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Eight by Ten Multiplies into 3-Night Theatre Festival

Keiran KIng and Hilary Nicholson in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf

Eight by Ten, a night of eight ten minute plays, usually eclectic, diverse and entertaining works that vary markedly from the standard theatrical fare, quickly secured its place as one of the premiere activities of the Kingston on the Edge Festival (KOTE). Earlier this year, the popular night changed allegiances and was staged as a part of the Philip Sherlock International Arts Festival. However, this September Eight by Ten is getting a festival of its own.

The brain child of the festival coordinator Dr. Brian Heap, Eight by Ten has mushroomed from a mere eight plays to twenty-four which will be staged over three nights.

Heap has corralled an impressive roster of directorial talent to pull off the festival. The 19 directors who will have a hand in the Eight by Ten Festival include Trevor Nairne, Jean Small, Douglas Prout, Dahlia Harris, Pierre Lemaire, Nadean Rawlins, Fabian Thomas, Brian Heap, Joan Belfon, Michael Daley, Jean-Paul Menou, Jerry Benzwick, Michael Nicholson, and Damion Radcliffe. The festival will also showcase some emerging talent with Suzanne Beadle, Rayon McLean, Webster McDonald, Alwyn Allen, and Tyane Robinson also on the list.

Heap explained that the slate of productions will include excerpts, short plays, dramatic monologues and performance poetry. He noted that 16 of the productions, staged on the first two nights of the festival, will be new pieces, while the festival will round out with eight of the most popular works from previous stagings of Eight by Ten.

“[W]e even have some brand new works which will receive their premier staging during what promises to be an amazing weekend of theatre,” Heap said.

These new works include two pieces from Amba Chevannes ‘The Naked Wall’ and ‘Trapped’. Indeed, Chevannes short play ‘Ms. Burton Gets a Promotion’ from the inaugural staging of Eight by Ten is likely to be among fan favourites, even if it doesn’t make a return to this year’s festival.

The festival will also feature excerpts from Barbara Gloudon’s Don’t Go There, a work in progress, and Dahlia Harris’ Across the Line. Across the Line takes a look at the West Indies controversial cricket tour of South Africa during apartheid.

“Eight by Ten will offer audiences a unique opportunity to enjoy some refreshingly
different kinds of theatre staged by nineteen of Jamaica’s top working theatre directors,” Heap said.
The festival opens on Friday, 27 September and closes Sunday, 29 September. Festival goers can secure nightly tickets (at $1,200 each) a 2-night pass ($2,000 each) or a Festival Pass at $3,000.

The Eight by Ten festival takes place at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts.