Siloam sends Langley to the stage

Second annual theatre festival promotes original works from local playwrights

Siloam Theatre Festival is back for a second year – showcasing five original works from local playwrights at Langley Playhouse, July 25 to Aug. 3.

Shane Rochon, vice-president of the Langley Players Club and creator-coordinator of Siloam, said the week-long theatrical showcase started from his frustratations trying to find a stage for Vancouver Fringe Fest.

“It’s a lot of time and heartache getting people to come to downtown Vancouver. We thought, can‘t we get something started locally so people aren’t driving everywhere and paying an arm, a leg, and a kidney for a venue.”

Rochon found the Playhouse venue when he tried out in 2013 for Langley Players Club’s season opener and ended up getting cast. He launched Siloam last summer as an effort to give local playwrights a home to present their work.

“We’re focusing only on new plays,” Rochon explained. “That way the community gets to discover local talent and that playwrights live in their own backyard.”

For a small entry fee, projects get reviewed by a committee and chosen based on plot, themes, and feasibility. Playwrights get to keep 70 percent of tickets sales while the entry fee covers the tech director’s fee.

Willoughby playwright Lauren Trotzuk is debuting her new musical According to Aurelie at Siloam. She said after a year and a half of writing, she was able to come up with the right finale.

Aurelie is about a young woman trying to find a career as a novelist and find discover who she is meant to be. I think it’s a universal theme and definitely true to myself. I had to take a hiatus from writing to live my life a little and figure out how the character gets the happy ending she needed.”

With eleven original songs, a piano score, and now a new script in the works for next year – Trotzuk said it’s busy but also a great way to meet new people.

“Siloam is such a great way of championing original material. It really kicked my butt to finish Aurelie because you are working towards some tangible end. It’s going to be awesome… but I’m biased,” Trotzuk laughed.

Darcy Knopp, director of one of this year’s original plays Rogue’s Quest, said the festival is perfect for graduates trying to find work and opportunities out of theatre school.

Readmore: Siloam Theatre Festival looking for playwrights

“I’d love to see the festival continue and maybe even expand a little bit. Another big plus is that the festival brings different theatre companies together, and the sharing of ideas is also extremely valuable and helps strengthen the arts community on the whole,” Knopp said. “When the festival was put forth, it was exactly the kind of opportunity we were looking for.”

Pronounced si-loh-uh-m which means “to send” in Yiddish, Rochon said Siloam was chosen at the festival’s title because they are sending local talent to the stage.

Though there is a submission process, Rochon explained that there is no competition between playwrights and performers.

“It’s a cross-pollination between Bard in the Valley, Surrey Little Theatre, and Langley Player’s Club. We all work with each other. Everyone is always excited to see if they are doing anything new.”

There are two 90 minute performances running each night at 2307 200 St between July 25 and Aug 3.

Tickets are $15, available at the door or www.langleyplayers.com/siloam-theatre-fest.com. Several of the performances do contain mature content.

Rogue’s Quest, a comedy by Darcy Knopp, tells the tale of a hero that goes on an adventure to save a magical princess. Along the way he encounters a mystical cave creature, a cranky bar wench, a rival knight who talks funny, and a fellow adventurer who bears a resemblance to the girl that lives next door.

Brooklyn Memories, a drama by Anthony Galway follows Jimmy, an actor newly arrived in New York City, makes a chance encounter with playwright Kieran Barry and immediately falls in love.

According to Aurelie, a musical by Lauren Trotzuk, is about aspiring novelist and endearing optimist, Aurelie, who has faced disappointment before. But after another rejection, a drastic shift in her love life, and the sudden appearance of an old rival, her attitudes are tested.

Letters to Myself, a coming-of-age dramady by Ryan Scramstad, asks what we do when the voices in our head start arguing with each other and what happens when a conservative upbringing confronts a liberal arts career.

Bitter Girl, a dramatic comedy by Annabel Fitzimmons and Alison Lawrence, explores four women in different stages of break-ups from various types of relationships and their different styles of coping mechanisms.

The 2020 Siloam Festival is already open and accepting submissions. Applications and show times for this year are also listed on the Siloam Theatre Fest page.

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