IMPACT 21, a local international and multicultural festival, is back and ready to get people excited for live theatre once again.
The seventh biennial International Multicultural Platform for Alternative Contemporary Theatre (IMPACT) will unfold at various locations in Kitchener and Waterloo from Sept. 28 to Oct. 9.
“As we all know, COVID-19 has impacted all of us, and very harshly the arts,” said Carlos Parada, Public Outreach and Development Coordinator of MT Space, the theatre company running the festival.
“We are now focused on having IMPACT 21 as our first-ever hybrid festival with programming presented online and in-person.”
The festival aims to draw attention to social justice issues that came to light over the past year, including the experiences of Indigenous, Black, and Racialized artists.
The 12-day-event will feature 15 unique performances, including international productions from Chile, India, Tunisia, and Australia. National theatre and dance from Tiohtià:ke (Montréal), Tkaronto (Toronto), Vancouver, and local performances will also be featured.
One of the local performances featured at the festival is Stretch Marks, a play written by Vanessa Spence, Artistic director of Virtu Arts, a community arts organization that focuses on creating virtual space to educate, develop, and share Black/ African/ Caribbean diasporic creators and their stories.
Spence says the idea behind the play was inspired by a book of poetry she wrote while pregnant.
“At the core of the play, it is a story about generational cycles and the thought process around making the choice of whether we want to fall into those cycles or break free of them,” said Spence. “Through the lens of a young, Black, transracial adoptee, Stretch Marks explores these themes through the protagonists’ unplanned pregnancy.”
All indoor performances have been moved to outside venues because of pandemic restrictions. However, despite the change, Prada said the festival “will still contain powerful performances adapted for COVID-19, that our broad audience is still able to enjoy.”
In-person performances will take place at multiple locations including the Waterloo City Hall Parking Lot, Schneider Haus in Kitchener, and the Kitchener Gaol Yard. All venues have a limited capacity of 50 people to make room for physical distancing.
Tickets for each show are sold individually, with prices ranging from $10-$30 depending on the show. Advanced tickets for in-person shows will be sold until two hours before the event begins. Tickets for online performances will be available to purchase until the start of the show.
All guests wishing to attend in-person performances are asked to wear a mask and have the COVID-19 Alert app downloaded to their smartphone.