The annual One Act Festival, presented by VIU’s Theatre club, the Satyr Players, will take place at the Malaspina Theatre, bldg. 310 at the Nanaimo campus, from Jan. 29–31.

This year’s line-up includes five shows. In addition to two mystery plays, three original scripts written and directed by VIU students will be performed. Mathew Snowie’s The Busking Routine is a comedy that was partially published in the 2012 issue of Portal magazine. The story follows the unlikely friendship of an adventurous student and a street performer, and the humorous situations they get themselves into while busking in a Scottish park. The Leaving of the Entwives, also written by Snowie, is what he describes as a “Tolkien-adjacent story” and offers a solution to the disappearance of the female tree-beings in J. R. R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. Justine Morrison’s Such Great Heights is a dramatic play that is “focused on the “masks” that keep people separated,” Snowie says.

“The shows are completely student-driven,” Snowie says. In the fall, students are encouraged to submit proposals for plays—either one act scripts that they would like to see performed or original scripts that they have written. Submissions are narrowed down over the semester, and after selections have been made, a cast and crew, complete with both first-year and upper-level students, are assembled. “Actors take their scripts over the winter break, but rehearsals begin as early in Jan. as possible. It is an extremely quick turnaround of only 2–3 weeks as everyone pulls together to prepare the shows,” Snowie says.

Snowie has now been involved in the festival for two years and says it is a great opportunity for both Theatre and Creative Writing students to be involved in. Not only does the festival provide actors and crew members with an excellent occasion to develop and showcase their talents, but it gives student playwrights the chance to develop their work with a crew, and to present it to an audience beyond the classroom setting. “Hearing your work interpreted by other people, and working with them to improve it, is a fantastic experience for any writer,” Snowie says. “It is highly recommended for Theatre students to test the different roles that exist both on-stage and off. But my biggest recommendation is for Creative Writing students who want to see their scripts get wider exposure than the inside of a classroom workshop, and who may want to direct what they write.”

The schedule promises to give each of the five shows plenty of time for the involved students to demonstrate their talents, and for audiences to soak it all in. Every play will run for two evenings and a matinee. Matinee performances begin at noon, consist of two shows and “are great opportunities for students with free time after lunch to enjoy a quick selection of what the theatre has to offer,” Snowie says. Evening performances being at 6:30 p.m., and include four plays. Those attending are encouraged to arrive early in order to guarantee a seat before the doors are closed. Admission is by donation.

For more information on scheduling visit “The 2013 One Act Festival” on facebook.