UBC Players’ Club brings one of the oldest forms of theatre to campus

UBC’s oldest club is taking one of the oldest styles of theatre and bringing it to the Dorothy Somerset Studios.

The tradition of the Dionysian theatre dates back to the ancient Greeks, where amphitheatres would fill with people ready to watch numerous back-to-back plays.

With over 60 participants in acting, directing, design and management coming from all faculties, the fourth annual Festival Dionysia gives individuals opportunities to try new areas in the theatrical world. Members of the UBC Players' Club contributed some of the short plays alongside more established works.

English honours student Carolyn Nakagawa is taking the role of the President of UBC Players' for the second year. She is largely in charge of representing the club as producer of the festival. Previously a playwright in residence, she is currently working with the four original plays, which will be making their theatrical debut in the festival.

"There are always unexpected challenges, and always some things that turn out better than you thought, so we’re riding the waves, mostly," said Nakagawa on the responsibilities of producing such an elaborate and large-scale work.

BFA acting student Tai Grauman is making her directorial debut in Barefoot in Nightgown by Candlelight, a play by Don Nigro. Her cast is an array of both drama students and theatre newbies, but they all have one thing in common: their passion for the production.

"It definitely solidifies what I do," said Grauman on the mixed cast. "We have a lot of fun; we all have a reason to be here which isn’t credits and I think that’s beautiful, we’re all just here because we want to be."

The festival represents a way for students who might be involved in other areas of study, or of the theatre to get involved in new aspects.

"The club provides opportunities for you, if you want to try doing design, or acting, or mentoring others, we are totally open to that," said Arielle Spence, production manager for the festival.

The technical and design elements of this year’s festival are bigger and better than ever before. Shadow screens, elaborate costumes and a thousand scorpions are just some of the technical wonders that audience members can expect.

"We have biochemists and astrophysicists," said Grauman. "It’s a huge representation of people from all different areas coming together as a unity to make art."