It’s a ‘building year’ for Nakai

This year, Nakai Theatre will not be producing any plays.

David Skelton, Nakai’s artistic director, says the company will be concentrating, instead, on developing local scripts.

This means that instead of spending money on a venue and staffing to produce a play, it will use some of that money to bring up DD Kugler, a dramaturg from Simon Fraser University, to work with local playwrights.

And it will offer workshops and public readings and it will commission local plays for further development.

Then there will be the 24 Hour Playwriting Contest on Nov. 7 and 8 to create new scripts and polish others that had been stashed in a budding playwright’s drawer.

“I think Nakai is a resource for people,” says Skelton, “and I invite all theatre companies to come to us and say, ‘I need some help’.”

Skelton says it doesn’t matter if one of Nakai’s plays are produced by another company. All he cares is that another Yukon play is seen.

But this development year doesn’t mean there won’t be anything for audiences to attend. Nakai has signed up Jerome Stueart to produce the events that have been useful for developing playwrights.

The season starts with Nakai’s 30th Birthday Party at The Old Fire Hall on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. It will feature a reading from Peter Jickling’s new script, Syphillis: A Love Story. It emerged from last spring’s 24 Hour Playwriting Contest.

Then there is the 24 Hour Cabaret on Nov. 26 to see scenes from the 24 Hour Competition earlier that month.

From Jan. 26 to 31, the Pivot Festival will be headlined by Ron James, a popular comic who makes his third trip to the Yukon in recent years.

As well, Brian Fidler brings his new show, Broken, to the festival.

In May, the Homegrown Festival will present an assortment of “in-development plays, performances, routines, monologues, readings and diatribes”.

Meanwhile, Nakai has commissioned three other plays and will be guiding them further through its three-phased development process this year: Fragments for a Beautiful Dreamer, by Vancouver’s Tanya Marquardt, will have a workshop reading Oct. 3. It is a play that was inspired by many stories told to her by Yukoners on her previous visits.

On Oct. 11, at an event with Whitehorse Connects, Home will be read. It is a play by Judith Rudakoff, Joseph Tisiga and Skelton.

The last play is News: 2012 by Amber Walker.

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