Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

AACT Already Being Planned

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

AACT Already Being Planned

Article excerpt

June 16 is still eight months away, but for the Venice Theatre staff it seems much closer.

That's the opening day for AACT World Fest 2014, an international gathering of theater troupes that returns to Venice for five days of performances, workshops, competition and camaraderie.

There still a lot of coordinating to do, travel arrangements to make, visas to arrange, and housing assignments to be sorted out.

Plenty of time, right?

You'd be surprised at quickly that time will pass for Lori Chase, the festival coordinator, and the staff and volunteers who are helping to bring the festival back to Venice next year.

The festival is presented by the American Association of Community Theatre, which sponsors an international event every four years. Venice Theatre hosted the 2010 festival to great acclaim (and significant economic benefit to the community). Before the 2010 festival ended, the AACT board voted to come back to Venice in 2014.

Murray Chase, the theater's executive/artistic director, said the festival generated about $1 million in economic activity for the Venice area "and we expect it to double this time" with more performers and visitors expected to take part.

The last event was one of the highlights of the theater season, providing entertainment and a sense of international brotherhood. Performers from around the world met backstage or could mingle together with patrons at the nightly parties that followed each day's performances.

Lori Chase (yes, she is married to Murray), said 16 theater companies have given some commitment to attend "but there's always the possibility that someone will drop out. That happened in 2010."

Most theater troupes will perform twice during the week on the theater's mainstage. A few will perform three times each in the smaller Pinkerton Theatre.

Each troupe's show runs an hour or less and is followed by an assessment by three adjudicators.

There are shows coming from Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Georgia (the country, not the state), Germany, Israel, Latvia, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, and Togo. …

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