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UpStart 2018: A Night of Student Theatre

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waterloo chapter.

In mid-March, the University of Waterloo’s Theatre and Performance Department will be producing the 2018 UpStart Festival. UpStart is a theatre festival of student work – as in, the entire production is student-written, student-directed, student-designed, and student-acted. It occurs every other year during the Winter term.

This year, three theatrical pieces were accepted into UpStart 2018 – The Game of String (written by Jenn Addesso and directed by Brooke Barnes), Hopscotch (written by me, Joanna Cleary, and directed by Rebecca Reid), and Hamlet Reworked (adapted by Gareth Potter). The Game of String is a satirical drama that follows the online aftermath of the death of a young university student in order to critique our growing reliance on social media and how our online connections can destabilize human relationships. Hopscotch, meanwhile, takes place in an afterlife where two friends meet and explore the love and pain they shared when their friendship ended. Hamlet Reworked, unlike the first two pieces of the festival, is not a traditional play. Rather, it is a site-specific adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that explores how the universal themes of the play, such as grief and death, manifest themselves in specific locations within the Modern Languages Building.   




While all three pieces have a unique stylistic voice and directorial approach, UpStart is united by a thematic focus on loss, particularly loss through death. The festival aims to not only promote student work, but also to address issues relevant to the human condition that art can help contextualize in innovative aesthetic situations. Upstart 2018 does not shy away from discomfort. It does not rely on overused conventions. Above all, however, it does not allow people to forget what it means to feel pain and, as a result, what it means to be alive.



Performances for UpStart Festival will run each night in the Modern Languages lobby and the Theatre of the Arts, starting at 7:30 p.m. With tickets being sold at $15 each ($10 per student ticket and $5 for eyeGO), this show is a unique opportunity to see the world premiere of three thought-provoking productions. We hope we can share these explorations of grief and love with those across the university campus, particularly for those interested in exploring the concept of mortality within the human condition.  


More information can be found at UW’s Theatre and Performance website.   

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