About the Festival – an Introduction

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Started in 1992, the Liverpool International Theatre Festival (LITF) is an amateur theatre competition hosted every two years in the town of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, at the historic Astor Theatre. The event is organized by a dedicated group of volunteers who, with the aid of community and government sponsors, brings the world to our small-town stage for a diverse and appreciative audience.The Artistic Director selects twelve amateur theatre companies from countries all over the world, via an application process, to perform at this phenomenal five-day festival. At least two of the 12 available invitations are reserved for troupes from Nova Scotia, making the festival a delectable mix of local flavour and international flair.LITF has drawn participation from 23 countries including: England, U.S.A., Japan, Sweden, Norway, Bulgaria, France, Ireland, Slovakia, Germany, Venezuela, Singapore, Denmark, Belgium, Korea, Poland, Croatia, Australia, El Salvador, Pakistan, Israel, Syria, and Wales. Canadian troupes from Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec have also performed at LITF over the past nine festivals.Plays are performed in the language of the competitor’s choosing, and run between 30 and 50 minutes. Professional adjudicators watch all the performances and then offer analysis of the productions to the cast, crew, and interested audience members in a daily morning session called the Coffee Critique.The festival kicks off with an Opening Night Reception, where the performing troupes are welcomed in a colourful and entertaining public ceremony. For the next four nights, performers, audience members, sponsors, and the media mingle at an ongoing hospitality event called Festival Club, which features musical entertainment, a cash bar, and stories galore.Over the five days of the festival theatre professionals offer various workshops to ticket subscribers, delegates, and the general public. The last festival workshops included subjects such as street theatre in Nepal, meditation and theatre, playwriting, and movement.

For the duration of the festival, the town of Liverpool opens its doors to its honoured visitors, many of whom are billeted with local residents, and a full slate of special events and activities offers cultural experiences for performers and public alike. Many hosts describe the billeting arrangement as a true cultural exchange, sharing their community with international visitors who in turn teach locals all about their home countries. Many long-lasting relationships have begun with this simple and generous act of opening one’s home to a stranger.

Transportation is provided free of charge for delegates arriving at the Stanfield International airport outside of Halifax, and around Liverpool throughout the five days. At least one vehicle is on call and available throughout the day and evening, to ensure safe transport of all festival participants.

The festival wraps up with a closing ceremony, featuring an honour guard of our famous Mounties (Royal Canadian Mounted Police). Production awards are presented at the closing ceremony, in the following categories:

  • Outstanding International Production
  • Outstanding Canadian Production
  • Outstanding Director
  • Outstanding Actor
  • Outstanding Actress
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress
  • Outstanding Visual Presentation
  • Best Original Script
  • People’s Choice Award

The People’s Choice Award is selected by audience members on the last day of the event and presented by the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia (or other dignitary).

The Closing International Night is the final event of the festival. Performers, audience members, organizers and VIPs all gather to share  food, stories, and fun. This final send off usually involves partying until the wee hours of the morning, as we prepare to say goodbye to new friends and old friends, wrapping up an adventure of a lifetime.