Now that Rapid Fire Theatre has settled into its new home in Old Strathcona, it's getting ready to welcome audiences to its first festival in the space.
Bonfire, which will run at the Rapid Fire Theatre Exchange from April 27 to 29, is "our festival of new ideas and new creation" starring members of the company's ensemble, artistic director Matt Schuurman told Taproot.
"It's an entire festival of world premieres or pilot episodes or however you want to look at it … It's just this spirit of innovation and experimentation."
Rapid Fire moved into the Telephone Historical Centre building at 10437 83 Ave NW this year after signing a 40-year lease with building owner TELUS in 2021. The 40-year-old arts organization needed its own venue to keep up with its programming, Schuurman said, and he can't wait to introduce audiences to it during Bonfire.
"I think it's so fitting that this is the first festival from our festival lineup that is going to be taking place in the space," he said.
"There's this elevated sense of fun when you first step into the lobby — there's a neon sign on the wall that says 'Let's make shit up,'" said Schuurman. "There's this sense of ridiculousness and fun, but … it's a proper theatre venue with all the bells and whistles: curtains, lights, sound, all that great stuff, comfy theatre seats, and it's very much an intimate space."
For Phase 1 of Rapid Fire's occupancy, the renovation included 160 seats, a lobby, a bar, concessions, washrooms, and an artist lounge. Fundraising is now underway for a Phase 2 renovation of the basement that will include additional performance space, plus capacity for workshops, classes, and rentals. It's about 10% of its way toward a goal of $1 million.