CAMBRIDGE, NY — Artists, actors, directors and producers from across the country and nearby will display new plays in Cambridge, NY for two weekends. Witness 17 performances at the second annual Winter Carnival of New Work at the Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education at 25 East Main St. in Cambridge.
Shows run from Jan. 22-31 on Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturday's at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday's at 2 p.m. In one night, seven or eight short plays could be experienced, with a different set each night and day of the performance weekends. The matinees are slightly longer with a short intermission. The short plays run for 10 minutes, more or less.
An opening Night Dinner will be hosted by the Round House Bakery Cafe on Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. Reservations must be made by Jan. 19th. A dinner ticket is $45 and $50 including that night's performance. The all access carnival pass costs $25 to see every performance, while individual tickets cost $10 and $5 for students.
Four works from the playwright project "365 Women A Year" will show on Jan. 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. and produced by Bennington College alum Natalie Osborne, along with current college junior and director, Sarah Jack.
The "365 Women A Year" project was co-founded by Jess Eisenberg and Gina Scanlon in 2014 after they met in high school studying theatre. Their focus for the project involves collecting playwrights with one or more acts about notable women from the past and present history in order to write them back into the social consciousness and promote female playwrights, according to the project's website.
The four pieces from "365 Women A Year" expect to bring attention to issues of gender, race, empowerment and intersectional views.
Osborne created her project while still attending Bennington College and looks forward to bringing it to the stage at Hubbard Hall.
"It's very exciting for me to take this project that I started as a student and be able to develop it further with Hubbard Hall," Osborne said. "They [the hall] has been incredibly supportive throughout the process, and I feel extremely lucky that I have the chance to work with them."
The recent grad is eager for more audiences to be exposed to this particular series and worked with Hubbard Hall's Executive and Artistic Director David Snider in order to fit it into the Winter Carnival this year.
"It's been an incredible ride, and I'm so happy that we're going to this event again, and bring these plays to a wider audience!" Osborne said. "I'm hoping to see more people get excited about 365 Women a Year, and bringing more women onto the stage and into the pages of our history books."
Jack hasn't had much experience with the particular series, but enjoys working with Osborne and directing.
"I really haven't worked for the 365 Women series very long. Last winter I participated in a live reading of several plays at Bennington College," she said. "I read for the part of Mary Shelley in Natalie's play "Making Frankenstein" and that's all I've done for the series so far."
Osborne will revisit "Making Frankenstein" at the Winter Carnival. By gaining directorial experience, Jack will have a wide variety of theater opportunities to embark post-undergraduate.
"Getting a chance at this festival to revisit that play and also direct one of the plays myself is what I'm most looking forward to. I'm new to directing so this is a great opportunity for me to get some directorial experience," she said. "I plan on pursuing theater after I graduate doing whatever odd jobs I can get acting, stage managing, doing administrative stuff basically whatever theater related job I can get."
Over 250 plays were submitted to the carnival this year from Ireland to Alaska, however only 17 were chosen and feature roughly 50 artists from the west coast and cities and towns nearby, Snider said.
"We were looking for writers too who were trying to say something with their play where if they got produced, it would help their work grow," Snider explained. "Some writers will be with us and others will be communicating with their directors and producers from afar."
As a part of the matinee series on, students of the Cambridge Central School Drama Club will produce and perform a play written by students from the Southshire School in North Bennington, according to the Snider.
"I'm most looking forward to the drama club's production," Snider said. "It's slightly different each weekend so audiences can come multiple times. It has the feeling of a carnival where people can come in and out; that's part of the fun."
Hubbard Hall is a community arts center with a mission to bring the best of the arts from all ages and skill levels to the region, according to its website. The rural opera house was renovated in 1878 and sits on a former freight yard complex.
For more information on shows and tickets, visit www.hubbardhall.org.
Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.