I attended my first theatre festival! 

Ignition is an annual new plays festival hosted by Victory Gardens, one of the many extraordinary theatres in Chicago. Victory Gardens is a short walk off of the Fullerton Redline stop and that was where the festival was hosted this year.  

The festival originally began to showcase work by women. Immerging playwrights would submit their pieces and the theatre would curate the selection and then proceed to work with the playwrights who get chosen to craft debut readings at the festival. Throughout the years, it has branched out to celebrating works by other artists including coloured artists, young artists and artists of the LGBTQ+ community as well. I think it’s so wonderful, because it gives new artists the rare opportunity to be discovered by one of the biggest theatres in one of the biggest theatre cities in the world. One of the playwrights this year was even an intern at Victory Gardens just last year. The variety of the showcase really proves that greatness can come from anywhere at any time. I hope I am just as lucky. 

Throughout all the readings, I couldn’t sit still in my seat. This was partly because of the masterpieces being displayed and partly because I was just so proud to be a witness of their blossom. Ignition chose to focus on plays in process in year, which means the plays are not yet done and the readings were of the draft that the playwrights are currently at with the story. Frankly I don’t know how they could get any better, but this also taught me that things can only get better. I often leave my pieces when I think I’m done and choose to not look back with the belief that they can only be as good as they are right then. Perhaps, I should take another look. 

My favourite piece of the entire festival was a play called Tasters by Meghan Brown, which follows three women on their journey of being tasters for food served to the kings of different lands to make sure no poison was being served in the palaces. The reading was directed by my playwriting professor, Devon De Mayo (I KNOW RIGHT SMALL WORLD) and it was a match made in heaven. I had met Devon before the festival but couldn’t find her after the reading. With all my courage, I went up to Meghan on my own after the playwrights’ panel on the last day of the festival and introduced myself. I offered to buy her coffee but unfortunately, she was flying back to California right after the last reading that afternoon. She did however say we could Zoom video call because she loves chatting with students and fellow writers, so I’m super excited for that. She is a screenwriter and playwright based in LA and I hope to learn lots from her because that is the path that I hope to embark on myself. 

I also perked up the courage to shake hands with Victory Garden’s Artistic Director, whom would hopefully be my boss in the near future. I am particularly proud because I went up on my own (after not being able to locate my professor after all the readings.) This isn’t out of the ordinary of me but I will say that my eagerness to introduce myself was sparked even more by the passionate environment. I would absolutely be honored to work alongside the people I met that weekend, and contribute to the ever impressive flame. 

Truly, ignited. 



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