Theatre St. Thomas presents unusual event of small opportunities

Raine O'Connor, an acting executive of Theatre St. Thomas, said smaller theatre opportunities give those who can't commit to full stage productions a chance to participate. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Kicking off the fall term with a new concept, Theatre St. Thomas presented a series of themed events on Sept. 11 entitled Fever Dreams

Unlike the usual stage productions that TST produces, this event was composed of screenplay readings, theatre games and a variety show. 

Madigan Donovan-Downs, an acting executive at TST, said he heard from community members that smaller opportunities are wanted.

“Opportunities for students who maybe aren’t interested in acting on stage, but would love to see what theatre is like,” said Donovan-Downs.

He said that he believes the best way to host these “smaller opportunities” is to present them through themes. This event’s theme, fever dreams, encouraged bizarre and unordinary outfits, decor and events.

Neomi Iancu Haliva, another acting executive at TST and fourth-year St. Thomas University student, explained that fever dreams was chosen as this event’s theme in consideration of the interests of Fredericton artists.

“We were thinking of a theme that would leave things very open for people to interpret … as well as something that would lend itself into the kind of art that we knew was happening [in the Fredericton area],” said Iancu Haliva.

Anthony Bryan, a St. Thomas University graduate, participated in Fever Dreams at The Cap on Sept. 11. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Iancu Haliva said that setting a theme for events like Fever Dreams allows attendees to know what to expect and alleviates a certain amount of stress and intimidation that those new to theatre may experience. 

Raine O’Connor, an acting executive at TST and a fourth-year STU student, said another benefit of the “smaller” theatre opportunity TST produced was that it gave those who usually don’t have the time to commit to full stage productions the chance to take part. 

 “Something that I’ve heard often from friends and artists of mine, who weren’t participating, was just that [the time commitment] was something they couldn’t swing. We just wanted [to make] something so that people can have more art in their day-to-day lives,” said O’Connor.

The themed reading event featured several playwrights both from STU and the broader Fredericton community and allowed actors to participate in a pressure-free reading. The experience also offered constructive feedback for artists on their upcoming work. 

Donovan-Downs said that TST has multiple ideas for more low-commitment events in the future and they plan on continuing to collaborate with the community to grow a “safe space” for Theatre St. Thomas. 

“We don’t want people to feel like we’re saying, this is what we’re doing. We want to see what the community needs right now … and just amplify that,” said O’Connor.