Western Ontario Drama League
Newsletter March 2021
In this issue:

  • Online Workshops for WODL Members from Off the Wall
  • News from Theatre Woodstock
  • Remembering Laura Jean McCann
  • You can help WODL
  • We Will Open Our Doors Again - ACT-CO
  • News from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MOLTSD) Advisory Committee for Live Performance
  • Community Theatre in the WODL Region
  • Brenda Kamino is Offering Online Coachingng
  • New Plays from the Playwights Canada Press
  • Off the Wall
  • Grants and Loans Available During the Pandemic
  • Rights for Streaming Plays
  • Inspiration
  • All That's Left is an Empty Stage
  • Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet
  • If you are producing Canadian Plays this Season - Check This Out
  • Is your WODL Membership Information Up-to-date?
  • Dates for your Diary
Quick Links:
Online Workshops for WODL Members from Off the Wall
To celebrate theatre in the WODL region, and to gather virtually at a time when we can’t gather in person for Festival 2021, WODL is streaming two free workshops on ZOOM.

These workshops are sponsored by WODL and presented by Off the Wall, Stratford Artists Alliance, www.stratfordoffthewall.com.
Faux Food Demonstration

Presenter: Michelle Jamieson
Saturday March 13, 2021
1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
Makeup Demonstration
Presenter: Georgia Steele 
Saturday March 20, 2021
1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
For more information, including how to register, go to wodl.on.ca/workshops-training.
News from Theatre Woodstock
By Sue Robinson and Stef Flannigan, Theatre Woodstock
Theatre Woodstock has been remarkably busy despite the lockdown and we are excited about the many new things happening in our virtual theatre space.
We've been offering on-line Quiz Nights, one per month, on Saturday evenings. The next one will be our 8th. It's a fun way to gather virtually and compete with friends on a wide range of trivia questions.
Our first major project was a ZOOM play for the kids of our STAGES Program. Despite the challenges of converting to completely virtual rehearsals and performances it was a huge success! The virtual play
was Dr. Evil and the Pigeons with Lasers and we had great audiences including virtual school classrooms.
Next, we introduced a Virtual Playwriting Contest and surprisingly we received 16 submissions, from several "far away" places. Theatre Woodstock was pleased to announce the four winners:

JEFF DUNNE, A Snowball's Chance
REX MCGREGOR, Sunshine in Every Window
SKYE POTTER, Chipped Away
JAN SIMS, Light of My Life

These four incredible plays will be part of Theatre Woodstock's Virtual Play Festival, premiering in April 2021.
With rehearsals beginning in February, we are delighted to embark on our exciting new STAGES Youth Program Virtual Season with three exciting digital shows for actors ages 7-15:
A Virtual Play: Brief Interviews with Internet Cats, a Stay-at-Home Play

Celebrity interviewer Ian McWorthy has a dream line-up for tonight’s episode of the World Wide Window: a veritable litterful of felines whose internet antics have
catapulted them to fame
A Virtual Musical: The Show Must Go Online

The hilarious story of a group of passionate students desperate to keep their annual musical alive…online!
And a presentation from our Senior Company: CLUE High School Stay-at-Home Edition

Based on the iconic 1985 Paramount movie which was inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, Clue is a hilarious farce-meets-murder mystery.
All three shows will be available to watch online starting June 1st, 2021, and there will be a week-long premiere event in partnership with the Oxford Drive In on the last weekend in May!
Remembering Laura Jean McCann
By Shirley Bieman, WODL Past President, shirley@wodl.on.ca
On the day before Valentine’s Day 2021, our WODL family lost one of its beloved members to pancreatic cancer. Laura Jean McCann first became known to many of us when she served on the WODL Board of Directors as the Area VP for Elgin, Middlesex, Perth and Oxford, always a voice of reason at the Board table. Her style and infectious smile lit up any room whenever she entered.

Her love of theatre was evident in all she did. A valued member of many groups in the region, she was one of the founders of Aylmer Community Theatre. She was a woman of many talents: an actor, director, and producer but her love of music always shone through, as a superb cellist and a noted vocal coach. She proudly showed me the spot in their new RV where her cello fit perfectly when she and Al took their annual trip to Florida.
To honour her memory, her family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for a Drama Scholarship for East Elgin Secondary School, the school where Laura Jean taught before her retirement. If you would like to donate to that fund the link is below.

Among all her accomplishments, whether it be with theatre or ballroom dancing or whatever she decided to tackle, her greatest was that she was a dear friend to many.

