The Nextfest Arts Company is made up of hundreds of young and emerging artists from a wide variety of disciplines, banding together to present Edmonton’s most unique annual multi-disciplinary arts festival: Nextfest. Founded in 1996 by Bradley Moss, Nextfest is a common ground for the next generation of creators and producers. The future is theirs!
Nextfest shepherds the development of emerging artists. It is curated on the basis of providing development opportunities for emerging professional artists to hone their craft, gain experience, make contacts, and step forward as the future of professional arts. In doing so, we instill in the emerging generation an appreciation for the importance of mentorship. There are many ways in which artistic entities, products, and relationship have grown out of Nextfest, and there are numerous examples of new works of theatre and dance, that may have never made it to the stage, and ongoing artist collaborations that may have never come to be, without the existence of Nextfest.
HISTORY OF NEXTFEST
Nextfest was created out of the need to support the voice of the emerging professional artist, a place where the young artist was nurtured. Like any occupation you cannot get opportunities until you get the experience, a twenty something loop that is hard to break. Nextfest is a multidisciplinary festival where artists from different fields develop relationships, a meeting place to exchange ideas and grow. What we did not realize is that what Nextfest is truly doing is building our artistic community.
In 1996 Bradley Moss created the festival and it was launched with over a 100 artists and six days of events, and we knew immediately we had something special. Bradley Moss was the festival director from 1996 thru 1998, with Glenda Sterling becoming the new festival director in 1999 and 2000. During Glenda’s time Nextfest published its first anthology of plays. In 2001 Steve Pirot became the Festival Director and he expanded the festival from 6 days to 11 days. Festival Director from 2001 thru 2016, Steve published a second anthology of new plays, and brought many new initiatives to Nextfest. Our garden grew under Steve Pirot so much that we created a new Festival Manager position and brought Murray Utas aboard in 2008. Together they pushed the festival to serve over 500 emerging artists on a yearly basis that we maintain today. In 2014 Maggie Baird became the new Festival Manager and with Steve they helped Nextfest evolve and grow, and they had the difficult task of creating a festival without its home venue, as the Roxy Theatre was loss to a fire in 2015. In 2016 Steve Pirot stepped aside and Ellen Chorley became the Festival Director.
Today Ellen and Maggie are the leaders of Edmonton’s “Art of a Generation,” where new stories, new music, and new emerging voices are celebrated.
NEXTFEST BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Bradley Moss, President
Andy Laskiwsky, Treasurer
Kevin Hendricks, Director
Murray Utas, Director
Michael Kennard, Director
Our thanks and gratitude to our generous sponsors for making this great festival possible!