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Student work takes flight at annual festival

By Rachel Woodward, March 22 2016 —

University of Calgary dramatic arts students will showcase their works at the 12th annual Taking Flight: Festival of Student Work, which takes place from March 29–April 2 and April 6–9 at the Reeve Theatre. The two-week festival, presented by the School of Creative and Performing Arts, allows students to bring their experience from the classroom onto the stage.

“There’s such a wide variety of offerings,” artistic director Valerie Campbell says. “You get to see the final projects, but every single aspect of production — everyone is a student. They are getting this really immersive training. It’s really good training to look at all aspects of production.”

Adrian Young is a graduate student presenting his take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth as part of his DRAM 610 class. He believes the festival is important for the U of C’s performing arts program.

“I think the festival works really nicely as opportunity for the SCPA as a whole,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to show work that has been done in the classroom and can be put into practice in a festival that celebrates the ability to put on that work at the university.”

The diversity of performances throughout Taking Flight — including plays, staged readings and experimental theatre — means everyone can find something they like.

“It’s a pretty good way to see a wide variety of shows in a short amount of time. The way it’s run makes it easy to see two shows in a night, and it’s never the same two,” Young says. “It means that everyone has a unique experience because every show is different night to night. It’s really fun and unique to the festival.”

Other pieces showing during Taking Flight include the staged readings Resistance and Weather the Storm. The former, showing during the festival’s first week, is about a young woman and a film director in 1973 Paris and is written by James Wade. Then Anna MacAlpine’s Weather the Storm, takes stage in the second week to tell the story a crew’s fight to survive on the high seas.

With seven student-run productions running during Taking Flight, anticipation for the festival is building.

“I think there is a lot of excitement. Students are excited about their own shows but they are also excited about other shows,” Campbell says. “You could walk down the halls in drama and talk to any student and they will be somehow connected with one of the shows. The whole casting, all the behind-the-scenes has really involved a huge amount of our student body. There is a lot of excitement and a real collective spirit.”

Shows throughout the festival begin at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free for U of C students through the Claim Your Seat program.

For more information about Taking Flight visit scpa.ucalgary.ca

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