Sage Theatre set for adapted version of 15th IGNITE Festival

The IGNITE! Fetstival Image, Andromeda | SHANNON BARRY

Sage Theatre has decided to go forth with their 15th annual IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists.

The festival has taken on a new format to move forward in response to COVID-19. Their “festival-at-a-distance” model allows the show to go on, as artists adapt their works for the online platform.

The festival will be online from June 10-13, and has adopted a pay-what-you-can fundraising model.

As a festival that caters to new artists, the push for it to go on was “overwhelming,” said festival producer Savanna Harvey.

“In a time where we’re losing so much, we didn’t want to take away one more thing,” said Harvey

“We’re one of the few opportunities available to early career artists before they’re established.”

This year’s festival will host 14 original productions, as well as a featured visual artist. It will also feature a festival journalist as a pilot project part of IGNITE’s Emerging Arts Journalism Program.

The productions will fall into four performing arts series: the Provocation Series, the Dance Series, the Theatre series, and the Improv series.

Festival moves online; universal platform

“Most of the festival will be streamed online, with a few unique projects offering alternative experiences for the more adventurous,” read Sage Theater’s festival’s press release.

While adapting to an online model can be challenging, it’s opened some new doors for producers and audiences. Attending and being involved with the festival is no longer limited to Calgary and the surrounding area.

International artists and audiences are able to participate in and experience the IGNITE! festival, thanks to its new format.

“One of the benefits of going online is that it makes it easier for open access,” said Harvey.

People who could not normally afford or physically attend the festival will now be able to access what IGNITE! has to offer.

It also allows for audiences outside of Calgary to ‘attend’ without making the trip.

Unique performances and enriching opportunities

The festival-at-a-distance model offers “many performance avenues,” reads the media release.

Provocative short films, an online search for the truth, and a show in the form of a care package at your door can all be found at this unique online festival – among plenty of other formats.

To help get the festival up and running, the team behind the festival collaborated with partners in Edmonton.

“I will give a massive shout out to Nextfest,” Harvey said

“Coming together to share resources and to share knowledge I think has made this process much easier.”

Performance art is difficult to access in a time where mass gatherings are prohibited.

With everyone isolated at home, this festival can potentially fill a creative void.

“There’s for sure a mental health and a morale component to giving opportunities for creation,” said Harvey.

A full list of show schedules and instructions will be available soon on the Sage Theatre website. Access will be by donation at a pay-what-you-can rate.

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