Heating up D.C. at Source

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Entertainment,Barbara Mackay

As pavements heat up in Washington every summer, so does the atmosphere around the building at 1835 14th St. NW, home of Source. This Friday through June 30, Source will again be offering the Source Festival, a three-week-long event consisting of 25 original works for the stage: three full-length plays, 18 10-minute plays, three Artistic Blind Dates and a talent show.

The festival's content is drawn from across the country. "To get the full-length plays, we reach out to anyone who had their play produced in the first five years of the festival's history," said Jenny McConnell Frederick, director of performing arts for CulturalDC and producer of the festival.

"We also reach out to established professionals working in the field. We ask them to recommend playwrights that they think are the most exciting. Then I invite those playwrights to submit plays. This year we got 100 submissions, which is up from 60 the previous year."

In the Artistic Blind Dates, artists from different disciplines are chosen to work together on a piece. "The main difference this year is that we gave them one of the full-length plays and ask them to read it as a jumping-off place for their discussions. We didn't require them to include anything from those plays in their collaborations, but we wanted them to use some of the themes and ideas in their final works."

If you go
Source Festival
» Where: Source, 1835 14th St. NW
» When: Friday through June 30
» Info: $10 to $20; 202-315-1305; culturaldc.org

The artists for the Artistic Blind Dates are found through an open call each year in the fall. "We reach out to artists in all different areas," said Frederick. "They are dancers, musicians, visual artists. They submit applications talking about their personal aesthetic. We don't ask for project ideas. Then our panel chooses the artists we feel are the most exciting."

This is the fourth year of the talent show. "It's a really fun way of getting people from the general community involved," said Frederick. "Last year we had a unicyclist. You get a little bit of everything."

In addition to its productions, the festival runs a unique mentoring program for the 10-minute play directors, pairing them with midcareer directors in town. "In addition, we have started an internship program for undergraduate students working in the field of design," said Frederick. "We match them with professional designers to assist them on our full-length plays."

All productions are held at Source. "The buzz is still there," said Frederick. "It's such an important piece of Washington and such a significant way to help artists and to offer D.C. a sample of the best in theater from around the country right here in its own community."

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Barbara Mackay

Special to The Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner