Newsletter June 2018

In this issue:
Quick Links

 WODL website   WODL on Facebook  WODL on Twitter  WODL board

Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 Results

Award winners are chosen by adjudicator Maja Ardal (unless otherwise specified).

The Elsie For Outstanding Festival Production:
Dead Accounts, Ottawa Little Theatre

Outstanding Director:
Geoff Gruson,
Dead Accounts

Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role:
Rebecca De La Cour as Lorraine,
Little Gem

Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role:
Phillip Merriman as Jack,
Dead Accounts

Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role:
Jane Morris as Barbara,
Dead Accounts

Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role:
Josp Sparks as Phil,
Dead Accounts

Outstanding Visual Presentation:
Tempting Providence,
Deborah Lang & Patty Davidson, Costumes;
Doug Robinson, Lighting

Outstanding Technical Achievement:
On a First Name Basis
Gord Grose, Set Design;
Julie-Anne Herteis, Eugene "Sam" Read, & Phil Read, Set Construction;
Kathy Bileodeau & Jean Lariviere, Set Dressing

Outstanding Coordinated Production:
(This award is chosen by the Festival Stage Manager)

Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble

Special Adjudicator Award:
For carrying the theme of a play while remaining totally human:
Venetia Lawless as Lorna, Dead Accounts

Special Adjudicator Award:
For sharing a true love of acting and story with a twinkling eye:
Jim Graham as Angus, Tempting Providence

Special Adjudicator Award:
For clear vision, passion for the play, and love of his actors:
Murray Finn, Director,  Tempting Providence

Special Adjudicator Award:
For bringing humour and humanity to the role while managing a cantankerous man:
Deb Deckert as Lucy Hopperstaad,  On a First Name Basis

Special Adjudicator Award:

For imaginative and simple beauty:

Bernadette Hunt, Set Design & Set Drawings;

Sean Treacy, Set Design, Little Gem


View these results on the Theatre Ontario website, click here.
Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 - The Thank You Edition

By Anne Mooney, TO Festival Chair, Anne@wodl.on.ca 
Congratulations to all the competitors at this years Festival in London.

Every production was a strong representative for their region. Thank you to Elmira Theatre Company, the Toronto Irish Players, Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble and Ottawa Little Theatre for accepting the challenge of travelling to festival and for succeeding so well with their productions. This year's Festival was so strong.

I cannot thank all the committee members and volunteers enough for their incredible work putting this Festival together.

First and foremost are the amazingly dedicated Festival Stage Managers, Mark Mooney and Rob Coles. There has been nothing but the heartiest of thank-yous from each group to them for all their support. Thank you to Steve Allen as the fairly new Technical Director at the Palace.

Sue Perkins was a font of information and support. Mary Jane Walzak kept us on a positive financial footing. Mona Brennan-Coles was wonderful with all things hotel: room rates, workshop space, hospitality suite and Brunch.

There were so many people involved with all aspects of food - Opening reception crew, baking for lunches and snacks, late night receptions and noshes, morning coffee prep. Thank you to Sue Garner for coordinating the Opening Reception and being such a dynamic Opening Reception, and Brunch, Host. To Marg Bildy for coordinating lunches and snacks, ably supported by Jeannie Mercereau and a host of bakers - the food was plentiful and delicious. As one crew person noted, all they seemed to do all day was eat! Thank you to Melissa Metler who came in at almost the last minute to coordinate lobby receptions, thanks so much.

John Kabel created a stunning festival programme. Kathleen Sykora created a fabulous website and Andrew Kaszowski was Social Media creator extrordinaire. You can check out all of his facebook posts and videos on Facebook - look for Theatre Ontario Festival.

Laura Jean McCann and Al Leitch were welcoming day Hospitality, and late night party, hosts.

And then there was Diana Barr who found a design company (Curly Girl Home Decor) who created the amazing commemorative gifts for each performing group.

Last, the staff of the Palace Theatre were incredibly supportive. Thank you to Colin, Sandra, Mel, Kaitlyn, Steve and Carlos for all they did.

Grateful thanks to Brandon Moore and Bruce Pitkin of Theatre Ontario.

And one last look at the Festival:
C ast and crew of  On a First Name Basis , Elmira Theatre Company, WODL
Cast and crew of  Little Gem , Toronto Irish Players, ACT-CO
Cast and crew  Tempting Providence , Elliot Lake Little Theatre, QUONTA
Cast and crew  Dead Accounts , Ottawa Little Theatre, EODL
A Personal view of the Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

By Sue Perkins, WODL Membership and Development Chair, membership@wodl.on.ca
Congratulations to Ottawa Little Theatre, the winners of this years Festival held in London, hosted by London Community Players. Four days of incredibly varied theatre -- two of them Canadian plays. Elmira Theatre Company represented WODL and opened the Festival with On a First Name Basis - a terrific production which had the audience roaring with laughter.
There were many familiar faces from WODL in the audience every night. Maja Ardal was a brilliant adjudicator who offered insights into the scripts and shared her theatre wisdom with us all. So much that she had to say could be applied to any production we might be involved in in the future.
All the things that make a WODL Festival such a friendly affair were here in London at this Theatre Ontario Festival -- including the usual distribution of jujubes to all and sundry! The warmth and generosity of spirit of the "usual suspects" welcomed the members of the other regions and created new friendships and a great experience for all. It truly was a celebration.
Michael Spence Award Winner - Sue Perkins

By Anne Mooney, TO Festival Chair, Anne@wodl.on.ca 
Sue was the recipient of this year's Michael Spence Award. She received not one, but two standing ovations at the Award presentation during the Festival Awards Brunch.

