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Beginning Thursday, the Roadside Theatre Playhouse in Heidelberg, Germany, will play host to 16 one-act plays, featuring 175 participants from U.S. military communities in Germany, Italy and Belgium during the U.S. Army Europe 2003 Festival of One Act Plays.

The festival, a warm-up for the Tournament of Plays held each spring, gives actors and directors a chance to hone their talents, attend workshops and receive constructive criticism from a panel of judges.

“One of the things that’s important to our volunteers and staff is that we give them training and skills,” said Jim Sohre, USAREUR Entertainment director and producer of the festival.

“They always have interest and enthusiasm, so this [is] a way for us ... to improve the quality of our shows so that more people participate and more audiences come to see [the shows].”

A troupe from the Roadside Theater will open the festival at 7 p.m. Thursday with “Adaptation.”

The 30- to 60-minute shows start again at 6 p.m. Friday evening and go all day Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.

“There are all sorts of shows — dramas and comedies, musicals [and] family shows,” Sohre said. “So there’s really sort of something for everybody, and it’s all free.”

Sunday is reserved for workshops, where the public and one-act participants can learn about topics such as costume care, stage lighting techniques and the exploration of truth in acting.

The festival concludes Sunday evening with a showcase performance of “Having Our Say — The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years” put on by the City Park Players, from Alexandria, La.

The performance, which begins at 6 p.m., was one of 11 national finalists in June’s National Theatre Festival in Connecticut.

U.S. Army Europe Festival of One Act Plays

One-act plays — Thursday, starting at 7 p.m.; Friday starting at 6 p.m.; Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

Monologue workshops — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday.

Sunday workshops — 10 a.m. to noon: “Fluffing Your Farthingale,” the care and feeding of costumes with THEATRIX.

1 to 1:45 p.m.: Monologue adjudication, best monologues compete for top honors.

1:45 to 3 p.m.: “Schmooze ’Em or Lose ’Em,” volunteer recruitment, retention and recognition.

3:15 to 4:45 p.m.: “Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There,” explore “Truth in Acting.”

4:45 to 5:45 p.m.: “Light at the End of the Tunnel,” lighting master class.

5 to 5:30 p.m.: “We Open in Venice ...,” festival procedures and opportunities.

6 p.m.: Showcase performance, “Having Our Say — The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years,” by Emily Mann City Park Players, Alexandria, La.

7 p.m.: Awards ceremony

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