Newsletter November 2017

In this issue:
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WODL Festival 2018  WODL tweets   Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

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.
Ten Rules for a Successful Adjudication

By Ken Menzies, WODL Adjudications Chair, adjudications@wodl.on.ca  
If you want your adjudication to be a great experience, then follow these rules:
  1. Fill in a data sheet. Key information on this data sheet is the list of who is eligible for the newcomer award. A newcomer is defined as:

    a person who has not had a role, speaking or non-speaking, listed in the cast, of characters, outside of a school production. The list of characters shall not include chorus work or crowd scenes.
    A person who has had a speaking role in television, web series or movies is also ineligible as a newcomer.
    The data sheet also lists all juveniles as there is an award for best juvenile. A juvenile is "somebody not 18 on the date of the adjudication." Many plays of course have no new comers or juveniles, but trying to sort this out on the adjudication day is a hassle which the data sheet eliminates.
  2. Have a quiet space available for the adjudicator. The adjudicator may do some last-minute reviewing of the script there and will return at the intermission to organize his or her thoughts. Some adjudicators want water, coffee or tea before the show or at intermission. Please supply whatever is asked.
  3. Assign somebody to look after the adjudicator. This person ensures the adjudicator's seat is available when he or she wants to go the theatre before the show to listen to the pre-show music, pre-set of the lights and the set. Equally important the person checks the adjudicator knows when the intermission is over.

    Once the show begins, the adjudicator usually scribbles notes by the light of a flashlight or the general light in the theatre. Some adjudicators use a laptop which means they never have to look down at their notes, while others have a phenomenal memory.
  4. Either at the beginning of the show or at the intermission, the audience is told by somebody from your theatre that an adjudication will follow the show. Tell the audience that the adjudication will be around ten minutes. If people think that they can still get home at a reasonable time, then they are more likely to stay. At the end of the show, allow those who have to leave to do so, but quickly.
  5. Arrange for where the WODL Area Vice President or the adjudication chair will introduce the adjudicator at the end of the play. Our introductions will be brief. The program usually contains the biography of the adjudicator or it is posted in the entrance to the theatre. The introduction simply says the adjudicator's view is one person's perspective, but a highly informed one.

    The adjudicator then gives a roughly ten-minute commentary on the play to those in the audience who chose to stay. The first part of the commentary puts the play in context talks. Based on his or her general knowledge and extensive research, the adjudicator talks about things such as the play's performance history, its relationship (if any) to movies and the theatrical tradition to which the play belongs. The Internet allows the adjudicator to amass a mountain of information from which they select choice titbits. This sets the stage for an assessment of the production just seen.
  6. Tell the actors and tech crew to listen to the adjudication from the wings. This means the material will not have to be repeated in the detailed adjudication.
  7. Decide who can attend the detailed adjudication. Some groups restrict it to cast and crew as some people want privacy. Other groups make it open to all who wish to learn. Only the cast and crew can ask questions. I have found attendance at these detailed adjudications very rewarding. They helped me acquire a veneer of theatrical sophistication.
  8. Cast and crew should come ready to talk. The detailed adjudication which is roughly an hour long should be a dialogue. Is a particular decision the actor's or the director's? Was the sudden light fad a glitch or deliberate. If deliberate what was it intended to achieve. Specific questions are a boon for adjudicators. The detailed adjudication is primarily a learning experience, not a chance to argue. Try not to be defensive. Not arguing does not mean accepting that the adjudicator is right.
  9. The adjudicator cannot see the stage management. No comment on stage management means it was without major faults.
  10. The play belongs to the director and stage manager. What is said in an adjudication should not be used to tweak the play, unless the director says a change is appropriate. The adjudication is to help everybody identify their strengths and to suggest ways to improve their next performances or technical activity such as costuming, not redirect the play.
New WODL Board Member - Henri Canino - Area VP Lambton-Essex-Kent

Henri Canino's first WODL festival was in 1987 where she won a "Best Juvenile" award at the age of 16 and there was no turning back after that. 

She has been an active participant in Theatre Sarnia for 32 years mostly in acting, directing and sound design. She is an honourary life member. She sits on the Production Committee which puts together the season playbills as well as making sure all productions run as smoothly as they can.

 She is excited to be taking on a position in WODL as the Area VP for Lambton-Essex-Kent and she hopes you will not hesitate to say hi next time you see her.
Festival 2018 - Sarnia - March 12 to 17 2018

By Charmaine Jacklin, Chair WODL Festival 2018 Committee, charmaine@wodl.on.ca 
Greetings from your 2018 Festival committee!
We are proud to announce that we presently have five show sponsors for our 2018 Festival! Keep watch as we will be announcing each one publicly through the WODL Newsletter and on our Festival FaceBook page in the coming weeks. Check out the Festival 2018 Facebook page and LIKE it at: www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=wodl%20festival%202018
Our team is working at finalizing our Festival workshops.
We are excited to announce that Caroline Smith will be in attendance on Tuesday, March 13th.

Since 1979, Caroline Smith has worked professionally as a performer, choreographer, director, teacher, adjudicator, and playwright in theatres across the country, including the Shaw Festival and the Canadian Opera Company.

From 1996 to 2009, Caroline was Artistic and Managing Director of the Stirling Festival Theatre. Under her leadership, the company won three Lieutenant Governor's Awards, numerous business awards. Also Caroline was presented with an honorary arts degree from Loyalist College. Since 2010, her independent production company Moonpath Productions has presented plays and musicals at the celebrated Empire Theatre in Belleville.

Caroline's play The Kitchen Witches was the winner of the 2005 Samuel French Best Canadian Play Award. Her comedy-thriller To Die For will also be published by Samuel French in 2017. Her popular Panto scripts are produced by theatres across Ontario including Drayton Entertainment and Torrent Productions in Toronto.

Caroline continues a busy career, as Guest Director with the Highlands, and Muskoka, Festivals and the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Company. She is dramaturge for Gaslight Productions in Collingwood, and she leads writing workshops for Loyalist College. She will be adjudicating musicals for the 2017-18 ACT-CO Festival.

Caroline will give a reading of the first act of To Die For, which is just being published by Samuel French.

Theatre Sarnia and the WODL Festival Committee would like to thank Play Connect for their Sponsorship of this event.

Festival 2018 Tickets
Tickets for the 2018 Festival will go on sale to the public on December 1st when they can be purchased online at imperialtheatre.net/ .
Festival 2018 Hotel Room Booking
If you haven't already done so, you should start thinking about booking your rooms, so you don't miss a minute of the excitement! Here is what you need to know to book your rooms ASAP!!
Holiday Inn Sarnia/Point Edward
1498 Venetian Blvd., Point Edward On N7T 7W6
Discounted group rate: $99.00 + taxes
Continental Breakfast for up to 2 people per room included in rate
Reservation cut-off date: March 2, 2018
To make your reservations do one of the following:
  • Phone Holiday Inn Direct Line at 519-336-8667 or 1-888-212-2252
  • Email Holiday Inn at hi-sarnia@whg.com
  • Visit the Holiday Inn Website www.hisarnia.ca and enter the group code WOD
News from Around the WODL Region

By Janice Lundy, member WODL Communications Committee, janice@wodl.on.ca 
As usual, November is an incredibly busy month in our theatres, from beginning to end! Here we go!

Nov 2-12          Theatre Tillsonburg   The Game's Afoot, or Holmes for the Holidays
Nov 2- 25         Ghost Light Players    Okno 
Nov 3-12          London Community Players    Dancing in Poppies 
                         Peninsula Players     Skin Flick
Nov 3-18          Elmira Theatre Company     Dial M for Murder

