In keeping with Magnetic North’s mandate as a national festival, this year’s edition of the Vancouver New Play Festival has a distinctly national feel. Moved from its usual May slot to June in order to coincide with Magnetic North, about half the scripts in this year’s play-reading series are from other parts of the country.
The New Play Festival – which opened last night with a playwrights cabaret – has been running for over 30 years and features staged readings of new scripts from a mixture of experienced and emerging playwrights. Not only are the readings a chance to hear new work in development, it is also an opportunity to see some of Vancouver’s top actors working in a more casual setting, scripts in hand. There is a rough joy to the New Play Festival and the chance to “discover” a new work and then act a bit smug when a full production arrives a year or so later (or, better still, become a proselytizer for this exciting play/playwright that no one else has heard of yet).