We send our deepest condolences to Al and all her family. As we grieve the loss of this dynamic woman, our memories of her live on. Laura Jean, we miss you!  

You can help WODL
WODL communicates with our member groups through the group presidents and the group WODL delegates--two delegates from each group. These people can then pass the information on to the rest of their group membership. Presidents and delegates also receive personal invitations to the WODL general meetings and to the AGM.

So, presidents and delegates, if you are hiding out there, we need to hear from you!

So if you are the president, or you have been appointed a delegate for your group, please do the folowing:
Contact the WODL Membership Chair, Tim Dawdy, at membership@wodl.on.ca with this information:
  • Your name
  • The name of the theatre that you represent
  • Your position: president or delegate.
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number
  • Your postal address
Your contact information will only be used for official WODL purposes.
We Will Open Our Doors Again - ACT-CO
ACT-CO (Association of Community Theatres - Central Ontario) has produced an advocacy video:

News from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MOLTSD) Advisory Committee for Live Performance
By Brandon Moore
In discussion with Mona and Tricia following the last WODL meeting, I thought that a series of articles might be most worthwhile to cover many of the issues affecting community theatres during this pandemic.

Re-opening of community theatres is happening in an ever-evolving environment of scientific knowledge and political imperatives.

The safety measures that have been introduced for performing arts facilities were modified just three weeks ago as Ontario came out of the Stay-at-Home order. They may be subject to further changes again in the future—remember that covid-19.ontario.ca will always be your most current resource.

It’s also important to remember that your Local Public Health Unit has the authority to set higher safety measures than the ones defined by the province. Ensure that you’ve reviewed your local requirements as well.

The safety measures are progressive (for example, the measures in the Green/Prevent Zone apply at all levels, unless stricter measures are in place.)

Green/Prevent Zone

  • Written safety plan
  • Capacity limited to maximum of 50 people indoors with physical distancing
  • Singers and players of brass/wind instruments separated from spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
  • 2 metres physical distancing, except for purposes of the performance itself
  • Personal protective equipment for workers (including eye protection if you must be within 2 meters of a person who is not wearing a mask or eye covering) and face coverings for all, except for purposes of the rehearsal or performance itself
  • Passive patron screening (typically signage)
  • Washrooms that are accessible to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition

Yellow/Protect Zone

  • Alcohol sales between 9am and 11pm
  • Patron contact information must be recorded

Orange/Restrict Zone

  • Alcohol sales between 9am and 9pm
  • Patrons must be formally screened

Red/Control Zone and Grey/Lockdown Zone

  • Closed to spectators, but rehearsing/recording/broadcasting still permitted
  • Singers and players of brass/wind instruments must be separated from each other by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier

Stay at Home

  • Closed for all purposes

Travel within Ontario between Zones should be avoided, except for essential reasons.

When you reach the Red/Control Zone, two other significant measures come into play when considering community theatre:

  • Trips outside the home should only be for essential reasons
  • Social gatherings should be avoided

“Essential” and “social” is language that needs to be parsed carefully by community theatres.

(For the purposes of this summary, I am not covering concessions as the requirements for food and drink establishments are quite detailed in terms of limitations on capacity, lines, sizes of groups, barriers, etc.)

Developing your written safety plan is significant, which is why the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development Advisory Committee for Health and Safety in Live Performance has developed the “Live Performance Health and Safety during COVID-19” Guideline (February 10, 2021). Outlining the requirements for all workplaces, and constitutes a best practice for all community theatres. Any community theatre that has staff, or contractors, or any person receiving honoraria, fall under the guideline as “workers.” The guideline is for theatre leaders to assess the industry-specific risks while developing their written safety plan.

In the interim, the guideline is available via Event Safety Association Canada at https://esacanada.ca/Resources2/ and from our colleagues in the Film & Television sector at https://www.filmsafety.ca/safety-guidelines-i-ontario/

Next month I’ll answer of the specific questions that came up, including resources on types of barriers, screening questionnaires, and adjudications. As theatres become familiar with the guidelines, I’m sure there will be further questions which I will also address in future months.

If you have any questions for Brandon, that you would like him to answer in this newsletter in April, please send them to communications@wodl.on.ca.
Community Theatre in the WODL Region
Several WODL member groups are keeping active during this time. A good place to find out about these activities is on the WODL Facebook page, WODL | Facebook. Most of the announcements are at fairly short notice, so check in often!

