Western Ontario Drama League
Newsletter March 2022
In this issue:
  • Update from the President of WODL
  • Update on COVID Precautions for Theatres
  • WODL-Sponsored Workshops
  • Community Theatre in the WODL Region
  • Cambridge Community Players Update
  • Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk-Oxford Update
  • WODL and SPARC
  • SPARC Symposium 2022 - Call for Workshop Proposals
  • Off the Wall - Summer Workshops
  • New Plays from the Playwrights Canada Press
  • 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
Update from the President of WODL
By Mona Brennan Coles, WODL President, president@wodl.on.ca
When I wrote my update for last month’s newsletter, I hoped that Ontario would still be “returning to normal” when it was time to write my update this month and we are – somewhat faster than original planned in January. 
It is so wonderful to be working on productions again and having to work to find a time for production teams to meet. 
Since we can’t “flip a switch” and return to pre-pandemic times, there will be challenges and opportunities for us as we “do community theatre”. For me it is both exhilarating and scary.
I wish for all of us patience with each other including our audiences and openness to the opportunities that will present themselves – particularly those that are challenging. I am grateful to be a member of the WODL community – talented, generous and supportive.
WODL in 2022-2023 and Beyond

Survey responses suggest that travelling adjudications in 2022-2023 and a Festival associated with the long May 2023 weekend is a good option for WODL. An informal poll of attendees at the February 2022 general meeting supported this choice. It is much less clear what the format of Festival 2023 should be.
The Area VPs are reaching out to their member groups to deliver the survey about Festival 2023 and collect responses – if you haven’t received the survey, check your junk/spam folder or contact your Area VP. 

The contact information for the area VPs is:

Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk: Nikole Beda, nikole@wodl.on.ca.
Bruce-Grey-Huron: Linda Lloyd-McKenzie, lindalm@wodl.on.ca.
Elgin-Middlesex-Perth-Oxford: Rob Coles, rob@wodl.on.ca.
Essex-Lambton-Kent: Renata Solski, renata@wodl.on.ca.
Lincoln-Wentworth: Michelle Spanik, michelle@wodl.on.ca.
Waterloo-Wellington: Bev Dietrich, bev@wodl.on.ca.

WODL General Meeting – February 20, 2022 – Highlights

Thank you to all who were able to attend our General Meeting via Zoom. It was great to see everyone virtually. We are hopeful that we will be able to meet in person this summer for the WODL AGM on Sunday, August 7, 2022. Watch for information and minutes from the 2021 AGM from our Secretary, Pam Niesiobedzki-Curtis, in late June/early July 2022. 

Highlights of the General Meeting include:

  • We are planning future workshops focused on non-pandemic topics e.g., Health & Safety. See Terri’s article for more details.

  • Brandon Moore provided further updates from the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development's Advisory Committee for Live Performance and he answered questions. Thank you, Brandon Moore, for continuing to interpret what the COVID restrictions mean for us as community theatres and working with Tricia Ward (WODL Communications Chair) to share the information clearly, concisely and as quickly as possible.

  • We talked about the challenges of adapting as the COVID restrictions relax. We need to accommodate the varying needs of our volunteers and audiences as we re-open. Public health mandates are being replaced by options. For example, how do we deal with people who bought tickets for performances expecting everyone in attendance would be fully vaccinated? We are fortunate to have each other and several professional companies (Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, etc.) to guide us as we “return to normal”.
Update on COVID Precautions for Theatres
By Brandon Moore
On March 1st, Ontario moved into the “Exit Step” of the “Roadmap to Reopen.”

There are no longer any mandatory capacity limits or proofs of vaccination required. Theatres must screen patrons through passive screening and masks and face coverings remain in place. Theatres must also maintain their updated written safety plans.

However, theatres can continue to request proof of vaccination if they so desire. Among the things to consider include: When did your patrons buy their tickets? Prior to February 14, the Government of Ontario had not indicated that they were lifting that requirement. It might be a factor in your patrons’ willingness to attend now.

One question that came up following the WODL General Meeting was around unmasking in rehearsals, and who is allowed to remove their face coverings currently.

There are 2 key statements in this regard: the first exception is “a person who is performing or rehearsing in a film or television production or in a concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance”—while that clearly covers performers, is a director, a stage manager or other attendee rehearsing IN a theatrical performance?

The other relevant exemption is “a person who performs work for the business or organization, is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area.” A well-arranged rehearsal room could conceivably meet that criteria.

As always, your local Public Health Unit may have higher standards than provincial requirements. These will be expressed through Public Health Orders and Public Health Letters of Instruction. Many of these were also revoked for March 1st, so you’re best to consult locally.

