work that takes risks, is creative and has a clear artistic vision. At the same time, the work should be accessible and engaging for an anticipated audience of 20-40 year olds.

The working title for the festival is Evolution, but the organizers are looking to give the community a bit of ownership with the branding out of the gate and have announced a name-the-festival competition. The author of the winning moniker will receive two free passes to the festival, and bragging rights. Here’s some concept tags the organizers have been playing with, by way of guidelines:

Excitement, Summer, Performance, Innovation, Experimental, East Vancouver, Fresh, Inclusion, Quality, Neighbourhood, West Coast

Send your idea, name, email address and contact phone number to: summerfestival@upintheairtheatre.com

The deadline for submission of ideas is January 31st.

A new indie theatre festival? Here in no-fun city? This is incredibly exciting news, and they’re smart to model it after Summerworks, now an institution in Toronto that was started as a Fringe-like lottery fest by five buddies in 1991 and went fully juried in 2004. A similar festival here could go a long way towards increasing the quality and quantity of new works. And more notice in the media!

Great stuff, can’t wait to hear more.