Newsletter April 2017

In this issue:
Quick Links

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WODL now on Twitter

WODL now has a Twitter account, @WODLtheatre.
Congratulations to Ghost Light Players - Winner of WODL Festival 2017

Photo: Sharon Light.
Better Living , by George F. Walker, performed by Ghost Light Players, was the winner of the Best Production in Festival.

We wish director Jaqueline Tinus and her cast and crew the best of luck at the Theatre Ontario Festival in Ottawa, where they will represent WODL, on Thursday May 18, 2017.
In-Festival Results

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
The Gift of Theatre Woodstock
  • Elizabeth Walton as Marjorie, Willow Quartet, Theatre Sarnia
  • Kristine Fortner as Madeline, Albertine in Five Times, Cambridge Community Players
  • Kristen Lamoure-Dias as Maryann, Better Living, Ghost Light Players
Awarded to Elizabeth Walton, Willow Quartet, Theatre Sarnia
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
The Gift of The Players Guild of Hamilton
  • Jeff Winter as Ben, in Willow Quartet, Theatre Sarnia
  • Dean Valentino as Tom, Better Living, Ghost Light Players
Awarded to Dean Valentino as Tom, Better Living, Ghost Light Players
Best Co-ordinated Production (selected by Host Group Stage Manager)
The gift of Guelph Little Theatre
Awarded to Willow Quartet, Theatre Sarnia
Best Visual Production
The Gift of John and Michelle Spanik
  • Willow Quartet, Theatre Sarnia
  • Better Living, Ghost Light Players
  • Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
Awarded to Willow Quartet, Theatre Sarnia
Outstanding Technical Achievement
The Gift of Theatre Burlington
  • Willow Quartet, Theatre Sarnia
  • Better Living, Ghost Light Players
Awarded to Better Living, Ghost Light Players
Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Major Role
The Gift of Lawrence and Fay Bonanno
  • Cathy Moore as Albertine at 60, Albertine in Five Times, Cambridge Community Players
  • Caitlin Popek as Albertine at 30, Albertine in Five Times, Cambridge Community Players
  • Michele Legere as Nora, Better Living, Ghost Light Players
  • Judy Cormier as Constance in Ten Times Two, Theatre Tillsonburg
Awarded to Michele Legere as Nora, Better Living, Ghost Light Players
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Major Role
The Gift of Joyce Doyle
  • Jason Leighfield as Ephraim, Ten Times Two, Theatre Tillsonburg
  • Gord Cameron as Will Vanhorne, Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
  • Brian Otto as Dupuis Tarwater, Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
  • Steve Robinson as Bob Hicks, Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
Awarded to Gord Cameron as Will Vanhorne, Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
Outstanding Ensemble Work
The Gift of Lyn Mathewson
  • Better Living, Ghost Light Players
  • Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
  • Albertine in Five Times, Cambridge Community Players
Awarded to Albertine in Five Times, Cambridge Community Players
For Outstanding Producing :
The Gift of John and Rosemary Tait
  • Catherine Peckham and Denise Laanstra, Willow Quartet, Theatre Sarnia
  • Bev Dietrich, Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
  • Jeff Bastien, Better Living, Ghost Light Players
Awarded to Jeff Bastien, Better Living, Ghost Light Players
For Their SOB's (Set Building Old Boys) and Set Building Extraordinaire:
The Gift of John and Rosemary Tait
Awarded to Willow Quartet, Theatre Sarnia
For Taking a Leap of Faith:
The Gift of Rob Coles and Mona Brennan-Coles
  • Thom Smith, Driector of Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
  • Mark Smith as Last Minute Stand-in, Ten Times Two, Theatre Tillsonburg
Awarded to Mark Smith as Last Minute Stand-in, Ten Times Two, Theatre Tillsonburg
Costumes That Are Just Right:
The Gift of Rob Coles and Mona Brennan-Coles
  • Ten Times Two, Theatre Tillsonburg
  • Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
Awarded to Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company, For Authentic Costumes that Carried Through the Director's Vision
For Esprit de Corps:
The Gift of Tim Dawdy
All companies
Awarded to Better Living, Ghost Light Players
For Use of Voice: Clarity, Articulation and Projection
The Gift of Tim Dawdy
Awarded to Cambridge Community Players, Albertine in Five Times
Outstanding Direction
The Gift of Gina and Andre Paradis
  • Thom Smith, Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
  • Robin Bennett, Albertine in Five Times, Cambridge Community Players
  • Jacqueline Tinus, Better Living, Ghost Light Players
Awarded to Robin Bennett, Albertine in Five Times, Cambridge Community Players
Best Production in Festival
The Gift of Theatre Sarnia
  • Albertine in Five Times, Cambridge Community Players
  • Outlaw, Elmira Theatre Company
  • Better Living, Ghost Light Players
Awarded to: Better Living, Ghost Light Players
Presented by WODL to the Winner of the Best Production
(Presented annually and kept by the winning group for
one year)
Awarded to: Better Living, Ghost Light Players

