The Cold Reading Series lets anyone take the stage

How hard is it to get your script read in Hollywood North? Scriptwriting is one of the most competitive and high-paying writing jobs, so it’s understandable that standards would be high.

However, you no longer have to be famous to get your script read in Vancouver. All it takes is for the MC to jump up and shout: “Tonight we will need three females and two males.” With that, a night of entertainment and exploration begins.

The Evolving Arts Collective presents the Cold Reading Series every Thursday night at the Billy Bishop Legion in Kitsilano. Since its start in 1993, the Cold Reading Series has helped foster talent in the community. Scriptwriters submit their work to the collective, and at the event their script is acted out on the spot in front of a live audience. In this way, new work is shared and developed, and writers are encouraged to stay away from isolation.

“I want to not only keep the arts alive in Vancouver, but keep them vibrant,” explains organizer Colin Spier. “I have this fear that [the arts] are slowly dying.” The event starts with an explanation of the parts, then a reading of the play, followed by drinks at the bar.

“The project receives over 50 scripts a week and I wish we had time to preform them all, [but at least] we get a chance for all types of writers to get their work out there.” Says Lori Triolo, another organizer. The Cold Reading Series doesn’t just accept stage or screen plays, they accept all types of work, including radio plays, monologues, one act plays, short stories and poetry.
To perform at the Cold Reading Series isn’t difficult. The readings are chosen ahead of time from the emailed-in submissions. Actors don’t need to bring resumes or headshots – they just need to be ready for anything. “Actors need to make quick decisions,” says Triolo, “they cannot be scared to make the leap into the unknown world and get up onto our stage.”

Performers and writers who have performed at the Cold Reading Series have gone on to study at the Toronto School of Arts, Studio 58, SFU’s theater department and perform across Canada. Spier points out, however, that “the point of the Cold Reading Series is not for fame [or] to go on to anything more, it is to enjoy the arts community that we have in Vancouver and keep it going; if people [can] get more out of it, that’s fantastic.”

This exciting event includes one to three readings, and runs around two hours long with socializing at the end. Many of the community members who attend do not perform, but come to watch the cold reading simply for the entertainment of it. The venue is a converted bar with a stage on the front side, with chairs set up to all face the stage so it’s easy for actors to jump up and take a role.

“The best way for anyone to get involved with the CRS is to come down and check it out,” says Triolo. “You’ll see the kind of writing and acting that works best in our venue, and how the CRS works.” While the scene is still busy, Spier and Triolo want to expand into winter and spring so the community has a place to go all year round. “The Cold Reading Series gives everyone a chance to live their dream.”

For more information on the Cold Reading Series go to http://www.evolvingartscollective.com/

//Christine Jamieson

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com