In one week, troupes from 13 countries and Greenville, MS will begin performing at aactWorldFest
From June 16 – 21, Venice Theatre will offer performances, parties, workshops and more
(Venice, FL) Since The closing night of the 2010 international community theatre festival, Venice Theatre has been planning for the 2014 festival. Now, after four years of securing funding, selecting shows, making travel arrangements, tackling visa issues, and all that goes into producing an international cultural event, the theatre is one week from opening night. From Monday June 16 through Saturday June 21, Venice Theatre will be bustling with performances, workshops, and social events. Area residents are encouraged to attend. Opportunities range from purchasing a MainStage registration (beginning at $235, this includes access to shows, workshops and parties) to attending the Commedia dell’Arte show presented by Italy and the United States for $20. Ticket blocks for two to three shows are also available for $20-$30 as well the chance to attend the Master Class conducted by Tony Award Winner, Ben Vereen. ($50) Find more information, register, and buy tickets at www.venicestage.com/international or call 941-488-1115.
For the last year, theatre aficionados from around the globe have been registering for the week-long event dubbed “aactWorldFest 2014.” Festival Chair and Venice Theatre Executive/Artistic Director, Murray Chase, expects visitors from as many as 40 states, 20 countries, and six continents to generate 700 room nights and $1 million in economic impact during a month that is traditionally light for tourism.
The 2010 festival was so well received by attendees, critics, performance troupes, volunteers and the leadership of the sponsoring organization (American Association of Community Theatre) that Venice Theatre was invited to host again. One participant, Line Hauger from Denmark, simply said it was, “The best festival I’ve ever attended.” Herald-Tribune theatre critic Jay Handelman attended all of the performances and several of the workshops. He described the festival as “an eye-opening experience” that left him with “an appreciation of something new.” Venice Gondolier-Sun features editor Kim Cool called the festival “educational and intriguing” and Beau Denton of Sarasota Magazine said the opening festivities were, “A gleeful celebration of the art, actors and crews from six continents ignoring language barriers to mingle with each other and local theater fans.”
The experience Chase and his staff and volunteers gained from organizing the 2010 international festival has been used to plan an even bigger and better aactWorldFest 2014. The number of visiting performance troupes has grown from 11 in 2010 to 14 in 2014. (At one point the number was as high as 17, but not unexpectedly, visa issues and funding concerns have kept a few countries from being able to participate.) Several countries that were represented in 2010 are returning, including Australia, Italy and Denmark.
This year’s schedule will showcase the work of award-winning theatre troupes from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Latvia, New Zealand, South Africa, Togo, and Greenville, MS, USA. Most of the productions will be performed in the country’s native language in styles ranging from comedy to drama, to opera to puppetry. Audiences should have no fear about language barriers. “The arts are universal,” Chase says. “The language of theatre transcends words. And as in 2010, the productions we’ve chosen are visually and physically dynamic, or tell stories that will be familiar.” Also performing at the festival will be two of Venice Theatre’s outreach troupes, The Silver Foxes and the Loveland Players.
With the planning now in its final week, the theatre’s staff and volunteers are eager for the visitors to arrive. The festival will begin with a welcome reception at 4 p.m. on Monday, June 16 followed by the opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. and the first three performances from the United States, Germany and Armenia. Educational workshops will be offered throughout each day and are included with festival registration. Each show will be presented two to three times throughout the week so that all attendees – including the actors – can enjoy all performances if they choose. Each evening ends with an after-glow party at Michael Biehl Park adjacent to the theatre. A closing gala reception and awards ceremony will be held at the theatre Saturday evening with one final afterglow to close out the week. Again, for more details and to register for aactWorldFest 2014, visit www.venicestage.com/international or call 941-488-1115.
aactWorldFest 2014 is generously sponsored by Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Visit Sarasota, Music Theatre International, Laura B. Kopple, Inc. REALTORS®, Café Venice, Sharky’s on the Pier, Snook Haven and Fins.
140 W. Tampa Ave
Venice, FL 34285