Click here for a printable list.
Remarks by Bea Quarrie, Festival Adjudicator at the WODL Awards Gala, Guelph, Ontario - 18 March 2017

In this secular age, theatre can be a cathedral. There is such a lack of empathy and collaboration in this world. But in the theatre we see beauty and order and harmony modeled for us - two hours at a time. And it takes a lot of sacrifice to make that possible.

As we have seen, theatre can handle both history and fantasy. It can deal with religious and metaphysical ideas and wide social, political and economic forces while keeping a vivid concern with the immediate. It can relate inner life and outer experience. In total theatre, there is an appeal to eye, mind, ear and soul.

When so many people express deep concern about the future of community theatre, we continue to gather, to explore, to enquire, to examine, to interrogate the value and impact of our work together. We gather annually at festivals all over the province to celebrate in the belief that we will not only survive but prevail.

There is no doubt that we live in extraordinary times. Denying the reality of such critical issues as global warming, cutting funding for research, for assistance to the poorer and most vulnerable of its citizens, the most powerful country in the world seems to be leading the way into a dark and frightening world. Humanities and the arts are seen as not valuable.

But there is reason to be hopeful. Women are mobilizing and young people are engaging  more fully in their future governance. Countries like the Netherlands stand up to alt right bullies and reject them. In amidst the lies and corruption come the voices of creative satirists, film makers, musicians and artists of all stripes to speak the truth and bring clarity to remind us of our common humanity.

We know all this is happening so it makes it all the more important that we commit ourselves to engaging audiences in the creative exchange of ideas. What we have seen this week is the exploration of the human condition, the age old battle of the sexes, the power of love to overcome traumatic loss, the heart wrenching struggle to understand our deepest motivations, the terrifying reality of a world where civility, family, community and social order have collapsed, and lastly the power of human decency to overcome violence.

I know I will return to my community restored and revitalized. My wish for all of you is that all the groups in WODL will keep up the good work in the knowledge that this engagement we experienced this week matters. It matters that we can gather at such a well organized, informative and welcoming festival. It matters that we engage with the larger community through newer means - Twitter, Face Book, the excellent WODL website, etc. It matters that we continue the dialogue we started way back in Grecian times with this ephemeral art - because it MATTERS.

And now we have come to that time in the festival when we acknowledge those who are worthy of a little extra praise - the awards.
Norm Foster at WODL Festival 2017

Norm Foster with the cast and crew of Outlaw.
On Friday 17 March Norm Foster gave a workshop at the WODL Festival 2017.