Nov 9-25          Owen Sound Little Theatre     Spamalot

Nov 16-18        Theatre Kent     Mary Poppins
Nov 16-Dec 2   Kincardine Theatre Guild    The Giant's Garden
Nov 16- Dec 3  Simcoe Little Theatre    It's A Wonderful Life
Nov 17-25        Thistle Theatre    Queen Millie of Galt
Nov 17-26        Windsor Light Music Theatre    Mamma Mia!
                        Paris Performers Theatre    Jenny's House of Joy
Nov 19-Dec 2   Theatre Burlington    Sleeping Beauty
Nov 23- Dec 3   Players Guild of Hamilton    It's Morning Now
Nov 23- Dec 9   Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre    Once Upon a Mattress
Nov 24-Dec 3    Cambridge Community Players    Bob's Your Elf
                          Theatre Woodstock    A Dickens of a Christmas
Nov 24-Dec 10 Guelph Little Theatre    Saving Sleeping Beauty 
Dec 1-10           Elora Community Theatre     A Christmas Carol 
Supporting the Sears Ontario Drama Festival

By Peter Busby, WODL Treasurer, treasurer@wodl.on.ca
As m a n y of y ou are aware,  t he Sears  O n t a r i o Dra m a F e s t i val br i ngs  t oge t her h i gh school s t uden t s,  t e achers,  t h e a t re profe s s i on a l s, and c o m m u n i t m e m bers  t o v i ew and cr i ti que  t he s t ude n t s'  t hea t r i c a l e f for t s under  t he gu i da n ce of expe r i enced a d j ud i ca t ors. It i s en t er i ng  it s 72nd y e ar and i s t he  l a r gest fes ti v al of i t s k i nd  i n C a na d a. Ma n y gradua t es of t he progr a m now have car e ers  i n t h e a t re,f i l m, and  T V , or are  i nvo l ved  i t he a t re a r t i n t he i r c o m m u n i t y i nc l ud i ng W O D L .
W it h Sears Canada filing for bankruptcythe festival has lost its sponsor. On top of althe volunteers that makthe festival possible, the total running costs are approx.imately $200,000 annually across Canada. Amongst others including IATSE, the National Theatre School of Canada has made a significant monetary contribution and, furthermore, has offered to provide both a structure and stafto assist where needed. Notably, because the school has charitable status, they can accept donations and direct theto the festivalwhich was not possible under the festival's structure. (Contributions may be directed to the Ontario Drama Festivalc/The National Theatre School of Canada,5030 St Denis Street, Montreal QC H2J 2L8). A joint NTS/IATSE press release is at   www.iatse.net/news/iatse-and-national-theatre-school-canada-join-help-secure-presentation-2018-edition-ontario
WODLwas established in 1932 to encourage, assist and promote CommunitTheatre and to provide education in the Theatre Arts. Whilthe activities of the OntariDrama Festival are directed somewhat differentlytowards participation of youth itheatre, WODL recognizes that such youth form part of our future, both as participants and as audience members.The plight of the Sears Drama Festival was particularly brought to the attention of the WODL Board bLife President Fay Bonanno.
Because WODL is currentlin excellent financial condition, and we are permitted to grant monies to a fellow charitable organization, and because of the commonality of our cause and that of the Ontario Drama Festivalthe Board has provided a one-time grant of $500 to the NationaTheatre School of Canada for the purpose of supporting the Ontario Drama Festival.
Theatre Ontario - News

By Linda Lloyd-McKenzie, WODL Theatre Ontario Liaison, TO-liaison@wodl.on.ca
Michael Spence Award

Theatre Ontario's Michael Spence Award for Contribution to Community Theatre is presented annually for outstanding contribution to community theatre in a region over a sustained time. The award is presented to someone from the region that is hosting that year's Theatre Ontario Festival, which means this year the award will be presented to someone in the WODL region.


Sustained contribution to community theatre;
Generosity of spirit, involvement, and commitment to community theatre that is legendary within his/her region, helping community theatre flourish.


Nominations are submitted to Theatre Ontario by various community theatres in the applicable region. The nominations opened October 1st with the final deadline for nominations being January 31, 2018.
Theatre Ontario will provide the roster of nominees to the WODL Jury prior to the February 18th Board Meeting.
Nominations are reviewed by the jury, and then the recommend recipient is brought forward to Theatre Ontario.
Theatre Ontario presents the award at the Theatre Ontario Festival Awards Brunch


The award was established in 1997 by Theatre Ontario on the occasion of Theatre Ontario's 25th Anniversary. Multiple awards were presented on the quinquennial anniversaries of Theatre Ontario until 2012, when it became an annual award presented to a single individual in the Festival host region.

