Liz Hobbs is an incredibly busy woman. Organizing festivals is her main gig, but she also directs theatre productions, writes, acts, and is currently the artistic director of the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre.
During the time I was tracking her down, Hobbs was in and out of the province. In and out of Edmonton. She was coordinating the Silver Skate Festival Folk Trail, then up to Kinuso (near Slave Lake) to audition 200 kids for Fiddler on the Roof, then back to work on the Chinook Festival.
But from precisely 3:00 to 3:30 pm on a Thursday, Hobbs had time to talk to me about the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre.
“I have some Irish roots entangled with all the rest of my family background and have just recently visited Ireland, so have a fresh appreciation of Irish theatre and music,” Hobbs said. “Much of it goes unrecognized as Irish although it may play the world over. Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde, for example, are two prominent Irish playwrights.”
The festival is held from March 16-19 at Alberta Avenue Community Centre. The timing cleverly folds around St. Patrick’s Day, which will certainly intensify the celebrations.
For those unfamiliar with the festival, Serca is the celebration of Irish theatre, music, dance, and poetry in a variety of formats. It started out on the Ave in the old Western Cycle building in 2010 and 2011, then was moved to La Cité Francophone for two years, then ended up back on the Ave.
Since 2010, the festival has featured six original Edmonton created works and 15 Irish works, along with Irish music, dancing, and poetry.
This year there are two theatre shows including a new production called I heart Alice heart I. The second production, Waiting for Godot, is a timeless classic by Samuel Beckett and produced by One World Theatre out of Seattle, which has been playing to rave reviews.
Festivalgoers can also check out two cabarets and two ceilidhs. The cabarets venture on the risqué side with one recommended for ages 14 plus and the other with definite adult content. But there’s also plenty of entertainment for families and the two ceilidhs will be an afternoon and evening of fun for everyone with music, dancing, refreshments, and everything else Irish.
Hobbs explained Irish influences can be felt throughout Canada and the world.
“A fascinating example is Métis fiddling from Irish/Cree traditions. There are some very local, contemporary Edmontonian Irish performers and compositions who reflect this blend of old and new,” Hobbs said. “The Cunningham Family Band will represent Irish/Cree musical traditions. Spoken poetry features great local compositions and performers. Then there is the ever-present blend of dance, Irish brew, and good humour that will permeate the weekend.”
Hobbs suggested visiting www.sercafest.com for an updated schedule.
“In the meantime, stay in suspense. It will be fabulous fun for the whole family.”
Header Image: Waiting for Godot is one of the theatre productions playing at Serca Festival. | Truman Buffet
SERCA FESTIVAL OF IRISH THEATRE
Pay by donation
Alberta Avenue Community Centre
9210 118 Ave