In the evening he stayed to see Elmira Theatre Company perform his play Outlaw.
Festival 2017 - All Things Considered

By Dennis Johnson, Co-chair WODL Festival 2017
It was a great week.
  • Thank you to 5 theatre companies who produced 5 innovative, challenging, imaginative and entertaining plays. You raised the bar.
  • Thank you to BEA QUARRIE who made us listen.
  • Thank you to WODL and its Board, who not only sponsor the festival financially, but give generously of their own time and support. Almost all of your Board attended the entire week, at their own expense.
  • Thank you to CAMBRIDGE, ELMIRA, ELORA and KWLT for sponsoring rehearsal lunches at Guelph Little Theatre for our festival participants. That's not just money spent but time preparing, labour setting up, serving, clearing up. Guelph is lucky to have neighbours who volunteer to help us make the festival a community event in every sense of the word.
And a great festival is made possible by a great team from Guelph Little Theatre.
  • Thank you to ROBERTA BELFRY who made sure the Festival experience was more than cakes and ale. The four workshops she organized were diverse, appealing and very well attended. Roberta took a great leap of faith to invite Norm Foster to spend a day with us. What have we got to lose?
  • Thank you to JOE BRENNER who took a leave-of-absence from his home Theatre (Elmira) to coordinate a team of techies with experience from Guelph, St. Thomas, London and from WODL Festivals going back a decade. Best Co-ordinated Festival Stage Manager.
  • Thank you to PAUL BRIGGS, who not only kept our website humming, but also organized backstage storage at GLT so preparations for our next two shows could disappear at the last moment to make way for WODL 2017. And on Opening Night of the Festival, Paul was up on the roof - during a snow storm - working with maintenance people to repair three auditorium furnaces, which had all stopped working on the same day. And you didn't notice! Hooray for body heat and hot air.
  • Thank you to PETER BUSBY, Director, Designer and techie with a wide range of technical experience including lighting, sound and special effects - and hanging doors that work. Peter was base commander at this year's festival. Others had to come and go depending on other responsibilities but Peter was there for all visitors and all problems all the time.
  • Thank you to KEN CAMERON who lost his voice, then when he found it again, discovered that he had an Irish accent. Ken Co-Chaired the Festival, taking charge of organizing all those techies and hospitalers in the Theatre Half of the operation. Ken also spearheaded communications, handling Facebook notices and e-mail routing. In the world of Q&A, Ken became the Answer Man.
  • Thank you to NADINE COMPTON, another member of our communications team. Nadine focused on the Twitter and Instagram feeds working to expand awareness of our festival in the social cyberworld.
  • Thank you to RUTH CONNOR and PAT NORTHEY who once again fed multitudes with five loaves and two fishes. From early morning until the show was over, the hungry actors were fed and the last muchies were cleared away after the Encore parties, Ruth and Pat and their team filled our tummies and plied us with caffeine. Under budget.
  • Thank you to TIM DAWDY who wore three hats at Festival 2017. He was there at 7:00 am every morning to serve as sound consultant and all-round backstage advisor. And again at 7:00 pm every day to play the role of President of WODL. On Saturday he put on his Dad hat to back up son...
  • MASON DAWDY, our Gala DJ and youngest member of our Festival team. Thanks Mason. The future is in good hands.
  • Thank you to ELIZABETH DENT, Festival Treasurer, ticket seller, raffle facilitator, sponsorship advisor, and now the person who has to go through all the financial details and make us all happy. The Treasurer's job is never done.
  • Thank you to BETH FREETH, Bar Manager and Social Chair for Guelph Little Theatre. Beth recruits and trains bartenders, and makes sure the fridges are well stocked. Beth made StoneHammer Brewery very happy during festival week.
  • Thank you to ROB FREE, who thought he was signing up to bartend during the evenings, but ended up in the sound booth trouble shooting and problem solving. Rob was also invaluable in the theatre kitchen and as a general help around the theatre - all day, every day. A Renaissance man for sure.