About Michael Spence

The award is named in honour of Michael Spence, the founding President of Theatre Ontario.  Michael was active in community theatre at Hart House Theatre, London Little Theatre, and the University Alumnae Dramatic Club (now known as Alumnae Theatre.)  He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Dominion Drama Festival, a past President of Arts Etobicoke, and continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of Theatre Ontario.

Theatre Ontario Bowl-A-Thon Results

Theatre Ontario would like to thank all of the participants and supporters to this year's annual Bowl-A-Thon fundraising event, which took place on Saturday, September 16th.

We raised a total of $4,350.00 - 97% of our goal - in support of the operation of our core programs and services.

Event Results and Winners:
  • Top Fundraising Team - Elley-Ray's Team; who also had the Best Bowling Outfits!
  • Top Fundraising Individual - Linda Lloyd-McKenzie
  • Highest Scoring Team - Jeremy Dietrich's Team
  • Highest Scoring Individual - Jeremy Dietrich
  • Most Improved Player - Lindsay Drake
  • Most Honest Bowler - Leah Dietrich

Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 

London ON - hosted by London Community Players May 16-20, 2018
Our adjudicator at Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 is Maja Ardall.
Maja has been working in theatre for forty-seven years. She is a director, playwright, actor, and theatre trainer. Her musical play, The Hero of Hunter Street, was produced by 4th Line Theatre in 2016. She researched and created One Thing Leads to Another, Theatre for Babies, produced by Young People's Theatre, receiving two Dora Awards in 2015. It will tour Ontario in 2018, and she is developing the sequel, You and I.
Please visit the Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 webpage for updated info as released. 

Theatre Ontario Upcoming Workshops

(Prices are for non-members. Become an Individual Member and save up to 50% on workshops)
  • Director-Dramaturge Collaborations Nov 1 2017 - $47.01
  • Voice Over Workshop with Ellie-Ray Nov 4 2017 - $70.51
  • Grant Writing Information Session Nov 6 2017 - FREE
  • Leveraging Your Network Nov 22 2017 - $47.01
  • Playwrights Guide to Getting Produced Nov 28 2017 - $47.01
  • Act Bravely: Practical Strategies to Conquer Stage Fright Nov 27 2017 - $70.51
Scott White and Peter Fenton - Playwrights Who Go the Extra Mile

By Shirley Bieman, director of The Giant's Garden at Kincardine Theatre Guild, and WODL President, president@wodl.on.ca
Peter White
This fall, Kincardine Theatre Guild has had the distinct pleasure of working with the playwrighting duo of Scott White and Peter Fenton to produce their delightful musical,
The Giant's Garden . From the writing of orchestrations for our pit band to allowing us to add a silent, invisible character into the script, they could not have been more accommodating. They have sent messages wishing us well as rehearsals progressed, offering any help with staging, etc. if required. Certainly, 'going the extra mile' has been appreciated by all the cast and crew and something I've not encountered before from a playwright/composer.
From the beginning they have demonstrated the following:
'Our belief is that community theatre is about just that ... building community, building skills, telling a story, and sharing in the joy of theatre.  And as writers, we want to be as supportive to that process as possible.'
Fenton & White (as they have become known) have been writing together since starting
Scott Fenton
explorations on The Giant's Garden around 2004. Peter has a passion for funny quirky dialogue; Scott has a passion for rhyme and music; and both want to create pieces of theatre that are uplifting, have heart, strong characters and make audiences feel something.
For more information about Scott and Peter here is a link to their individual profiles on the Playwrights Guild of Canada website.  
The three works that have been professionally produced that were created as a team include:
The Giant's Garden - both in one act form, and in two act form, details can be found on the website at www.thegiantsgarden.com

