Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ampersand International Arts Festival Returns to William & Mary in Late February

Jen Shyu: Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses (Provided by the Ampersand International Arts Festival)

WILLIAMSBURG — The Ampersand International Arts Festival will return to William & Mary for its 16th year on Feb. 27, running through Mar. 5 with a variety of arts and entertainment on tap.

Previously known as the William & Mary Global Film Festival, the Ampersand International Arts Festival expanded last year to a performing arts festival. 

The festival offers a broad scope of film and live performances, with a focus on international content. Though William & Mary students, alumni, and faculty are still given the opportunity to submit works.

Highlights of the upcoming festival include a performance by the Improvised Shakespeare Company — featuring a cast of William & Mary alumni — as well as a showing of “The Room” on its 20th anniversary.

More unique experiences include performances of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” performed with cold readings, meaning that the actors haven’t had the opportunity to read through the play beforehand.

Other offerings will include the musical styles of the Fanoos Family Ensemble, and an author talk with Laura Warrell. Warrell is the author of “Sweet Soft Plenty Rhythm,” which has been named a best book of 2022 by several publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Vanity Fair. The novel has been long-listed for the Carnegie Medal in Fiction and short-listed for the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize.

Uncle Ty-Rone and his Ventriloquppets (Provided by Ampersand International Arts Festival)

The annual free family program event is the “Uncle Ty-Rone the Kid’s Comedian” show. Uncle Ty-Rone brings to the stage his team of puppets, better known as his “ventriloquppets.” He uses self-produced, kid-friendly music and comedy, along with 30-plus years of experience, to present his motivating message.

“We always have a free family program as part of the festival,” Ampersand International Arts Festival producer, Liz Sykes, emphasized in an interview.

Industry summit programs are also available for free, and zoom options are available for those who may not be able to attend in person. Over a dozen workshops and panels by professionals in the arts and entertainment industry will be part of the festival, with presenters speaking about their crafts and experiences. There will also be workshops and meet-and-greats after specific ticketed events.

All programs either require a ticket purchased online, or are free and unticketed with availability on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Tickets are available on the festival’s schedule page. Multiple-event festival pass options are also available. Tickets will be available up until the indevidual event, but all purchases must be made online. There will be no on-site box office.

For more information about upcoming events and offerings, visit the festival’s webpage.

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