  • Thank you to JILL GRANTMYRE, head of the River Run Centre Box Office, and a long-time GLT member (and professional Stage Manager). Jill not only dealt with our ticketing needs during the day, but also worked with the Hospitality committee to decorate the Slater lobby and set up for the Encore Party each night. And she sat as a volunteer behind our ticket table, supervising distribution to all those "will call" customers. Above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Thank you to DENNIS GRAY supervisor of all things audio at GLT. Bea Quarrie may have made us listen, but Dennis made us hear her.
  • Thank you to ROBIN JACKSON who spent over 50 Hours cleaning the Theatre to make it perfect for you. Robin is the GLT Health and Safety officer and makes sure the place is perfect for your needs, in many different ways.
  • Thank you to DENNIS JOHNSON, who says he's never doing this again.
  • Thank you to MARNIE JUTZI, Hostess with the Mostess. With cakes and cookies and camera in hand, Marnie introduced the single most popular innovation of this festival - the adjudication photo cake. A new WODL tradition, for sure. Marnie once played a celebrity chef in Neil Simon's Rumors. Her character is named Cookie.
  • Thank you to MARNIE KERR laid out our programme and advertising graphics. When you find good people, keep them.
  • Thank you to JULIA LONCKE who piloted two major grant applications and secured the bulk of our Sponsorship funding.
  • Thank you to BEVERLY MATSON, quilter extraordinaire who once again created banners for the festival, and this year a Canadian commemorative quilt - which generated hundreds of dollars in raffle ticket sales from covetous WODLers.
  • Thank you to LYNNE McINTEE and DIAN BOREK, members of GLT's Board of Directors, who worked the crowd as social media photographers.
  • Thank you to KEN MENZIES, Adjudications Chair for WODL, who regaled us with a new funny story about Bea Quarrie each night and is actively collecting information about Carey Nicholson for next year's festival. Ken always plans two years in advance.
  • Thank you to PAM NIESIOBEZKI-CURTIS who used her expertise with ACT-CO gala banquets, to make our Awards Gala run smoothly and look good. Thanks for your attention to detail in all things - decorations, seating plans, logistics and special meal needs. No stone unturned.
  • Thank you to LIZ POULTON and MARGARET SNOWDON, organizers of our Opening Reception. Classy dames. Classy event. They were your first festival contact as you received their invitation and you sent them your RSVP. You did remember, didn't you?
  • Thank you to CONNIE SHAW and SHERRY LEVINE whose department started out as "Goodies and Give-aways" but who re-invented the old "Goodie-Bag" mentality and became the Door Prize Queens of Guelph. They spent endless hours before the festival, trolling the city for unusual gifts, and during the festival selling raffle tickets for our infamous quilt.
  • Thank you to JAYNE SIMPSON, Assistant Stage Manager - the only female member of our backstage team. Jayne led the night shift, taking over in the afternoon and seeing the visiting groups on their way in the wee hours of the morning.
  • Thank you to TREVOR SMITH DIGGINS. Your wit, dry humour and depth of WODL memory, made your hosting duties a joy to behold. And you ran a mean workshop too. Comedy indeed.
  • Thank you to D.J. THOMSON, head of lighting at GLT, who consulted with all our contenders and then set up a festival house plot that served everyone - presenters and audience alike.
  • Thank you to DIANNE THOMPSON, House Manager and Usher Finder for the 5 evening plays. With an almost-sold-out house to contend with, this crew was very efficient, led by a quiet competent head.
  • Thank you to PAT WIGGINS, Treasurer of GLT and donor of this year's Kay McKie Award. Pat was our Banker and go-to person for how-to issues.
  • Thank you to the GUELPH LITTLE THEATRE and its Board for agreeing to take on this project and for their support through the last two years.
  • Thank you to the GLT MEMBERSHIP who jumped in to assist in so many ways through the whole process.
  • And a special thank you to vendors who attended the festival to share their wares and ideas with you - ANNIE GIBSON from Playwrights Canada Press, MONIQUE RENAUD From Playwrights Guild, KAREN MOORE & RON FOLEY from SceneWork and RON DODSON from Off-The-Wall Stratford Artists Alliance.
Message from Tim Dawdy, President of WODL

