Matthew Kresal is your guide to this year's convention...
It is no secret that for more than fifty years now, the BBC television series Doctor Who has presented audiences around the world and of all ages with tales of the Doctor and his journeys through time and space. With its revival in 2005 and its subsequent success, the show's fandom as also seen something of a resurgence along with it. Alongside long standing conventions in the United States such as Gallifrey One and Chicago TARDIS, new conventions have begun popping up for those unable to get to those events. One of these has been Con Kasterborous which is now headed into its fifth year this month.
Since 2012, the city of Huntsville, Alabama has been home to an ever growing convention dedicated to the series. Named Con Kasterborous (after the constellation of which Gallifrey is/was a part of), the convention began as what seemed a low key event that, without a Doctor or companion as guests its first year, nevertheless managed to bring in around five hundred attendees. 2013's convention, featuring Amelia Pond actress Caitilin Blackwood as a guest, saw the convention bring in a thousand attendees. 2014 saw the convention move a couple of miles down the road to a larger venue at the Westin in the Bridge Street Town Centre along with Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy, script editor Andrew Cartmel and Torchwood's Gareth David-Lloyd. Last year saw the convention having a TV Movie reunion with Eighth Doctor Paul McGann, Eric Roberts and Eliza Roberts in attendance, alongside Big Finish founder and executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery. Both of those events saw around 1600 attendees present.
2016's event, taking place the 25th and 26th of this month, promises to be just as exciting with the convention moving to the Embassy Suites in downtown Huntsville. Fans will have the opportunity to meet a number of people who have appeared in and worked on the series over the last five decades including British actors Colin Baker, who played the Sixth Doctor on-screen between 1984 and 1986, Frazer Hines, who played the Second Doctor's companion Jamie McCrimmon, plus returning guest Caitilin Blackwood who played the younger version of the Doctor's companion Amy Pond (who was played by her real life cousin Karen Gillan). Also returning are Seventh Doctor era script editor Andrew Cartmel, the comic book artist Kelly Yates whose work includes IDW's acclaimed Doctor Who stories The Forgotten and Prisoners Of Time and actress/writer Ellie Collins.
In addition to the various guests the convention will have this year, fans can also look forward to a number of other events. There will be chances for them to have their photo taken with both the TARDIS and a full sized roaming Dalek as well as to attend or even take part in a number of panels discussing various aspects of Doctor Who from Big Finish to celebrations of the anniversaries of David Tennant's Tenth Doctor and five decades of the Cybermen. There will also be a vendor's room where you can buy things Doctor Who and sci-fi related, plus an artist alley where local craftspeople can showcase and sell their wares.
As well all of that, the convention will also be helping to raise money for the local Friends Of Rescue animal shelter through our "Silence Auction". Here fans will be able to bid on items ranging from autographed photos of various Doctor Who actors as well as donated items. Last year's auction we raised over $2,000 for the group and convention organizers hope to do so again this year.
The convention will also be presenting a reading of a new stage adaptation of one of the most sought after missing stories from 1960s Doctor Who. Adapted from the original TV scripts, the con will be presenting a reading of The Power Of The Daleks which was first broadcast fifty years ago this November. The reading will draw on the talents of the Huntsville theatre community to bring the story back to life.
Pre-registration for Con Kasterborous 2016 will close on June 17th with the tickets being sold at a discounted rate until then. Tickets can be purchased at the event with prices being $60 for both days, $35 for Saturday only and $30 for Sunday. For more information and a list of events taking place at Con Kasterborous 2016, visit the convention's website www.conkasterborous.com