10X10 – A theatrical experience through and through.
By: Olivia Levesque, Staff Writer
10X10 is unique “year-round theatre creation project,” that focuses deeply on individual steps in the process of getting a production on stage. It is a worldly festival that has been growing in Thunder Bay for the last three years. Writing, directing, casting, and acting are all aspects that are nourished by mentors and creators in a monthly span of time before the plays hit the stage in April of the New Year. The 10X10 title is attributed to the structure of the festival, consisting of 10 plays, which are all 10 minutes in length. Despite the time restriction, there are no small excerpts from larger pieces of work—each production is required to be independent and have a beginning middle and ending.
Dates for the fourth annual 10X10 showcase, where all 10 plays will be performed, have been set. With a sold out show last year, along with an overwhelming demand for tickets, not one, but two shows will be performed. April 30 and May 1 is when you can see the curtain rise and watch as 10, hand-picked, incredible stories unfold. But before that happens, the 10X10 coordinators will be (and have been) working hard to start the process. On November 2, a playwriting workshop was held to give some insight on the ten minute play form. The next workshop will be held on December 4, and will be led by Debbie Patterson, an award winning playwright, director, and actor. Debbie grew up in Thunder Bay and will read several of her plays, in addition to leading a directing workshop on December 5 as well. For more information on these workshops, visit the 10X10 webpage: http://www.10x10tbay.ca
Jordan Lehto, a Lakehead University Alumni, who has had his plays chosen in the 2014 and 2015 showcase, explains the experience as exciting and fascinating: “I was thrilled to work with directors and cast members who welcomed my participation throughout the entire script to stage process. And it’s this process that I’ve found to be the most valuable part of my 10X10 experiences. Seeing how everything is pulled together on stage by the director has given me so much insight into how to write a story that is conducive to this particular medium.”
10X10 encourages new writers, and is accepting of all storylines. One of the most beautiful aspects about the project is the variety that it produces. Comedic, thought provoking, dramatic, emotional themes, you name it, and it’s all on the stage. Lehto received some accolades for the complex and interesting plot of his piece in last year’s festival, titled “People Like You.” Lehto notes, “as a history graduate, my play drew heavily from my experience researching queer issues in Canada in the 1950s.”
He adds that the local talent continues to inspire him through the variety displayed on stage; “There were nine other plays that dealt with incredibly different topics. It’s exciting to me that each of these hugely different stories all come from the same place—our very own Thunder Bay. For me, what’s more exciting than seeing my own play come to life is seeing all of these talented, passionate individuals (audience members included)? They come together to create something locally that feels important and meaningful.”
10X10 is not only an experience for the audience but also offers major opportunities for aspiring writers, directors, and actors as well. “The 10X10 Showcase is a great way for anyone interested in creative writing to gain some experience, and to flex their skills in a way that they may not have done before” Lehto states. The submission deadline is on January 23 2016, so if learning, creative writing, and amazing experiences interests you, submit a play! Submission requirements can also be found on the 10X10 website. Opportunities are also available in the acting and directing realms, so keep an eye out for the 10X10 aspect that interests you. If being on stage isn’t your thing, the audience is a great place to be instead!