I would like to first start by congratulating Guelph Little Theatre on hosting an amazing week of theatre. It was a week of diverse plays and creativity. With the ultimate WODL prize going to Ghost Light Players for Better Living. Congratulations and I am looking forward to seeing this production in Ottawa, in May.

While we are on the topic of Festival, WODL is always on the hunt for our member groups to offer to host Festival in the upcoming years. Next year, 2018, we will be in Sarnia for WODL and London for Theatre Ontario...but then we are without a home for 2019 for WODL Festival. If you think you would be interested in hosting a Festival, please contact myself or your Area VP and see what all is involved and how WODL can help. If one group is thinking about it, but is worried about volunteers and man-power, just look at this year's Festival. Guelph enlisted multiple individuals from other areas to assist in the daily tasks of Festival. WODL is a big community that pulls together to ensure success.

The next Membership meeting on our Agenda is our AGM on July 23, 2017. I am happy to announce that Theatre Tillsonburg has offered to host us that day. Also that day, I am hoping to have a hands on "stage fighting" demonstration by one of the best teachers in this area. (details to come)


Tim Dawdy
News from Around the WODL Region

By Janice Lundy, WODL Area VP Oxford Region, janice@wodl.on.ca
There's lots of opportunities to see good theatre in April!
April 13- 29: Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre Immigration Acts  
April 14-29: Theatre Burlington Return Engagements
April 20-30: Simcoe Little Theatre- Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) 
April 20-30: Guelph Little Theatre I Hate Hamlet 
April 21-30: Ingersoll Theatre of the Performing Arts (ITOPA) Over the River and Through the Woods  
April 27- May 7: St Mary's Community Players The Glass Menagerie 
April 27- May 7: Elgin Theatre Guild- Run Father Run 
April 28- May 13: The Player's Guild of Hamilton Closer Than Ever Lyrics 
April 28- May 13 Elmira Theatre Company Staff Room 

And here's an Acting and Directing Workshop!  April 29 and May 6
Are you new to the stage and want to learn some techniques to help you improve your performance? 
Do you have experience and want an excuse to come out and play around with some scenes for a couple of Saturdays? Or would you like to try out directing in a low-risk environment?

Well, have we got a deal for you!
What: 2 days of workshops
Where: Otter Valley Playhouse, Tillsonburg
When: Saturday 29 & May 6, 9 am-3 pm
Who: Led by Karen Tripp
How much: (covers both days)    
                   $15 for Theatre Tillsonburg members
                   $20 for non-members.
                   Bring your own lunch.
Why: To have fun and learn at the same time!
To register and if you have any questions, please contact Karen Tripp at kjtall@yahoo.ca
Theatre Ontario - Summer Theatre Intensive 2017

By Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager at Theatre Ontario, brandon@theatreontario.org
Bigger & Better Than Ever!

Theatre Ontario is thrilled to be introducing our new Summer Theatre Intensive, partnering with Off the Wall, Stratford Artist Alliance. Through this exciting new collaboration we will join Off The Wall in their home at Factory 163 in the heart of Stratford, Ontario. This year we will be offering intensives over a two week period.


WEEK TWO (Sunday August 13 - Friday August 18th)
Who the Heck Are YOU?! Creating "Character" with Liza Balkan
Building your own Directing Process with Philip Akin
How to Tell An "Important" Story with Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

Explore our New Offerings

This year we are embracing a brand new, choose-your-own-adventure approach to the Summer Theatre Intensive; pick your week, pick your course, pick your digs! By covering each participant's course fees, course materials, lunch and dinner only, we hope to allow more flexibility for our guests to choose their own accommodations. Participants will enjoy catered lunches and dinners as well as other planned theatrical events throughout the week's evenings in the hometown of North America's largest Shakespeare Festival.

Meet our new Partners - Off The Wall Stratford Artists Alliance

During July and August, Off The Wall Stratford Artists Alliance offers a variety of summer courses focusing on backstage production skills. Every learning opportunity is intensive and hands-on, conducted in a working studio where participants receive one-on-one mentorship from Stratford Festival artists. The goal of mentors is to pass along, to the next generation of theatre artists, the knowledge and skills they have acquired through years of professional experience.

