Expressions Theatre Festival presents classics, re-imagined fairytales, and a daring Greek tragedy

Arts Umbrella is thrilled to unveil the lineup of the 2018 Expressions Theatre Festival, running May 17 – 26, 2018 at the Waterfront Theatre. Showcasing the talented young artists in Arts Umbrella’s Intensive, Pre-Professional and Theatre Conservatory Programs, this annual festival boasts a bevvy of captivating productions. From the whimsical family fun of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the frontier hijinks of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, the audacious programming capitalizes on students’ exceptional range and skill.

This year, audiences will be treated to an array of thought-provoking works, including a modern take on the classic Greek tragedy The Phoenician Women and the perceptive student-created original Outside In. Additionally, the Theatre Conservatory Program will be make their festival debut with a performance of Charles Way’s Missing, a riveting modern interpretation of the classic fairy tale Hansel and Gretel featuring Vancouverite and Arts Umbrella graduate, Douglas Ennenberg.

The young and exceptionally talented assemblage of Expressions Theatre Festival students never fail to inspire with their courage, passion, and devotion to their craft. Their dauntless enthusiasm is contagious. […] We strive to provide an environment where students can take risks and express themselves freely while they hone their art. The skills they learn as they rehearse for and perform in this festival enriches their lives on and off the stage. —Paul Moniz de Sá, Artistic Director of the Theatre & Music Program at Arts Umbrella

While developing their presentations for this year’s Expressions Theatre Festival, Arts Umbrella students have the opportunity to collaborate closely with professional directors and designers. Before staging each festival production, the students perform their works in schools across the Lower Mainland, while learning the important operations involved in mounting and producing technically demanding works.This process allows students to experience the collaboration, creativity, and dedication that goes into a successful theatre production. For the 17-22-year-olds who are preparing
to audition for professional theatre schools in the Theatre Conservatory Program, the festival gives them a preview of the life of a professional actor.

The 2018 Expressions Theatre Festival Lineup includes:

Outside In

May 17 at 7pm and May 25 at 9pm
Cabins, campfires, games and a culminating gala make for an entertaining time as eight teens join a weeklong camp. However, sometimes reality flips and each character finds themselves weaving in and out of their own self-image. With the prevalence of social media focused on curating the ‘perfect image’ Outside In explores how self-image can play a role in how we feel about ourselves. Created and performed by the Arts Umbrella Laboratory Theatre Troupe, who learn the process of developing original works, this astute play will leave audiences contemplating their own self-image long after the final curtain call.

Oklahoma!

May 18 – 20 at 2pm and May 18, 20, 22, 23 & 26 at 7pm
Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first collaboration remains their most innovative, having set the standards and established the rules of musical theatre as we know it today. Join the Arts Umbrella Musical Theatre Troupe as they take audiences to the Western American frontier just after the turn of the century. A high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colourful background against which Curly, a rugged cowboy, and Laurey, a charming farm
girl, play out their love story. Although the road to true love never runs smooth, with these two headstrong romantics holding the reins, love’s journey is as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road.

The Phoenician Women

May 17 & 19 at 9pm and May 24 at 7pm (Double Bill with Missing)
The Arts Umbrella Senior Theatre Troupe presents a modern take on Euripides’ classic Greek tragedy, The Phoenician Women. Using a blend of homemade masks to hide each actors gender and daring physicality, the Senior Theatre Troupe explores the repercussions of fate and the ever-present power of will, and delves into the consequences of war, control, innocence, and patriotism. Set in Thebes, the play is centred on the fateful history of the house of Laios following the tragic fall of Oedipus Rex. As the two sons of Oedipus battle over control of the city, the chorus of Phoenician Women find themselves trapped in Thebes by war on their way to Delphi.

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

May 19 & 25 at 7pm
Join Charlie Bucket in his adventurous tour of Willy Wonka’s world-famous Chocolate Factory. Willy Wonka opens his factory doors to five lucky children and their parents. Meet food-loving Augustus Gloop, gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde, spoiled Veruca Salt, TV-obsessed Mike Teavee, caring Charlie Bucket and many more fascinating characters in Roald Dahl’s well-loved story, adapted for the stage by Richard George and performed by the Junior Theatre Troupe.

Missing

May 24 at 7pm (Double Bill with The Phoenician Women)
A contemporary fairytale about two poor children surviving desperate circumstances through a rich mix of imaginative power, loyalty, and love. Inspired by true events and performed by Arts Umbrella’s Theatre Conservatory with special guest actor and Arts Umbrella graduate Douglas Ennenberg, currently starring in Little Mountain Lion Productions Mr.Burns, a Post-Electric Play, Charles Way’s Missing is a gripping take on the story of Hansel and Gretel as their dysfunctional family life spirals from bad to worse. In an ominous world of deceit and unknown dangers, Hansel desperately searches for his missing sister and uncovers disturbing clues that suggest things may not be what they seem. With a seemingly evil step-mother, who is content with letting the police handle things, it is up to Hansel to save his sister.

Theatre and Music Showcase, performed by Theatre Intensive Program students

May 26 at 11:30am & 4pm
One of the highlights of the season, the Theatre and Music Showcase reveals the accomplished and compelling talent of Arts Umbrella’s Theatre Intensive Program students through a kaleidoscope of short musical and theatre performances across a range of genres from improv to film.

Tickets are now on sale from $15 here.

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