Human library event gleans from the past and peers

Phoenix Theatre celebrates 50 years with Ideafest free event

Phoenix Summer Theatre students and family in 1975 (UVic Archives) Human books will help ‘readers’ look to the past and the future during the Phoenix Theatre’s Human Library March 11.

Phoenix Summer Theatre students and family in 1975 (UVic Archives) Human books will help ‘readers’ look to the past and the future during the Phoenix Theatre’s Human Library March 11.

Looking to the past and the future is an emerging theme from the Phoenix Theatre’s Human Library this weekend.

The event, produced by Richard Lucas, is part of UVic’s Ideafest and also celebrates this year’s 50th anniversary of Phoenix Theatre.

“It’s about borrowing a ‘book’ and discovering a person. It’s often a political kind of event,” Lucas said. “Ours is more of a historical bend … People are going to be able to interact live with pioneers who worked in the huts, or they can look forward.”

Guests enter the lobby of the theatre and register with the ‘human library’ then the borrower gets a one-on-one unique informal interaction with their expert.

“We’re going to be offering to lend you one of a dozen possible human books,” Lucas said. “There are these wonderful pioneers we can look back with … then there’s wonderful working professionals to look forward to.”

Examples of “looking forward” include Deborah Williams currently starring in Taking Off (also written by Williams) at the Belfry Theatre and Nicolle Nattrass a UVic graduate and Jessie-nominated actress and playwright who has performed across Canada in theatre/film/TV and radio.

Looking back includes characters such as Michael J. Whitfield with over four decades of lighting designing nationally and internationally for theatre, opera and ballet, and James Hoffman who shares “innumerable adventures undertaken during several decades of researching and writing about B.C. theatre, from interior farm show stagings to big city performance.”

Lucas suggests looking forward and back with Mark Leiren-Young, a journalist, playwright, filmmaker and author of numerous books, including current best seller The Killer Whale Who Changed the World, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen, for which he won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and The Green Chain.

The Human Library is free and open to the public with books available on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the performance. Bookings can only be made same-day, and must be done in person in the Phoenix Theatre lobby. Lucas recommends coming for a 9:30 a.m. registration, with the library opening at 10 a.m.

“You get to connect with these interesting people in a one-on-one situation and then we have a thing severe everyone comes together and all of our human books come together for our Best Story Ever,” Lucas said.

Books are on a rotating schedule and subject to availability, so please be aware that not every book will be available during all hours the Human Library is open.

Choose from titles like “Actor”, “Playwright” or “Producer” and sign one out to interact live with Phoenix pioneers, current educators and industry professionals.

Phoenix Theatre Human Library drop-in event is among the free events during UVic’s Ideafest on Saturday, March 11.

Drop in to the ‘circulation desk’ in the Phoenix lobby between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.