TwainFest 2012 is a project of Write Out Loud, a unique theatre company in San Diego that performs literature aloud, all year, throughout San Diego County. You can learn more about us at www.WriteOutLoudsd.com.
TwainFest is a free, one-day festival that celebrates the writing of Mark Twain and many other writers of his time - Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman and more. The date is Saturday, August 18.
Professional actors perform readings and scenes throughout the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park - on the grassy central plaza and in the historic buildings of the Park. All day a variety of musicians perform popular tunes from the mid-19th century.
We produced our first TwainFest in 2010. Nearly 2,400 people attended. The next year, 3,300 people participated! TwainFest attendees range in age from 4 to 94. Youngsters abound with their parents and grandparents in tow. They all attend the many readings and scenes that are performed throughout the Park.
They also enjoy unique games and activities which we created so attendees can balance the "literary" part of TwainFest with live, "hands-on" activities. Here a few examples:
OVERLAND EXPRESS OFFICE: Write a letter that will be picked up by horse and rider and receive a written reply in less than an hour!
NEVER-ENDING STORY: Add your imaginative chapter to this community storybook.
TELEGRAPH CRUNCH: Learn to text in the time of Twain.
CHORTLE THIS! Invent a new word in this activity inspired by Lewis Carroll.
FROG LAUNCH: propel a bean-bag frog with our wooden catapult, inspired by Twain's "The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County".
BOOK EMPORIUM: Redeem your participation coupons for FREE books at the TwainFest Book Emporium where hundreds of donated books await your perusal.
At its heart, TwainFest is about the allure of literature and reading as a source of insight, empathy, and joy. It is so much more than an indispensable tool for prospering, although it certainly is that, too.
Yet Americans are reading literature less every year. The trend away from reading is steepest among youngsters but it is also true of adults.
TwainFest seeks to reverse this trend - at least among its attendees - not by talking about the joy of reading but my demonstrating it. That is what our talented actors do as they bring their stories off the page and into life - aloud.
But there has been one thing missing: Mark Twain himself. Effective Twain impersonators are rare. But we may have found a solution earlier this year when we built a giant puppet of Edgar Allan Poe for a BIG READ project funded by the National Endowment of the Arts. "Edgar" turned out to be magical: wherever he appeared, people came right up asking questions about his writing! About literature!! We'd been talking our heads off about literature with few listening; now they were coming to us! So we are making a 14-foot tall puppet of Mark Twain. We will give all backers updates on "Sam" as he comes into being.
This summer attendance at TwainFest 2012 may reach 4~5 thousand, making TWAINFEST the largest FREE theatrical event in San Diego. We will need to expand to 22 professional actors and 12 professional musicians, combined with over a hundred volunteers. And because we want to remain free, we need your help. We need your help so that we can touch as many people as possible with the magic of reading literature for the sheer enjoyment of it. Once received, the joy of reading is a lifelong gift. Please help us fulfill TwainFest's great potential with a pledge today.
WHERE WILL WE SPEND YOUR MONEY?
- Designing, sculpting, and making SAM, the 14-foot tall puppet of Mark Twain.
- Paying each professional actor and musician in TwainFest a stipend.
- Renting and dry-cleaning period costumes for each actor and musician in TwainFest.
- Many smaller expenditures of printing, sign-making, advertising, and more.
- (30 days)