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IGNITE Youth-Driven Arts Festival explodes with creativity

SFU student  Kaylin Metchie embraces the theatre process as a director for the One Act Theatre Festival.

During the week of May 14-19 at the Cultch, the Ingnite Youth-Driven Arts Festival sees hundreds of young people 13+ from Lower Mainland showcase music and dance, the world premiere of three one act plays, a visual arts exhibit and a variety show that includes improv, drag, circus acts, and much more.

The six-day event includes a music performance (Monday night) featuring every genre from jazz to beat box to indie-rock and an event called The Olivia Project (Thursday), named after one of those uber-competent  individuals who "could do everything" in which a multi-disciplinary 10-minute-piece is produced.Throw in a spoken word night (Tuesday), a dance night (Wednesday), a "Fruit Basket" (Friday) -- a burlesque, dance, gender performance where anyone dressed in drag gets in free -- and a grand "Finale" event (Saturday) that sees audience members donning their flashiest Saturday Night Fever garb for a Seventies party. On top of all this, film and visual arts willl be ongoing throughout the week, leaving locals with no excuse to complain that there's never any interesting things to see or do in the city.  

Gathering playwrights, directors, actors and their mentors, the one-act theatre festival couples established playwrights, directors and actors with the novices to ensure that the process is a learning one filled with both practical and aesthetic choices that are suitable.

I chatted with Kaylin Metchie during a break in a rehearsal of her play "Making Light", written by Josephine Mitchell. Metchie is a Communication and Theatre double major Candidate from Simon Fraser University. Having formed her own company,Psyche Theatre (, she is already an actor and a writer, and says she wanted to try her hand at directing and avail herself of the workshops that will benefit her when she graduates.

"Prior to the rehearsal process, we took workshops like marketing and grant writing," the articulate 23-year-old shared. "Being offered the supporting framework of the mentors, the other directors and everyone else involved is important to get into the arts community. If you don't know that many people, it gives you the opportunity to network."

Being a young artist means making mistakes, so Metchie believes this is an amazing opportunity to venture into creating art with a safety net.

"Young artists don't get enough apportunity to fail and the results can be devastating when they do," suggested Metchie. Conversely, when success approaches, finding a process that can ensure future success is paramount. This is what the mentors can help with.

For Metchie, she started with the practical questions of her mentor Kendra Fanconi. Co-artistic director of the Vancouver-based "The Only Animal", Fanconi is known for original mostly site specific work.

"During the first meetings, " Metchie explained,"I wanted to see how her theatrical history and process could enhance how I go about it. It's important to go into an art form from more than one narrow route."

Practical considerations like "how to set up the rehearsal schedule, when to require the actors to be off book, good vocal warm up exercises" then led into more sophisticated feedback like "what is the over arching thematic essence? What is the climax? It helped to clarify and identify the play." Telling the story of a man and a woman who end up in the middle of the woods at a campground needing to light a fire and much more, this one-act play is 40 minutes long. 

"As a theatre student at SFU in my last year, I wanted to expand my knowledge, outside of the school, to try my hand at directing. Ignite provides that for me."

Ignite Ticket Prices:

Youth(12-19) - $2

Students/Seniors - $6 +$3 YPF ticket add on for a show the same night

Adult - $10 + $5 tickett add on for the same night

All Access (adult) pass - $40

Box Office: 604-251-1363



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