GilbertOne ticket will buy a week’s worth of entertainment when the Gilbert Theater presents the Next Stage Play Festival July 20-24. One $16 ticket buys entry into all plays and all days of the festival.

Gilbert Artistic Director Robyne Parrish expects the five-day festival to draw a response similar to last year’s event. 

“The community loved seeing new work,” she said. “They really got into the festival and made it a week-long event. It was a true celebration of local talent!” 

Again this year, the festival will celebrate local talent.

“The festival is a chance for local artists to shine in every way,” Parrish said. “Local actors, directors, writers and crew members are showcased. Many of our young people are involved in the summer shows as well as our REP members. This is a true collaborative effort by our local arts community.”

Parrish added that four of the six plays in the festival are locally written. 

“We highlight local talent all year, of course, and it is important that those with a passion for art and for the theatre have an outlet to act out their dreams.” 

One ticket buys a pass to the entire festival. 

“We don’t want our audience to miss any of these fine shows,” Parrish said. “We make it as easy and fun as possible to attend all of them — many of our audience came twice and three times last year to the shows. It was great fun. Part of our mission at the Gilbert is to present new work and to make it accessible and affordable to the public.” 

This year’s selection of plays range from 10 to 40 minutes in length, and three plays are presented at each performance, Parrish explained. Performances begin at 7 p.m. on July 20 and 22. On July 21, 23 and 24, performances are at 2 and 7 p.m. daily.

A 1964 Thunderbird, written by Ted Wojtasik, is about Agnes, a nurse and caretaker for an elderly patient. Agnes herself is not in good health, and she reaches an emotional breaking point on the day she has to sell her car for extra money.

The Cage, written by James Dean, is the story of a young girl, living with her parents in a small town. One summer she meets a strange young boy who appears to be living in a cage in her back yard. Who the boy is and where he came from is a mystery, and she keeps the existence of the boy a secret as well, but it’s hard to keep a secret in a small town. Part love story, part mystery, part adventure, The Cage is a fable that will captivate all ages.

In Bloody Mary, writer Derek Smith gives us a playwright who kills the woman of his dreams over and over again as he tries to satisfy her with the perfect kill for his next work.

In To Be A God, Jennifer Schaupp writes a short play that looks at the tradition of worshipping young females as living goddesses, common in Nepal, from the perspective of an American woman grappling with her own life pursuits.

In The One That Got Away, writer Lisa Brennan presents the audience with a tale of he said-she said-they said. 

For more information on the Next Stage Film Festival or to purchase a ticket, visit gilberttheater.com or call the box office at 910.678.7186.

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