Your risk assessment will always help you make the best decision for your rehearsal. Who is involved in your rehearsals? What is their potential for exposure? What are the consequences of an outbreak among the production?
WODL-Sponsored Workshops
By Terri Graham, Second Vice President WODL, terri@wodl.on.ca
We are excited to have a new round of upcoming workshops starting with Janet Sellery, a professional Health and Safety Consultant from the Stratford area. She will be working with us on a ZOOM workshop so that as many members as possible can attend this very informative session.
We are also looking into workshops on grant writing, director workshops, stage management and more. If there is a specific workshop you'd like us to present please let our team know and we will work on it with you. These workshops can be for a smaller group, in person, or larger ones on Zoom. Applications for workshop funding are on our website.

Theatre Health & Safety Workshop - Saturday 19 March 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Zoom

Presented by Janet Sellery

Community theatres face unique health and safety challenges. This workshop will help you to take initial steps and make responsible decisions related to health and safety in your organizations. We’ll talk about how to apply legislative requirements, research health and safety issues, and implement best practices in a theatre setting, empowering you to approach health and safety with confidence.

Topics will include:

  • Introduction to Health & Safety in the Theatre
  • Health & Safety Law, Rights & Responsibilities, with a focus on volunteers
  • Risk Assessment
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Resources
To attend this workshop, contact Terri Graham at workshops@wodl.on.ca. Terri will send the link to participants before the 17th of March.
About Janet Sellery
Janet Sellery is one of Canada’s leading experts in health and safety and the arts, entertainment and live events. She started her career in stage management and moved into health and safety after a critical injury involving an actor. Janet pioneered the health and safety program at the Stratford Festival, Canada’s largest repertory theatre, and one of her favourite projects was working as the Health & Safety Manager for the Opening, Closing and Victory Ceremonies at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Janet was a Co-Founder of the Canadian Event Safety Summit (2016-2018) and is now Board Chair for Event Safety Alliance Canada.
Janet is an active volunteer with the Ontario Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development Live Performance Health & Safety Advisory Committee, the Scott Johnson Working Group, the Board of Directors for the Event Safety Alliance, and the Event Safety Working Group. Janet is a graduate of the Technical/Production Theatre Program at the Ryerson Theatre School in Toronto and certified as both a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and a Certified Health and Safety Consultant (CHSC).
She has been awarded the “Jack McAllister Award” (Ryerson University), the “Ron Epp Memorial Award for Professional Achievement” (Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology) and “Canada’s Safety Manager of the Year” (Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine). As a Health & Safety Consultant (Sellery Health + Safety), Janet focuses on customizing programs, training, and resources to reflect the constantly evolving and unique demands of the live performance environment. Janet is committed to “setting the stage for people to create their best work”. During the pandemic she has been working hard to support the arts community as we all figure out how to return to the work we love the best.
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 April newsletter, please send the information to communications@wodl.on.ca.
Cambridge Community Players Update
By Lynne McIntee, Cambridge Community Players
New performance dates.
CCP Our Town Poster 2203
Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk-Oxford Update
By Nikole Beda, Area VP Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk-Oxford, nikole@wodl.on.ca
PPT Season 2203
Woodstock 2203
Woodstock 2203
By Shirley Bieman, WODL Ontario Theatre Liaison Chair, shirley@wodl.on.ca
As we slowly come out of this COVID time, it was decided at the WODL February Board meeting that WODL would become a member of SPARC (Supporting Performing Arts in Rural and Remote Communities). This is a networking group whose purpose is to ‘ignite and help sustain performing arts communities in rural and remote Ontario’.
Membership is open to any individual or group. Membership is FREE.

For more information about SPARC, visit their website at www.sparcperformingarts.com

We have invited SPARC to include articles and any announcements in our WODL newsletter when these would be of interest to our members.

The accompanying announcement in this month’s newsletter pertains to their scheduled in person Symposium to be held in October in Prince Edward County. They are inviting any members to submit proposals for workshops /presentations for this event.   Have a look and see if there is something you could contribute.
SPARC Symposium 2022 - Call for Workshop Proposals
From Rachel Marks, SPARC Network Coordinator

Call for Proposals: Workshops

Réseau SPARC Network is thrilled to announce that Symposium is back! Taking place from October 13-16, 2022 in beautiful Prince Edward County, Symposium 2022 will get us back to basics and back together.

SPARC (Supporting Performing Arts in Rural & Remote Communities) is a network of creators, presenters, producers, and community animators whose purpose is to ignite and help sustain performing arts in rural and remote communities across Ontario.

The SPARC Symposium is a biennial gathering which brings together SPARC members as well as other creators, presenters, producers, community animators and funders involved in the performing arts, from rural and remote communities across Ontario. The symposium provides an opportunity for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, networking, and laying the groundwork for future collaborations.

The intent of the SPARC Symposium is to attract a broad spectrum of rural and remote performing arts creators, producers, presenters, arts practitioners and community animators from a wide mix of art forms (dance, media arts, theatre and music) with a variety of skill sets. The goal is to expand, enhance, and improve upon the collective and collaborative experience.

