Let them en­ter­tain you

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

PER­FORMER Emma Marie Davis was in­tro­duced to the con­cept of Dra­mafest a few years ago when she at­tended to support her hus­band, Ben, in a play.

Each night, three met­ro­pol­i­tan or coun­try the­atres com­pete by de­liv­er­ing a one-act play per­for­mance to demon­strate their skills on stage and be­hind the scenes.

“I was amazed at the va­ri­ety of acts on dis- play and I de­cided I wanted to be a part of it,” Davis said.

After pro­duc­ing two stage shows in 2013, Davis felt it a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion to take on the chal­lenge of In­de­pen­dent The­atre As­so­ci­a­tion’s Dra­mafest fes­ti­val di­rec­tor when the op­por­tu­nity was pre­sented this year.

She is cur­rently pre­par­ing for the week-long event at Playlovers, Hack­ett Hall in Floreat from Septem­ber 22 to 28.

Since start­ing in the role, the UWA and WAAPA-trained singer, dancer, ac­tor and writer has in­tro­duced a new cat­e­gory, 10-Minute Spot­light, fea­tur­ing a per­for­mance of 10 min­utes or less in any for­mat, from mono­logue, cabaret, singing or dra­matic work.

A Fes­ti­val Gala Evening has also been added to wrap up the week.

“Dra­mafest is an op­por­tu­nity to see a lot of the­atre,” Davis said.

“It’s fast and fresh, with plenty of dif­fer­ent types of plays to suit any taste. Each en­try has a time limit, so if you don't like one play the next play isn’t very far be­hind it.”

Davis said the an­nual event, run for more than 25 years, was im­por­tant to WA per­form­ers, writ­ers and direc­tors, and the com­mu­nity.

“For many, it is their first op­por­tu­nity to act, write or di­rect for the the­atre and Dra­mafest is an in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive com­pe­ti­tion,” she said.

“Each en­try re­ceives con­struc­tive feed­back, which can help to build bet­ter per­for­mances in the fu­ture. It also al­lows them to take risks and ex­per­i­ment in front of an au­di­ence.”

Not only will Dra­mafest pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence work that would oth­er­wise go un­seen, but there will be some world premiere per­for­mances.

“It is im­por­tant for the com­mu­nity to see what is be­ing done at a grass­roots level and al­low them the op­por­tu­nity to see what could be the fu­ture of WA the­atre,” Davis said.

“Au­di­ences should ex­pect ev­ery­thing and any­thing. Ev­ery night is dif­fer­ent, ev­ery play is dif­fer­ent, and ev­ery per­former brings some­thing new to the stage.

“And who knows, we may just see them up on stage next year.”

Dra­mafest 2014 tick­ets are now on sale, with sin­gle ses­sion or sea­son pass avail­able at ita.org.au/dra­mafest/tick­ets.

Dra­mafest fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Emma Marie Davis is well versed in the art of per­for­mance hav­ing trained as a singer, dancer, ac­tor and writer.

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