Nakai’s “Buffet of Theatre”

The Nakai Theatre is revving up for its biannual Homegrown Theatre, a self-described fringe-type series of performances geared toward randomness, the unique, and getting theatre goers excited about the surplus of talent hidden right here in the Yukon.

Artistic Director David Skelton, currently swamped by preparations, snatched a moment out of his schedule to give me the run down on how the Homegrown Theatre works: “It’s run out of the Guild Hall, from May 11 to 16. We can have up to 10 performances a night, audiences pay a flat $10 entrance fee and have the option of staying for every performance that evening.

“It’s great value for the money,” Skelton adds with a laugh.

Homegrown Theatre was created in 2004, and this is its fourth run — the program is still young, according to Skelton.

Based on fringe-type performances, prospective theatre directors or performers submit their ideas to the Nakai based on Skelton’s call out for acts last fall. Skelton and Nakai review the submissions and help the artists put on the show.

“We supply the support, tech work, a venue, a small amount of marketing and cover a part of the costs to put it on,” says Skelton.

Nakai also runs a series of workshops free of charge to artists and Whitehorse residents before the Homegrown Theatre launches. “It’s designed as a learning process, to help established directors and performers as well as the amateurs,” adds Skelton.

This year’s schedule is jam-packed with performances. When Skelton calculated that an audience member would have to go four days out of six to see every show, you know he’s not kidding around.

Professionals rub shoulders with first-run amateurs.

Some of the standouts in this year’s Homegrown have never stepped foot on a stage before. Skelton mentions a play that he’s looking forward to, Peter Jickling’s Syphilis: A Love Story. It’s a quirky tale about a disillusioned writer who is forced to take a job writing pamphlets about syphilis, and then works to elevate the lowly venereal-disease writing to a higher art form, with twists and turns along the way.

Mingling professionals like Celia McBride with GITA: God In The Army with relative playwright newcomers like Jickling is a daring grab-bag of performances.

“That’s what makes these programs so fun,” says Skelton. “The audience never quite knows what to expect, and some of these amateurs I know we’ll see in the future.”

Performances range from short 10-minute solos, to two-act masterpieces and the range of styles varies wildly, from plays, monologues, poetry, musicals, cabaret to good old improv.

Skelton encourages audiences to take that leap of faith and experience Homegrown Theatre, community Yukon theatre at its finest.

Tickets are available in advance at Whitehorse Motors on 4th Avenue, or at the doors of the Guild Hall. The schedule of events is ever changing, so Skelton recommends checking the schedule on the day of each performance session.

Check out for a schedule of events and information on each show.

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