If your group is putting on an event that you would like included in the March newsletter, please send the information to communications@wodl.on.ca.
Brenda Kamino is Offering Online Coaching
By Brenda Kamino, bkamino@rogers.com
I miss my students!

Some of you know that I had been a Theatre Ontario Summer Intensive acting teacher almost every other summer since 2006 until they shut their doors. And some of you have been among the fabulous participants in my scene study classes. These classes were the highlight of my summers whether or not I was doing anything in the profession.
Group work at Theatre Ontario’s Summer Intensive, Stratford 2018
As well, I had spent many happy weekends with theatres all over Ontario and made some good friends – Scarborough Players, Georgetown, North Bay and Fort Erie among them – and had a lot of fun. With the pandemic, working with theatre groups has also become limited, as well.
A totally pre-pandemic team exercise with a group in GEORGETOWN 2010. They are flipping over a rug with only their feet.
Solution? Online learning – that means I can work with more WODL people, as the furthest west group I have ever had the pleasure of travelling to teach was Guelph Little Theatre back in 2011.

I have spent almost my entire acting career teaching and coaching – professionals, theatre school hopefuls, retirees and community theatre denizens and I don’t intend to quit just because of a pandemic.

I offer an array of possibilities for Zoom learning:

  • Monologues and audition technique. One on one work on pieces to help finesse your audition technique.

  • Pair work on scene study. Choose a partner (can be within your theatre group or anywhere really – that’s the advantage of online work). I can help select a scene for you to rehearse together online and present to me for detailed feedback and workout.

  • Groups up to 8 at a time, for scene study, in order to have feedback from a group moderated by me, and then working through the scene.

Contact me at bkamino@rogers.com and let’s find a way to keep your skills up, learn new ones and aim for roles out of your comfort zone. I had a lovely student, famous for doing only comic roles who was challenged to audition for a dramatic role, landed it and ultimately won a best actress award (drama category) at the Theatre Ontario Festival the next year. I believe in stretching one’s horizons and aiming high.

The only requirement is a computer with a camera and microphone and a screen large enough to see your partner clearly enough to create as much intimacy as possible. Add a light source that makes your face and upper body clearly visible and you’re all set.

Let’s get training again and get our creative juices flowing! As I said, I miss my students!
Brenda Kamino

Parallel with her acting, writing and directing career, Brenda has been a teacher and coach: for Tarragon Theatre’s Spring Arts Fair, The Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Theatre Ontario’s Summer Intensives.

She served on the Advisory for Humber College School of Performance - Theatre for 9 years and has conducted many workshops as well as private coaching. 

Since 1977 she has appeared in major theatres across Canada, including a season at the Shaw Festival, performing at the Centaur in Montreal, Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary, the National Arts Centre, The Royal Alexandra, Theatre, Passe Muraille and YPT in Toronto. Her film and television appearances are in the hundreds including THE GLASS CASTLE starring Brie Larson and a series regular in CTV’s CARTER starring Jerry O’Connell. She is recipient of CAEA’s LARRY MCCANCE award for her work on behalf of non-mainstream Equity members. She is presently General Manager for RENAISSANCE CANADIAN COMPANY with award-winning actor/director/playwright Andrew Moodie.
New Plays from the Playwrights Canada Press
By Jessica Lewis, Sales & Marketing Manager, Playwrights Canada Press, jessica@playwrightscanada.com 
Check out these new releases from Playwrights Canada Press:

New Magic Valley Fun Town by Daniel MacIvor
When Dougie’s childhood friend Allen comes to visit, a night reminiscing, drinking, and dancing turns into a raw examination of their past.

Bare Bear Bones by Michael Grant
In an effort to rekindle their spark, empty nesters Norm and Ruth book a trip to a familiar family campground, only to realize that it’s now a nudist camp.

Theory by Norman Yeung
In this thrilling exploration of the intersections and divisions within liberalism, a young professor finds herself in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse.
You can find more new releases, books coming soon, and a blog full of interviews and excerpts on playwrightscanada.com!
Off the Wall
By Michele Boniface, Chair, Off the Wall Stratford Artists Alliance, mboniface@cyg.net
Off the Wall is gearing up for a full theatre production skills training program in Stratford during July and August. Participants will be mentored by seasoned Stratford Festival artists – some of the finest backstage professionals in the country.. And, The programs are open to theatre enthusiasts of all ages.
The attached schedule shows twelve summer courses on offer, including “Setting the Scene” – a two-week theatre production arts overview featuring Theatrical Carpentry, Scenic Art, Mask Making and Prop Building. In this course, as they learn theatre basics, students collaborate with Stratford Perth Museum curators to create a display for their permanent Stratford Festival exhibit.
Because our courses run 9-5 during weekdays, students have opportunities to take in theatre performances at night and on weekends.
For course details and registration, visit www.stratfordoffthewall.com. A number of courses are already full, but we keep waiting lists in case spaces open up.
Facebook @offthewallstrat
Hashtags: #stratfordoffthewall #theatreproduction #backstage
Grants and Loans Available During the Pandemic
By Pam Niesiobedzki-Curtis, WODL Secretary, secretary@wodl.on.ca
The following is a list of grants and loans, that your theatre group may be entitled to, to assist with problems caused by the pandemic:

