SEMBACH, Germany – U.S. Army Installation Management Command Europe Entertainment will present the 2021 One Page Play Festival and YouthFEST Talent Showcase on Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 8-10, at KMC Onstage on Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern.
Since 1995, Army Europe Entertainment has presented an annual festival to encourage individual and group excellence and participation throughout the Army and U.S. forces Europe community theater programs.
“It is a great opportunity to provide the Soldiers and family members who volunteer in our theaters exciting learning opportunities,” said Dane Winters, IMCOM Europe Entertainment program manager. “As our theater recovers from the COVID-19 lockdown, we are offering even more than usual.”
The 2021 festival will include a One Page Play Writing Workshop and Festival, a talent showcase highlighting youth from garrison communities, a monologue competition, performance workshops for all ages, a special professional guest show, and a special ceremony recognizing volunteer contributions to Army Europe Entertainment during the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to Winters, the One Page Play Festival is a unique opportunity and is open to anyone interested in writing, acting or directing with no previous experience required. “All they need is a desire to create,” Winters added.
At past One Page Play Festivals, over 20 new plays were written and 12 were fully produced and staged. “Some of these new plays have been picked up by copyright houses and produced in the U.S.,” said Winters. “It is really amazing what compelling scripts and stories are created by first-time writers in only a matter of hours and only on one piece of paper.”
Alan Buxkemper, Stuttgart Entertainment director, said he feels the festival offers Soldiers, family members and entertainment staff more than just the chance to write new plays.
"Not only does the festival show off the creative nature of the entertainment volunteers,” Buxkemper said, “it allows them see other facilities, meet other volunteer participants, and to share creative ideas. Since the One Page Festival began, volunteers have started travelling more to different garrisons to see their new friends in shows.”
The YouthFEST Talent Showcase is a new addition to the 2021 festival.
“On even numbered years, we hold a YouthFEST which is for full shows selected, directed, acted and produced only by youth 12th grade and below,” Winters said. “One show is selected to represent the U.S. Army and Army Entertainment at the national youth theater festival.”
“Since we don’t have to select a youth show this year as it an ‘off year,’ we decided to feature the youth from our garrison communities with a talent showcase.”
The talent showcase is open to young performers from 7 years of age to seniors in high school. Youth can perform in solo, duet or group acts in a wide-variety of performances including singing, acting, dancing, story-telling and others.
Youth should contact their local garrison entertainment or theater director to enter. The theater staff will also coach the performers to prepare them for the showcase.
“This year, we are also excited to present a wonderful, professional guest show,” Winters said. “Professional guest productions provide our volunteers a chance to experience professional theater and interact with and learn from real professionals. It is an excellent learning experience for them.”
“I, Am Dram” is a one-woman show written by Hannah Maxwell, a professional performance artist from the U.K.
“In the U.K., community theater is called ‘amateur dramatics’ or ‘Am Dram,’” said Winters, explaining the title.
Generations of Hannah Maxwell’s family had been part of their local community theater in the U.K. For over 90 years, her great-great grandparents, great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and scores of sibling, aunts, uncles and cousins performed in shows like “The King and I,” “My Fair Lady,” “The Sound of Music,” and many others.
Maxwell no longer appears at her small community theater stage as she launched a professional performing career in the U.K. and Australia. “After 172 different shows, I am the first female member of my family not appearing in a show for a reason other than pregnancy,” she said.
According to a press release for the show, “From four generations of leading ladies comes one queer Londoner, sharing a story of return and reconciliation – with her hometown, cultural inheritances and a secret love of musical theatre.”
The show is a clever and entertaining story of reconciling one’s past and personal futures, Winters said. The show is recommended for ages 12 years and up.
All festival events and activities are free to the public and will be held at KMC Onstage on Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8.
A complete schedule and more information is available at www.ArmyEuropeEntertainment.com or https://www.armymwr.com/ArmyEuropeEntertainment/our-entertainment-programs-and-events.