Moving to a New Space - Factory163

Factory163 is a hub of creative activity in a heritage brick and timber building located in the Industrial era Factory District of Stratford Ontario.  The facility provides SPACE to CREATE to individuals and organizations, for exploration and showcasing of creative and innovative ideas, talent, and skills.

More Information

For full details of these courses, costs, and to enrol  click here.
Theatre Ontario Festival 2017 - 17 May 2017 to 21 May 2017

By Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager at Theatre Ontario, brandon@theatreontario.org
Tickets and accommodations are now available for Theatre Ontario Festival 2017 in Ottawa. Opening May 17, and running until May 21, our annual Festival is a celebration of community theatre featuring performances and workshops, and bringing together theatre lovers from across the province.
Click here to book tickets.

Click here to get more information on the Festival. 
Theatre Ontario Festival - Workshop - Improv for Actors - Thursday 18 May 2017

By Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager at Theatre Ontario, brandon@theatreontario.org
Thursday, May 18 (the day Ghost Light Theatre performs)
1:30pm to 4:30pm

Ottawa Little Theatre
400 King Edward Street,  Ottawa
Rehearsal Hall
Laura Hall's workshop helps you learn improv fundamentals and apply various techniques to grow into a confident actor who can make interesting choices in an instant. We'll work on minimizing nerves and learning to be present, finding "the truth", building strong characters, and building and working within your script environment (especially useful for cold reads.) The best part? The class will be geared towards what you need! Specific exercises will depend on the overall experience and desires of the workshop participants.
Theatre Ontario Festival - Playwright-in-Person - Erin Shields - Friday 19 May 2017

By Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager at Theatre Ontario, brandon@theatreontario.org
Friday, May 19

Ottawa Little Theatre
400 King Edward Street, Ottawa

Theatre Ontario Festival 2017 is excited to welcome Erin Shields as Playwright-in-Person at this year's Festival in Ottawa. Erin will be reading from her work on Friday, May 19 at 1:30pm at Ottawa Little Theatre.

Erin Shields is a playwright and actor who trained at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in London, England. She is a founding member of Groundwater Productions through which she creates, develops, and produces much of her work. Her Governor General's Literary Award winning play If We Were Birds was produced by Tarragon Theatre in 2010 and won two Dora Mavor Moore Awards. It also earned the 2008 Summerworks Festival's Outstanding Production Award and has been translated into German as part of The German Theatre Exchange. Her other plays include Montparnasse, winner of the Alberta Theatre Projects' Enbridge playRites Award, the Dora-nominated The Unfortunate Misadventures of Masha Galinski, and The Epic of Gilgamesh (Groundwater / Summerworks). Erin is currently developing plays for Tarragon, The Shaw Festival, Nightwood Theatre, Suitcase in Point, and Groundwater Productions. Her most recent play, The Millennial Malcontent, premiered this year.

Playwright-in-Person brings a professional playwright to Festival communities for script readings, Q&A, and more. Playwright-in-Person is made possible by a grant from the Playwrights Guild of Canada, funded by the Canada Council.
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 a play included on the Canadian Play Map of Canada, click here to obtain an application form.

PGC also publishes a list of theatre companies that have an all-Canadian season. Click here to obtain a nomination form for this list.
Canadian Play Map of Canada

Each month the Playwrights Guild of Canada publishes a map showing which Canadian plays are being produced and where. To see the map for April   click here .
ONstage Theatre Listings

Theatre Ontario publishes an online list of current and upcoming productions by its member groups. To see what is on  click here.
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, Sue Perkins, know at  membership@wodl.on.ca
Dates for your Diary

17 to 21 May 2017 Theatre Ontario Festival 2017, Ottawa
23 July 2017 AGM, Tillsonburg
12 to 17 March 2018 WODL Festival 2018, Sarnia
16  to 20 May 2018 Theatre Ontario Festival 2018, London
This newsletter was prepared by:  

Tricia Ward
Communications Coordinator

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