SEMBACH, Germany – Facilities Management Command Europe Army Entertainment presented One Page Play 2021 and YouthFEST ’21 Talent Showcase October 8-10 at KMC Onstage in Kaiserslautern. The event was the 26th annual U.S. Army Entertainment Festival in Europe and has taken place on Columbus Day weekend since 1995.
Army Europe Entertainment staff and volunteers from Italy, Belgium and Germany came together to participate in the festival. Professional judges and workshop leaders from the US, UK, Norway and Austria were invited to the festival.
The festival is presented annually to recognize outstanding achievement in garrison entertainment programs; provide learning opportunities for Army Entertainment staff and volunteers; and thank program participants for the countless volunteer hours in supporting their community theaters.
“It has been an exceptionally eventful year,” said Dane Winters, Entertainment Program Manager at IMCOM Europe. “In addition to the one-page playwriting workshop, we also presented workshops for young people, a monologue competition, a showcase of young talent, a performance presentation of professional guests and a special volunteer recognition ceremony. ”
“The one-page drama writing workshop is a unique opportunity for our volunteers,” said Alan Buxkemper, director of entertainment for the US Army Garrison in Stuttgart. “It gives them the opportunity to meet, collaborate and create with Army Entertainment staff and volunteers from across Europe. They also have the opportunity to interact and learn from professional directors, actors and judges around the world.
“Each year I am so amazed by the new pieces created over the weekend,” said Victoria Hanrahan, USAG Ansbach Entertainment Director. “It is amazing that such creative and entertaining pieces did not exist a few hours ago.
This year 12 new single-page plays were written, performed, rehearsed and produced in just two days. Awards for outstanding achievement were presented by Sgt IMCOM Europe Command. Major Christopher Truchon at an awards ceremony on October 10.
“The productions that I saw were very entertaining and the dedication of the actors, writers and members of the production team to their craft was evident,” said Truchon.
The YouthFEST ’21 Talent Showcase was presented for the first time this year at the festival.
“The new YouthFEST program has given young people in our communities the opportunity to showcase their talents,” said Winters. “Interacting with professional judges also gave them a better understanding of how to continue to grow and learn as artists. “
Youth workshops in jazz dance, musical theater dance, acting and auditioning provided young participants with opportunities for talent development and learning.
US Army Europe Entertainment “Hero” recognition awards were also presented at the festival. The awards were presented to program volunteers who went above and beyond to help Army entertainment programs continue to serve their garrison communities during the pandemic lockdown.
“Like theaters around the world, our theaters, as they say in the business world, ‘have turned dark’,” said Jerry Brees, USAG Italy
Director of the Vicenza shows. “However, we still had a mandate to continue serving our communities. Through their creativity, talent and generosity, volunteers have helped us be there for our communities in dark times.
In all of the garrison entertainment programs, volunteers created, presented and helped the entertainment programs produce shows, workshops and other online events.
“Our ‘Hero’ Entertainment Awards were our way of recognizing the impact our volunteers have had on our communities and thanking them for all they have done,” said Winters.
This year’s festival also included a presentation of a professional guest show from the UK
“I, AMDRAM” was written and performed by Hannah Maxwell, a professional performance artist based in London.
“It’s not every year that we can host a guest show,” Winters said. “It was a perfect show for our participants.
AmDram or Amateur Dramatics is what the British call their community theater. Maxwell’s entire family has been a part of the local community theater for over 90 years.
“Hannah left this small town scene to become a performance artist in London,” Winters said. “Her wonderful solo show examines the journey from community theater to a professional career and a moving journey of self-discovery. It really touched our participants.