Magnetic North Theatre Festival lineup revealed

The lineup for the much-anticipated 2008 Magnetic North Theatre Festival, scheduled for June 4 to 14 here in Vancouver, has been announced. Established in 2002 as a kind of travelling national celebration of contemporary English theatre, the festival alternates locations annually between its home base in Ottawa and other Canadian centres. This year marks Vancouver’s first turn at hosting the event.

The bold main program of performances—comprising 10 shows at eight local venues—includes HIVE2, sequel to 2006’s widely acclaimed HIVE, in which audience members wander freely between intimate shows by 11 highly innovative companies, among them Vancouver’s own Boca del Lupo, Leaky Heaven Circus, Radix, and Electric Company. Also featured will be the premiere of First Nations playwright Kevin Loring’s gritty work Where the Blood Mixes, about a woman’s return to the reserve 20 years after being removed by social services from her alcoholic father, as well as coming-of-age theatre and dub poetry work blood.claat. Toronto’s Darren O’Donnell, creator of the recent PuSh festival hit Haircuts by Children, also returns to town with his “existentialist” play [boxhead].

The festival will also feature an artist-talk series, Magnet Encounters, as well as the Magnetic North Industry Series, a program of professional workshops, discussions, pitches, site visits, and networking events.