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April 25, 2024

Theater festival celebrates 25th anniversary

Five-week event returns tonight to downtown Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ—Santa Cruz County Actors’ Theatre is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of its acclaimed 8 Tens @ 8 Short Play Festival, which will be held Jan. 10-Feb. 9 at the Center Stage Theater in downtown Santa Cruz.

The annual 10-minute play festival is one of the most popular events of the Santa Cruz theatre season. The festival stages 16 award-winning plays from its 2019 international playwriting contest, shown in repertoire over the five-week festival.

Founded in 1985, Actors’ Theatre has a long history in the greater Santa Cruz area’s theatre community, known for its productions of contemporary, cutting edge theater and new plays. The company also offers two scholarships each year to drama students at Cabrillo College. 

“Actors’ Theatre is now the longest-running and most respected short play festival in the United States,” said Artistic Director and Festival founder Wilma Marcus Chandler. “We have proudly kept in touch with many of our winning playwrights and have seen them go on to have plays produced in larger venues, knowing it all started for them here in Santa Cruz.”

Every summer, Actors’ Theatre holds an international playwriting contest, judged by a select group of local writers and directors. The winning plays are then produced into fully staged productions for the January Festival. The contest has become internationally-renowned, with well over 200 entries every year from around the world.

The 16 award-winning plays will be presented as an “A” and “B” night, eight 10-minute plays on each night, in rotation. Evening performances will run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., and matinees on Saturday and Sundays at 3 p.m. 

Tickets are $32 for general admission and $29 for seniors/students. Special ticket packages are available to see any “A” and “B” night showing throughout the run of the Festival.

“Our 25th season offers a wide variety of comedy and drama,” Chandler said. “They are plays with heart, conscience, and humor.”

ACTING CHOPS  The Santa Cruz County Actors’ Theatre is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its annual festival. Plays beging tonight and run through Feb. 9.

The 2020 Festival roster includes:

“A” Night

• “Life on Land” by Tom Sime. Director: Gerry Gerringer                    

• “The Argument” by Seth Freeman. Director: MarNae Taylor

• “More Than Stink” by Brian Spencer. Director: Jim Schultz

• “The Winter” by Lori Londigan. Director: Nat Robinson                    

• “Waking Up” by Gail Borkowski. Director: Wilma Chandler

• “Vanishing Borders” by Elyce Melmon. Director: Buff McKinley        

• “Stranded Traveler” by Eric Thomas. Director: Kathie Kratochvil

• “Uncle Nutty’s Final Days” by William J. Royce. Director: Daria Troxell 

“B” Night

•“Knots” by Robert Moulthrop. Director: Brian Spencer                                     

•“The Memory of Us” by Mary Caroline Rogers. Director: Andrew Davids

•“Counting Pedestals” by Carlos Jerome. Directors: Noel Warwick & Suzanne Schrag           

•“Why God Made Beggars” by Steve Koppman. Director: Marcus Cato  

•“The Fish Pond” by Joe Lauinger. Director: Cathy Warner

•“Florida” by Steven Doloff. Director: David Halper

•“The Next Ivan Sharansky” by Jim Geoghan. Director: Hannah Eckstein

•“Press Play” by Seth Freeman. Director: Miguel Reyna

For a full calendar and information visit sccat.org. To purchase tickets visit sccat.org or brownpapertickets.com or call 1-800-838-3006.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor of The Pajaronian for five years and three years as Managing Editor. He is a Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus.

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