Federal programs
CEBA - Canada Emergency Business Account
This program provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 33 percent (up to $20,000).
CERS - Canada Emergency Rent Subsidiary
Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.
Provincial programs
Ontario: COVID-19 Business Support Grants
Ontario is helping businesses recover costs for personal protective equipment and providing extra support for businesses required to close or significantly restrict services as a result of provincial public health measures.
Ontario Small Business Support Grant
The new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will help small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the new Provincewide Shutdown.
Main Street Relief Grant for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Provides up to $1,000 for PPE costs to eligible small businesses across Ontario with 2 to 19 employees.
Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants
For businesses that were required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health or, going forward, in areas categorized as control, Lockdown or Provincewide Shutdown. This provincial application-based grant provides a rebate to eligible businesses in respect of property taxes and energy bills.
Ontario Energy Board program
CEAP-SB - COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program - Small Business
The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides a one-time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. Small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $1,500 in support towards their electricity and natural gas bills, and they can apply for on-bill credits for both electricity and natural gas separately.
Business Development Bank of Canada program
HASCAP – Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program Guarantee
These loans are for small and medium-sized businesses that have seen their revenues decrease by 50% or more as a result of COVID-19.
Rights for Streaming Plays
By Tricia Ward, WODL Communications Coordinator, communications@wodl.ca
In this time of restrictions on gathering in groups, many of us are thinking about moving our theatrical activities online. This raises the question of what rights are needed in order to put a performance online. In this article I aim to give you an overview of this murky subject.

Online performances need one of the following:
  • Streaming rights, for any performance that is transmitted to a remote audience as it happens.
  • Broadcast rights, for any performance that is recorded for later transmission.

Musicals are a special case. If you want to broadcast a musical, you also need the broadcast rights to every piece of music.

In general, the streaming and broadcast rights for a play are not held by the publisher of the scripts. These rights are usually held by the playwright or their agent.

This link to the American Association of Community Theatres (AACT) website gives contact information for obtaining streaming, and broadcast, rights for plays from several major publishers:

Here is a link to a video from the American Association of Community Theatres (AACT) on getting started with live streaming and broadcasting drama. This video is based on a proprietary box office product, but the discussion is informative. It describes a hybrid live/streaming model for performances:

A Plague on all our Houses: This is a podcast from the BBC on the effects of repeated outbreaks of plague on Shakespeare's plays:

All That's Left is an Empty Stage
This is poignant video from the Birmingham Royal Ballet:

Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet
The Canadian Play Outlet has over 2000 Canadian Plays right at your fingertips. Looking for something specific? Check out the curated Collections.

Every month you can take a look at the newest unpublished and published plays available!
If you are Producing Canadian Plays this Season - Check This Out
The Playwrights Guild of Canada publicises productions of Canadian-written plays through its website, www.playwrightsguild.ca.

If you want to perform a Canadian play but cannot figure out where to obtain the amateur performance rights, view this presentation from PGC.
Is your WODL Membership Information Up-to-date?
Are you on the board of a theatre group that belongs to WODL? If your group has:

  • A new President
  • New WODL delegates
  • A new Treasurer

Please let our membership chair, Tim Dawdy, know at membership@wodl.on.ca
Dates for your Diary:
31 March 2021
Deadline for submissions for the April newsletter
18 July 2021
WODL Annual General Meeting, Zoom
14 March to 19 March 2022
WODL Festival 2022, Guelph
13 March to 18 March 2023
WODL Festival 2023
11 March to 16 March 2024
WODL Festival 2024, Leamington
This newsletter was prepared by:
Tricia Ward
Communications coordinator

Western Ontario Drama League  | communications@wodl.on.ca | www.wodl.on.ca

Copyright © Western Ontario Drama League 2021. All Rights Reserved.