You can see the Michael Spence Award Presentation and Sue's gracious speech on Facebook. The event was live streamed during the brunch. Check the link below.

Thanks from Sue

By Sue Perkins, WODL Membership and Development Chair, membership@wodl.on.ca
 I would like to thank the board of WODL for selecting me to receive the Michael Spence Award this year. I am honoured to be chosen.
Eight years in North Bay with Gateway Theatre Guild and QUONTA. Forty years in London with LCP and WODL. Six years on the board of Theatre Ontario. Many fine performances, many plays, many festivals. A lifetime of theatre in Ontario.
The greatest gift to me has been the opportunity to visit theatres all over this province, see an amazing variety of productions and to meet so many wonderful people -- all united with a passion for seeing and creating theatre. Being a part of WODL and the annual Festivals has been a great learning experience, has given me the opportunity to see some first class shows and attend excellent workshops. Not to mention the parties...
Thank you to my husband, Dave, for his support and encouragement.
Thank you to Theatre Ontario for all the work they do to promote theatre on all levels in this province.
And thank you to all of you in WODL for your friendship.
WODL Pre-Festival Adjudicator's Report

By Carolee Mason, Pre-Festival Adjudicator
This well organized season of plays, presented throughout Western Ontario, afforded me - a novice to WODL, and stranger to the area - several welcome opportunities. First, discovered the high degree of enthusiastic community commitment to live theatre throughout the region. The dedicated volunteers and passionate theatre practitioners whom I met are an inspiration.

Second, I enjoyed meeting many new people, and learning about the arts in communities previously unfamiliar to me. I appreciated the various area representatives' shepherding this novice through the area's protocols and traditions - as well as helping me to navigate geography and weather systems. The Front of House staffs at the various venues were especially kind in providing me with a private space for note-making, and giving me a preview of my seat.

Most important was the supportive attention to detail provided by Ken Menzies, in ensuring that scripts were in hand, and that the necessary arrangements were made. Ken's insistence on verifying details, and maintaining contact with me, ensured that I felt confident about venturing out onto the highway! As well, his thoughtful planning of itineraries eased the challenges of travel.

The area VPs were supportive, especially when they were in close communication prior to performance night, and assisted during my time with the group. In particular, this entire season when I was plagued by ill health, my contacts were most helpful in ensuring that I had a microphone when my voice was failing, and a bottle of water always at hand.

As well, I owe a special thank you to Shirley Bieman for her guidance and clarity around the protocol for the February Awards Announcement meeting. Her advance communication and attention to detail ensured that my role in the event went smoothly.

This season offered a wide range of production themes and styles. Yet from large cast "all agesages" family performances and musicals, through mid-sized comedies, to rigorously rehearsed two-handers, the productions incorporated certain common strengths. All groups have individual performers who demonstrate skill and polish in their stage work. In many instances, it is evident that these veteran performers provide a model for others who are less experienced. Especially rewarding, I note that there are many performers who bring - and ideally share - training to their community theatre work; whether they are recent graduates of a college or university program in performance, or products of Theatre Ontario or other workshop coaching, one cannot help but be encouraged to see in performers a desire to grow and improve.

Production elements were similarly effective. Despite the constraints of budget and location, most shows were functionally and aesthetically successful. Directors and designers worked together to establish workable and pleasing sets. A number of highly skilled technicians and artists - in lighting, costumes, props and stage management - comprised the production teams. Most important, a spirit of creative collaboration was evident throughout the many communities. The involvement of multiple generations together in both on-stage and backstage work is most commendable. In small towns where there may be limited arts opportunities for children and youth, your welcoming them into community theatre enriches the larger life of all your cities and towns.

In the private adjudications, I valued the opportunity for dialogue and reflection about artistic choices and processes. I was encouraged when participants joined these discussions and took advantage of the potential for learning and sharing.

Some suggestions for building upon the existing strengths and competencies in your region.

