Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Western Edge Theatre Birthday Bash


Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre is a fresh-faced 10-year old, and the company plans to celebrate with a birthday party and fundraiser on March 7th.

Founded in 2003 by Frank Moher, an internationally-produced playwright and instructor in the Department of Creative Writing and Journalism at Vancouver Island University, Western Edge aimed to provide paid opportunities to Nanaimo-area theatre artists, and more opportunities for central Vancouver Island audiences to enjoy their work. Its first presentation, "Sharing Shakespeare," featuring Gabriola's Antony Holland, was staged in a studio at the Harbour Dance Centre. That was followed by the company’s first New Waves Festival of new plays, held at a local blues bar.

Since then Western Edge has presented over 35 productions, including numerous world, North American, and Canadian premieres, and employed over 175 Nanaimo-area artists and technicians. The company has emphasized contemporary plays that often push the envelope in terms of both content and style.

In January, Eliza Gardiner succeeded Moher as artistic producer, and immediately scored a hit with her sold-out production of Michel Tremblay’s “Hosanna” at Nanaimo Centre Stage. Like many 10-year olds, the company has a lot to celebrate.

Which it will do when it takes over the second floor of Fibber Magees Irish Restaurant and Pub, located in Nanaimo’s historic and beautifully restored E&N train station. The evening’s festivities will include Antony Holland and Antonio Gradanti, who starred in “Tuesdays with Morrie,” one of the company’s biggest hits, in a send-up of same written by Moher; Drew Staniland reviving a song from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” which he headlined at Western Edge in 2009; a preview of the upcoming Western Edge production of “Savage in Limbo”; and new artistic producer Gardiner rocking out on guitar.

And oh yes: cake.

The March 7th Birthday Celebration gets underway at 7 pm at Fibber Magees (321 Selby St.). Tickets cost $20.00, of which a portion is tax-deductible. Free appies will also be served, and dinner and beverages are purchasable from Fibber Magees. Ages 19+ only. Tickets are available online at westernedge.org, by phone at 250-668-0991 or 1-888-320-3343, and at the door as available.

Proceeds go towards the company's second decade, including its production of "Savage in Limbo," opening March 22nd at Nanaimo Centre Stage.


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