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HCC’s 24-hour Theater Festival Returns on Oct. 8 After Pandemic Pause

HOLYOKE — After a three-year pandemic pause, the annual Leslie Phillips Festival, an evening of short plays written, directed, and staged in 24 hours, returns next week to Holyoke Community College (HCC).

HCC theater alumni and students will assemble on the evening of Friday, Oct. 7 to begin brainstorming ideas and writing plays they will perform the next night, Saturday, Oct. 8, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in HCC’s Leslie Phillips Theater.

The annual benefit, last held in 2019, honors the legacy of Leslie Phillips and raises money for the Leslie Phillips Theater Fund for Arts and Education.

The festival was first organized in 2016 by HCC alumni working with HCC Theater Professor Pat Sandoval as a tribute to Phillips, founder of the HCC theater program, who died in 1988 after inspiring legions of HCC students.

“This is an evening of creativity and collaboration for the HCC theater community and the community at large,” HCC alumna and festival coordinator Lisa Poehler said. “It’s also a chance to invest in the future generation of HCC’s theater program and students, all in the name of our beloved mentor, Leslie Phillips.”

After the show, festival attendees are invited to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the HCC Players, the theater group founded in 1972 and led by Phillips until her death.

Funds raised from the festival enable the HCC Theater Department to hold master classes, make capital improvements, and hire guest artists — “anything to enrich, enable, and expand the educational experience of HCC students,” Poehler said.

To participate in the festival as an actor or director, register at hcc.edu/24-register or email Lisa Poehler at [email protected].

Festival tickets can be purchased in advance at brownpapertickets.com (Search for ‘Phillips Festival.’) Advance tickets cost $12.50 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors; at the door, the prices are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors.

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