Community rights for the play can be acquired through the Playwrights Guild of Canada where script and perusal score is available.
The Giant's Garden has had readings in New York, productions in Canada at regional theatres, festivals and at the community theatre level as well.
One of the joys of this piece is that it offers a fantasy world and the opportunity to involve large numbers of people from the community. This was always a goal of the piece. When it premiered at Theatre Orangeville, the ensemble was made up of the 100 voice Theatre Orangeville Youth Singers (who were split into four groups of 25 and rotated through performances). It has also proven to be an excellent way for more experienced actors to integrate with youth and allow learning opportunities for young actors.
Bemused - a screwball comedy set in the 1940s. This is a comedy with some music and features a child lead, a character that plays piano (tracks are provided for community productions where the actor doesn't play), the world's oldest tap dancing hotel porter ... and a skunk. This piece had its first regional production in 2014 in a lush staging at Theatre North West in British Columbia. It has since had multiple community productions. The cast size of 7 allows for lots of opportunity for comic actors. The set can be as simple or as lavish as budget allows, but it is a single setting play, and because of the puppetry involved in the skunk, there are great opportunities for designers and off-stage "stars". Community rights and script for the play can be acquired through the Playwrights Guild of Canada. www.playwrightsguild.ca/play/bemused 
Newfoundland Mary - Their most recent piece was a one act musical entitled Newfoundland Mary that has had regional productions. This piece was commissioned for Smile Theatre, a company that takes professional theatre to seniors' facilities where many of the residents can no longer get out to see a show. As well as touring Ontario facilities for 7 weeks in 2015, it was picked up by Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary where it had a nearly sold out run on the main stage, and then toured for two additional weeks.
This is a 2 person musical ... and at present community rights are unavailable. The piece is going through an evolution to turn it from a one act show into a two-act musical with four actors. Look for regional productions in both Western and Eastern Canada in the upcoming two years. The piece was inspired by the life of Mary McCarthy.
This musical love story follows the evolving relationship between two people from very different worlds as they discover the importance of music in surviving life's challenges, the value of friendship during times of uncertainty, and the possibility of love at a mature age. The heartwarming original score features Cuban music, Newfoundland jigs and ballads.
Fenton & White have one other project on the go ... a piece called Some Kind Of Happy which is a four character comedy about how older parents and grown-up kids navigate the tricky waters of making sure that each other is HAPPY. It examines perceptions of what defines happiness, and how sometimes we force our vision of happiness on others. This relationship comedy will go through workshop activity at a professional regional theatre in the spring and then have a professional premiere in 2019. Community rights will come available by 2020.
Kincardine Theatre Guild is eager to perform The Giant's Garden for our community and looking forward to meeting Scott and Peter when they come to our Gala performance this month.
To all community theatres, I would highly recommend having a look at the work of this talented pair.
Off the Wall Stratford Artists Alliance

By Ron Dodson, Outreach Manager, Off the Wall Stratford Artists Alliance, dodson59@rogers.com
On October 15, two representatives of Off the Wall Stratford Artists Alliance came to the WODL general meeting in Sarnia.

Ron Dodson, Outreach Manager, gave an overview of Off the Wall's mandate to teach backstage artists how to construct and paint impressive sets; build props ranging from faux food to furniture to flicker candles; and design and create breath-taking masks, wigs, makeup and stage costumes.

Their teachers are theatre artists, mostly from the Stratford Festival, who are masters of their craft. Off the Wall offers week-long courses in the summer and fall weekend courses in beautiful Stratford.

Jeremy Cox, artist-instructor, gave WODL members the opportunity to create fanciful, creative masks from everyday materials. The pictures don't do them justice!!


Course and workshop information and lots more can be found at www.stratfordoffthewall.com/.

Off the Wall needs space in their warehouse, so they are offering a completed set for sale. It has a definite gothic theme, complete with skulls!! Perfect for The Addams Family, or a fundraising event! This set was built by Off the Wall students last year and was extended with a new side panel and added door height (not pictured). If a WODL group is interested in purchasing this set for a reasonable price, please contact dodson59@rogers.com for more information.

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

18 February 2018 WODL general meeting, Sarnia, in-Festival finalists announced
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