InspiraTO Festival Shifts the Ten-Minute Play Experience
Canada’s largest ten-minute play festival returns in June
Toronto, Ontario, May 3, 2016 – Theatre InspiraTO, producers of Canada’s largest ten-minute play festival, The InspiraTO Festival, kicks off its 11th season on June 2. The festival will showcase the work of 24 writers from around the globe, whose plays were selected out of record-breaking 721 submissions. Performances will run over the course of two weeks at Toronto’s historic Alumnae Theatre.
InspiraTO pushes boundaries. No other ten minute play festival in the world offers such a range of innovative programming. Here are five InspiraTO initiatives that elevate the ten-minute play experience:
1. COHESIVE DELIVERY
Each year the festival has a theme that all submissions must address. This year’s theme is “shift”. Many other ten-minute play festivals have themes but InspiraTO takes this one step further by dividing the plays into four shows that have their own sub-themes. Each show is 60 minutes long (six plays), which means you can easily see two or three back-to-back. There are also pre and post-show talkbacks about InspiraTO’s creative process.
2. HANDS-ON TRAINING FOR ARTISTS
InspiraTO is passionate about supporting local talent, providing experience and training to emerging playwrights, directors and actors. Through formal playwriting and director academies, participants gain hands-on experience through development of their own work in the festival. Of particular note is the newly launched Theatre InspiraTO Directing Academy led by Andreja Kovac, a professional theatre director with extensive experience in Europe and Canada.
3. A PLATFORM FOR DIVERSE VOICES
Most theatre productions have small casts with long lead times, making it a highly competitive environment. Over 100 artists participate in InspiraTO each season, giving more people the opportunity to shine in lead roles where they may not get a chance to otherwise. What is particularly noticeable is the make-up of the audience and artists who are much more representative of Toronto’s multicultural landscape. This upcoming season 40 per cent of playwrights and 45 per cent of the directors are women, far above the industry norm.
4. INNOVATIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY AND SPACE
With no intermissions and quick set changes, audiences experience what is akin to a full length play. There is little time for elaborate sets. To counteract the basic set design, visually stunning projections, put together by Associate Artistic Director Lumir Hladik, are used to captivate audiences. Not to be outdone by high tech, InspiraTO also offers intimate high touch theatre in the Alumnae’s smaller Studio and Trinity spaces.
5. AUDIENCE FEEDBACK
A ten-minute play needs to build fascinating characters, interesting dialogue and a compelling story, which is no mean feat. Audiences get a chance to vote for their favourite plays with the winners announced at the finale awards ceremony on the last day. This is the ultimate test – how audiences and participants respond.
“The one element that stands out all night (and one gets the feeling that it extends throughout the festival) is the energy and enthusiasm of all players involved. Everyone – actors, writers, directors and designers – truly believe in what they are doing and in the power of theatre. In the presence of such passion, one can’t help but feel inspired. The audience is also a strong believer in what is happening onstage. And with good reason – there is some excellent work to be found here.”
- Ben Ross, The Theatre Reader, review of InspiraTO’s 2015 Festival
11TH INSPIRATO THEATRE FESTIVAL LINE UP
Alumnae Theatre, Mainstage, Studio and Trinity spaces
June 2-11, 2016
Tickets: $25; Festival Pass: $80 (four shows)
Further details can be found at www.theatreinspirato.ca.
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