February is shaping up to be a busy month for Eastern Front Theatre as it presents its annual Early Stages Festival of new works in progress and a couple of Valentine’s Day-inspired events.
[Early Stages] is about peeking behind the curtain and understanding the creative process, making it a truly special experience for everyone involved and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in the magic of theatre. – Kat McCormack
“Early Stages is really an offshoot of our annual Stages Festival in June,” Eastern Front’s artistic director Kat McCormack explains. “Stages in June is a festival of new works, whereas Early Stages focuses on play readings, works in progress, previews, and workshops. It’s a chance for individuals looking to dive into theatre creation to find their footing in the early stages of the process.”
One of this year’s Early Stages festival highlights is the Rotunda Residency, featuring Popcorn Galaxies from British Columbia, who will workshop their show, The Dead Letter Office, an interactive piece based around real-life letters that are undeliverable by the post office. “They will also be part of the main stage programming at Stages in June, showcasing the evolution of their piece,” says McCormack.
At the heart of Early Stages, McCormack emphasizes the unique experience it offers audiences to witness plays in various stages of development.
“A play reading is like a cozy storytime with professional actors bringing the script to life,” she says. “It’s an exciting preview of what’s to come and a chance for audiences to engage in dialogue with the creators.”
The festival lineup includes diverse works, from interactive experiences like The Dead Letter Office to verbatim pieces like When Two Stars Collide and Coal Bowl Queen and the online Ecofuturist Dispatches featuring artists from across Canada. Each offering is designed to provide a glimpse into different facets of storytelling and performance.
“Early Stages isn’t just about witnessing the birth of new works; it’s about being part of a community,” McCormack says. “It’s about peeking behind the curtain and understanding the creative process, making it a truly special experience for everyone involved and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in the magic of theatre.”
Early Stages is one of several events being hosted by Eastern Front Theatre this February.
Alongside the festival, McCormack has curated a series of Valentine’s Day-themed events, including a double feature movie screening of Romeo + Juliet and Ghost on February 14, two films McCormack says “represent iconic romantic narratives that resonate with audiences.”
In addition, Eastern Front will present a follow-up to last year’s Young Hearts concert with the return of Stewart Legere with Still Hearts on February 17. This all-new musical show will feature romantic soundtrack anthems in an intimate candlelit cabaret setting.
For more information on the Eastern Front Theatre’s Early Stages Festival and the other events in February, visit easternfronttheatre.com.