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Paris Performers’ Theatre to host inaugural Brant Theatre Festival 

Arts and EntertainmentParis Performers’ Theatre to host inaugural Brant Theatre Festival 

Paris Performers’ Theatre (PPT) will be hosting the inaugural Brant Theatre Festival in Paris from Friday June 21 to Sunday June 23, 2024.

“The festival is going to be an exciting three evening series of events, which are all about showcasing the incredible theatre that is happening currently in Paris and the rest of Brant County,” said Rubyyy Jones, Board President for Paris Performers’ Theatre. “With everything that’s happened with PPT over the past year, we have a renewed focus on Paris, the people and what’s happening in our town, but we want to celebrate what’s happening in the wider community as well. Although the other wards don’t necessarily have community theatre companies like ours, we’re trying to get people excited about the fact that there’s a lot of theatre happening right in their own community.”

Jones said while the PPT team has been working hard to fundraise towards the goal of putting on full size productions again, they wanted to organize something else in the meantime.

“We thought, ‘what is a way that we can show off what we have done and what we’re looking forward to doing?’ and that’s what the Brant Theatre Festival is all about,” said Jones. “I feel I’m so grateful to our members who supported PPT to get to a place where, not only could we return to production, but we don’t have to rely on doing something just to put bums in seats. We’ll do that when we’re ready and it’s going to be spectacular, but it’s actually a real luxury and a privilege to be able to come back slow and steady without feeling that pressure.”

The festival will open on Friday, June 21 at St. Paul’s United Church in main floor auditorium, and the evening will feature three ten-minute one-act plays: “Movie Stars Never Die” written by “Nessie” Ally Hill, “Samaritan” written by David S. Raine, and “33” written by Rubyyy Jones.

“We’ve actually done this one act play event for the past two years at the Rope Factory in Brantford, but we thought this would be a perfect thing to include for this year’s inaugural festival,” said Jones. “After each performance, there’ll be a quick discussion with the cast and whatever part of the team would like to speak, and the idea behind that is about creating networks. It’s about showing other aspects of production, which is not just performance, but also the process, so we wanted to have that as well.”

On Saturday, June 22, the second day of the festival will showcase two local playwrights and the event will take place just down the road from St. Paul’s at Paris’ Wincey Mills.

“We’re going to be featuring two Paris playwrights; Kate Carter and her play ‘The Ballad of Vera’s Icebox’ which takes place in Burford, and Allison Fradkin and her one-act play ‘Heard Mentality.’ Allison’s play is all about disability and disability access so it’s a three-person piece and it centers around a deaf person who is having a conversation with their two hearing aids,” said Jones. “We’re really looking forward to bringing these two contrasting shows together and then afterwards we’re going to have a party with various drinks, dancing and networking.

The inaugural Brant Theatre Festival will take place in Paris from Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 23, 2024. Photo courtesy, Rubyyy Jones.

To wrap up the three-day festival, Jones said the final day, Sunday, June 23, will be a Brant Theatre showcase of theatrical happenings of the past, present and future, and will take place back in the St. Paul’s United Church’s main floor auditorium.

“No one’s doing a full production on the night so it’s kind of more showcasing as many cool, different things happening in the area as possible. So that night’s going to be almost cabaret meets theatre, where we’re going to get these different vignettes and snippets from different companies,” said Jones. “We’ll have select performances from PPT, we’ll have ICHTYHS Theatre Productions performing segments of ‘All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,’ and then we also have songs from Paris Broadway Players’ play ‘Hindsight is 2020: A COVID Musical.’

Jones said that the entirety of the festival will be pay what you can and that tickets can be found by searching “Brant Theatre Festival” on EventBrite. They also noted that attendees are more than welcome to attend as many, if not all, of the events.

“We go to theatre for humanity and the process of putting ourselves in the shoes of others or seeing something outside of our own experiences and so I’m extra excited for whoever’s going to come to all three events because I think they will get the peak experience,” said Jones. “With that being said, if you’re only able to come one night, I know you’re still going to get so much out of it.”

Overall, attendees can look forward to a weekend of exploring various art and stories, and pushing past their idea of what theatre traditionally looks like.

“I feel like there’s been a real thirst of ‘what are they [PPT] going to do? what is it going to look like?’ and I’m really excited to show people exactly that. We’re not doing a giant show at the fairgrounds, but there’s lots of ways to do theatre and I think the sooner we can all get over theatre needing to look a certain way or being a certain scale, the sooner we’re going to get to enjoy a lot more incredible theatre,” said Jones. “We can really limit ourselves when we require a certain budget or a certain size, but here, we’re decolonizing our theatre in our approach now, and we’re making it for the love of the art and the desire to have the process and the flexibility in production.”

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