The Symposium is structured in a way that allows for exchange, discussion and informal networking; it encourages peer to peer knowledge sharing in workshop sessions and facilitated group activities; and there is a focus on participant engagement throughout. It is important to us that the SPARC Symposium provides attendees with a wide range of tools and information that will SPARK the performing arts in their own communities.

What are we looking for?

  • Workshops/presentations to take place over two and a half days of the Symposium
  • Workshops will be one hour long; please leave time for discussion within your one hour time limit
  • Workshops can include elements of your artistic practice, or be presentation style, or even hands on!
  • Workshops should inspire your fellow attendees
  • Share success stories
  • Share challenges and how you overcame them
  • Share ideas that address the changing landscape of the performing arts
  • Share areas of expertise
  • Share creative ways that you have brought the arts back to your community since COVID
  • Share anything that you think others will benefit from knowing

Think outside the box!

Workshop prompts:

While we don’t have a “theme” per se this year, we will focus on why we started SPARC - bringing together rural and remote arts practitioners to discuss the unique challenges and thrills of creating within our communities. With that in mind, we have created the following list of prompts that may help guide you in your workshop proposal submission:

  • Together again
  • Environmental- for, about, and within, the environment (site specific art and/or art for climate change)
  • Changing the landscape - creating rural and remote performing art that is reflective of rural and remote communities; diversification and inclusion of all in rural and remote arts
  • Making art - out of nothing at all
  • Funding - where does the money come from?
  • Creative Collaborations
  • Building Back Better- what are you doing differently, or are hoping to do differently, making your art in a post-pandemic world?
  • Back to basics - informative looks at the less-exciting “need to knows” of arts admin, besides funding.

What to include in your proposal:

  • Name, position, organization (if applicable), address, phone and e-mail
  • A statement of how your community is rural
  • Title of the session
  • Proposed format
  • A sentence explaining how the proposed topic relates to the 2022 Symposium — Together Again
  • A description of the session (max 500 words) that describes how you will use your experience to explore the topic. This should be suitable for inclusion in the Symposium program (may be edited for style and clarity by SPARC staff)
  • Your best guess at what three things in your presentation participants are most likely to find useful
  • Brief biographical sketch (100 words maximum) of the lead speaker, and names, e-mail address and equally brief bios of co-presenters
  • A list of audio-visual equipment needed (speakers are asked to bring their own laptops and any other supplies required)

What not to include in your proposal:

  • A sales pitch for any company, product, or project. Feel free to promote yourself, your company, your show, etc, but make sure the focus of your workshop is on sharing knowledge with colleagues, not customers

The SPARC Symposium Program committee will select submissions using the following criteria:

  • Clear, specific, informative content that supports symposium goals
  • An approach to the subject material that is engaging
  • Achieving a balance among the presentations as a whole
  • Reflecting the diversity and richness of performing arts practice in rural communities
  • All decisions made by the SPARC Symposium Committee are final

What will you receive:

  • $250 for a 1 hour presentation
  • The cost of Symposium registration will be waived
  • Limited subsidies towards travel and accommodation available upon acceptance of submission

Submission deadline:

March 31st, 2022

Notification date:

April 30, 2022 - all applicants will be notified by this date

How to submit:

Submissions should be emailed to Rachel Marks, Network Coordinator, at rachel@sparcperformingarts.com in Word, Pages or PDF format.

Video and audio clips should be referenced in your proposal and should be
uploaded to: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1DTYb_4o5yvb3sGyJqbvTn8rO1JebSZV7?usp=sharing or your own YouTube account with links and timings clearly noted in your submission.

COVID Protocols:

SPARC will be adhering to all local health unit protocols during Symposium 2022. All participants, presenters and performers will be expected to follow the COVID protocols provided for the event (ie. masks, vaccinations etc). A full document outlining these policies will be part of the Letter of Agreement sent to those chosen to lead/present workshops.

All sessions will be recorded and uploaded to the SPARC website and
YouTube channel.
Off the Wall - Summer Workshops
By Michele Boniface, Chair, Off the Wall Stratford Artists Alliance, mboniface@cyg.net
Facebook @offthewallstrat
Hashtags: #stratfordoffthewall #theatreproduction #backstage
New Plays from the Playwrights Canada Press
By Jessica Lewis, Sales & Marketing Manager, Playwrights Canada Press, jessica@playwrightscanada.com 
New books out this month from Playwrights Canada Press:
Successions by Michaela Di Cesare
An Italian Canadian family dramedy about legacy, expectations, and relationships.
Let’s Run Away by Daniel MacIvor
A man searches for absolution while presenting a family memoir.
The Children’s Republic by Hannah Moscovitch
A doctor struggles to protect the children at his orphanage during the Holocaust.

Check out what else is coming soon.

Want to hear more about sales and upcoming events? Sign up for our newsletter!
You can find more new releases, books coming soon, and a blog full of interviews and excerpts on playwrightscanada.com!
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 2022
Deadline for submissions for the April newsletter
7 August 2022
WODL Annual General Meeting
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 2022. All Rights Reserved.