In terms of overall organization:
  • it is helpful to have scripts in hand at least ten days ahead of the performance, which was the case for almost all of the productions
In terms of building excellence:
  • take advantage of the pockets of regional expertise in technical areas, and share your knowledge through workshops or other partnerships; for example, I was aware when I gave the Festival workshop on stage management that your region has individuals whose exemplary practice could benefit those in other communities; I believe that these areas of excellence exist in other tech areas as well.
  • encourage groups to develop and practise effective rehearsal techniques; where these are already in place, share best practices throughout the region
  • vocal and physical work on stage always benefit from a warm up protocol; again, sharing best practices might help beginning groups to develop effective strategies
  • encourage groups to take advantage of the opportunity for dialogue and learning in private adjudications
Again, my thanks to Ken Menzies for his unflagging support and attention to detail. I cannot fully express how much I appreciate the guidance of my "handlers", the area VPs, who offered support through email, texts and coffee. And finally, thank you to WODL for the opportunity to get to know you and your work! It has been a delight.
WODL Festival Adjudicator's Report

By Carey Nicholson, WODL Festival Adjudicator
I was very impressed with the enthusiasm and organization of the volunteers and event coordinators from Theatre Sarnia and WODL, especially the attentiveness of Henri, Charmaine and Ken in ensuring I had all the information and amenities that I required. Overall, the week seemed to run very smoothly without any major glitches and I always felt I was in good hands with many people to call on should I have questions or required clarification on anything. The hotel accommodations were also very comfortable and I appreciate having the "office suite" which allowed me appropriate space to work.

The Imperial Theatre is an excellent venue for the festival and the technical and house support managed the productions well. My thanks to Joe for taking Andy and I on a backstage tour one afternoon. I was pleased to see the large number of audience members who stayed for all the adjudications and appreciated having the microphone for the public adjudications post show, not to mention a variety of chairs and tables to present from, including a very comfy chair for the awards presentations!

It was a pleasure to experience the great openness and level of engagement from the participating companies during the detailed adjudications and the level of interest from those attending and observing. I was especially surprised by the large attendance at my workshop and hope that the participants had as much fun and gained as much as I did. I attended the play reading sessions and commend WODL for providing opportunities to connect Canadian playwrights with community theatres, in addition to providing other workshop opportunities focused on stage management and set construction.

As an adjudicator, I thoroughly enjoy, and value, the opportunity to be an educator first and foremost. The 2018 WODL festival provided me with an opportunity to educate, share and interact on so many levels in a warm, engaging and responsive atmosphere. It was a pleasure to be able to contribute to your community. Kudos to everyone involved and thank you again for a wonderful week!
News from Around the WODL Region

By Janice Lundy, member WODL Communications Committee, janice@wodl.on.ca 
Continuing into June...
Closing June 9: Guelph Little Theatrethe House of Blue Leaves
                            Owen Sound Little Theatre The Rabbit Hole
Closing June 16 Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre She Kills Monsters
Opening in June...
1-16      Hamilton Players Guild  My Name is Alice
7- 17     Simcoe Little Theatre Tuesday's With Morrie
15-24   ITOPA My Darling Judith
21-22   Theatre Sarnia One-Act Festival
26-30    London Community Players Where the Blood Mixes
Playground is a festival of new theatre co-sponsored by Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre and JM Drama and is an evolution of JM Dramas Oct One Festival and KWLT July one-Acts. Auditions were held in late March. Productions will be mounted at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener June 7-9 .

Please let me know if your group has something special coming up!
Taking Your Training to New Heights at Theatre Ontario's Summer Theatre Intensive

By Brandon Moore , Community Theatre and Communications Manager at Theatre Ontario, brandon@theatreontario.org
Building on our partnership with Off the Wall, Stratford Artist Alliance, Theatre Ontario is returning to Stratford, Ontario this summer! Once again expanding the courses to include two possible training weeks in the beautiful building at Factory 163, we are thrilled to offer a mix of classic courses and brand new experiences for this years participants.

For 2018, we are offering the following courses:

WEEK ONE (August 5-10th)
  • Learning to Love Your Monologue with Peggy Coffey
  • Directing - From First Reading to Opening Night with Diana Leblan
  • Stage Combat with Daniel Levinso
  • Teaching Drama to Children & Youth - Building Your Toolkit with Andrew Lamb


WEEK TWO (August 12-17th)


  • Hot Scenes - Building your Acting Technique with Brenda Kamino
  • The Right Direction with John P. Kelly
  • Voice Bootcamp with Elley-Ray Hennessy
  • Creation Lab with Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

Learn more at www.theatreontario.org/training/summer-theatre-intensive/summer-theatre-intensive-2018.aspx

Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet

The Canadian Play Outlet has launched it's new site with 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!
WODL now on Twitter

WODL now has a Twitter account, @WODLtheatre.

If you do not have a twitter account, you can view the WODL tweets by clicking the Twitter button on the main page of the WODL website, or by clicking here.
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.

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

If you want to perform a Canadian play but cannot figure out where to obtain the amateur performance rights, view this presentation from PGC.
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

22 July 2018 WODL AGM, Elmira
This newsletter was prepared by:  

Tricia Ward
Communications Coordinator

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