The debut of the 8 in 48 short-play festival in Meridian fell short of its $20,000 fundraising goal, but co-organizer Autumn Kersey said it fueled the conversation about the need to raise money for a local performing arts venue.

The event, hosted by the Treasure Valley Children’s Theater and the Meridian Arts Foundation, attracted an audience of 150 people Saturday and raised almost $5,000, said Kersey, founder of the children’s theater.

“Overall it was a wonderful event that brought theater artists from across the Valley together,” she said. “(We) didn’t achieve our big goal, but we did get the conversation started and raised some nice seed money to get the fund established.”

The fund will go toward a future performance venue in Meridian, which local arts groups say is lacking. The city of Meridian sought a developer this summer that would build a performance venue, hotel and conference center, but no developers applied for the project.

The audience at the 8 in 48 festival on Saturday got to see eight, 10-minute plays that were carefully selected out of 120 entries from across the country and New Zealand. Auditions, casting, rehearsals and performances all took place in a span of 48 hours.

The Audience Choice award went to “Devushka And The Cat” by Kaysy Ostrom from Bellevue, Washington, directed by Lynn Allison. Kaysy traveled to Meridian for the event.

“So she was there to accept her award,” Kersey said. “It was pretty cool!”

The Screener’s Choice award went to New Zealand playwright Rex McGregor for his play “Aleema Wants a Haircut,” directed by Valerie Baugh Schlossberg.

Meridian Press was the media sponsor for the 8 in 48 festival. The festival is scheduled to be an every-other-year event, Kersey said, so keep an eye out for it come 2017.

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