If you weren’t one of the hundred or so recently at the highly acclaimed ECAS Theatre, rubbing elbows with Mayor Elorza, Firstworks and PVD Fest’s 2017 grand marshall Francis Parra (and founder and executive artistic director of ECAS Theatre), surely you’ve heard about the big plans for PVD Fest 2018.
When Mayor Elorza took the microphone at the event, his enthusiasm was contagious. Because he stood on stage at a theater whose company consists of native Spanish speakers, Mayor Elorza conducted his PVD Fest announcements in Espanol. He relied on the promotional photo to emphasize the inclusivity of the event and the importance of it being free, and to express appreciation for the sponsors, who were named on the photo. If the humans featured in the photo were present, they might have felt special as Mayor Elorza pointed specifically to their expressions of pure elation. His most emphatic moment was when he called the audience to arms. He explained that there was a goal to break the Guinness Book of World Records by having the largest BACHATA dance event at sunset on the opening night of PVD Fest 2018, and he asked that everyone in the audience bring four friends. Mayor Elorza is absolutely gracious and eloquent in his public speaking.
Mayor Elorza introduced FirstWorks executive director, Kathleen Pletcher, in that gracious manner, saying that the City of Providence and FirstWorks arrived at the concept of PVD Fest at the same time and agreed to collaborate. Mayor Elorza congratulated Pletcher and FirstWorks before Pletcher introduced the director of culture and tourism, Stephanie Fortunato. Fortunato emphasized the BACHATA challenge, the growth of the festival and the importance of spreading the word about the festival. She gave major air time to the talents of Lizzie Araujo, who has a legacy in Providence as a phenomenal organizer and producer.
ECAS Theatre, where the event took place, is currently in rehearsal for La Criolla, written by Melida Delgado and directed by Jhomphy Ventura. ECAS shows are frequently sold out to a standing ovation audience. For Rhode Island visitors and locals equally, ECAS Theatre is a haven for culture, class and kindness.
PVD Fest 2018 runs June 7 – 10, with the BACHATA Guiness World breaking event starting at sunset on June 7 in Kennedy Plaza.