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UpStart 2018: Festival of Innovative Theatre opens March 14

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Three original performances will be staged this week in (and around) Theatre of the Arts. UpStart is a biannual one-act play festival, featuring new works written, directed, designed, and performed by students under the mentorship of faculty and staff from the Theatre and Performance program (Department of Drama & Speech Communication).

Each UpStart evening will begin in the lobby of the Modern Languages building at 7:30pm with the first of three instalments of Hamlet Reworked, adapted and performed by Gareth Potter, a 15-year veteran actor of the Stratford Festival who recently enrolled as an undergraduate at UWaterloo. Set outside the traditional performance space, this solo reworking of a classic text reconsiders mortality, grief, and the nature of live theatre. By deconstructing and reassembling Shakespeare’s Hamlet in a personal manner, what more can we learn about his most famous play?  The second instalment will be set during intermission in the theatre lobby, with the final instalment closing the evening onstage.

In the theatre itself, the audience will experience director Brooke Barnes’ production of The Game of String. Written by recent Theatre and Performance graduate Jenn Addesso, The Game of String explores the relationship between our curated social media personas and who we are in reality. In the digital world, we find ourselves in competition with others. When we die, is the digital persona we leave behind authentic to who we really were? 


"Speaking from experience, this kind of hands-on practice gives students a skill set that they couldn’t get out of a traditional classroom setting." – Brooke Barnes, Theatre and Performance student, UpStart director

Also staged in the theatre proper will be Hopscotch, written by Joanna Cleary and directed by Rebecca Reid. The story focuses on Eva, losing herself to the afterlife, and her childhood friend, Chloe, as they revisit their shared past and fight to keep memories of one another alive. Through honesty, pain, love, and hopscotch, they learn what it means to truly remember. 

Originally an extracurricular event produced by students, the Theatre and Performance program incorporated the UpStart festival into the formal curriculum in 2016, increasing mentorship, practice-based learning, and critical reflection for the students. For audiences, the new UpStart promises high production values and an exciting glimpse into the ideas and works of student-artists. UpStart runs March 14-19. See the details.

UpStart '18 video trailers by William Innes, an alumnus of the Theatre & Performance program.


"Theatre is more than a means of entertainment, it gives us a voice, and it’s a tool that can be used to help us establish who we are as individuals and how we make sense of the world." – Celena Alcock, Theatre and Performance student, UpStart video designer

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