Newsletter October 2015

In this issue:
Welcome to the WODL Newsletter

Welcome to the second edition of the WODL online newsletter.

Our mailing list has grown considerably since last month, so this may be the first newsletter that you have received. We're planning to publish a newsletter each month, to keep everyone in the WODL community up-to date on Festival, on workshops, and on other activities of interest to community theatre members in Western Ontario.

This is a busy time of year for community theatre, so there is lots to read here!

Help us build our mailing list: 

Please forward this newsletter to your theatre contacts, and ask them to join our mailing list.
The buttons  for this are in the right-hand column.
Festival 2016 in Woodstock

By Sue Robinson & Bonnie Hartley,
Co-chairs Festival 2016
Things are gearing up as the magic continues in Woodstock. You can now purchase your Festival tickets on-line as of October 1st by accessing Theatre Woodstock's website at www.theatrewoodstock.com.  Look for the "Find Your Light" brochure and click. Individual performances are $22. The 5-show package is $100. Our new Box Office system is up and running, ready to take your orders!  So why come to Woodstock for the week during March break?  
First of all, besides the five fabulous productions, you won't want to miss the workshops presented by our Festival Adjudicator, Ron Cameron - Lewis. On Tuesday, you can look forward to Ron's Top Ten Practical Pieces of Advice  for Directors  and on Thursday it's Ron's Top Ten Practical Pieces of Advice for Actors. On the Friday, check out the display by Playwrights Canada. 
In downtown Woodstock, there are several delightful restaurants within walking distance of the Theatre including: The Banana Leaf, Crabby Joe's, Charles Dickens Pub, Tandoori Knights, Olympic, A Taste of China, Union Burger and for fine dining it's the very special  "Six Thirty Nine" restaurant. Links to these will be available soon!  Our Opening Night Reception is held right across the street from the theatre in the Oxford County Atrium from 6:00 - 7:30 pm.  May we suggest you make reservations for one of these close-by restaurants beforehand?
Staying at the Festival Hotel is always a blast and once again this year it is The Quality Hotel and Suites. There are plenty of restaurants located near the hotel as well: Kelsey's, Montana's, Swiss Chalet, East Side Mario's, Boston Pizza, Dean Michael's Griddlehouse... and of course within the hotel, meet all your friends at Ody's Restaurant Lounge and Patio. The Gala Ticket Price is $55.00.  Room rates at the Quality Inn are $106 and that includes a wonderful breakfast plus access to the Goodlife Fitness Centre right inside the building. 
Coming soon -  we are very fortunate to have a new "techie" join our team, Cliff Kraeker! He will be creating a Festival Facebook page and that should be available very shortly, so watch for that! 
We are looking forward to hosting the next WODL General meeting in Woodstock on October 25th, when  the groups will be able to pick up their "tech specs" and tour our theatre. The stage layout can currently be viewed on our website by clicking on the  Festival brochure. We will also host the February 21st meeting when we eagerly await the Preliminary Adjudicator Sandy MacDonald's announcements. He will let us know our Pre-Festival winners and of course, the FIVE shows coming to compete in March.  
So why come to Woodstock?  It's a fabulous, crazy week when you make new friends; but it's the lasting friendships that keep bringing you back, year after year!

Festival 2016 Adjudications Schedule

Here is the adjudications schedule at the time that this newsletter was prepared. There may be a few changes in the next few weeks.

To view the most recent schedule click here.

Fall 2015
Oct 17
Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun
N. Foster
Oct 18
Mrs. Parliament's Night Out
N. Foster

Oct 31
St. Mary's
J. Masternoff
Based on J.Vandrunten's  play
Nov 1
All the King's Women
L. Jannuzzi
Nov 6
Over the River and Through  the Woods 
J. DiPietro
Nov 14
Strictly Murder
B. Clemens
Nov 21

My Fair Lady
Book& Lyrics A. Lerner
Music F. Loewe
Nov 26
How the Other Half Loves
A. Ayckbourn
Nov 27
Peter Pan - a Pantomime
S & R Humphrey
Adapted  B. Bryan
Dec 11
J. Yukich

Winter 2016
Jan 23
Poona the Fuck Dog and
Other Stories for Children
J. Goodie
Feb 3
33 Variations
M. Kaufman
Feb 4

Having Hope at Home
D. Craig
Feb 5
Suburban Standoff
M. Grant
Feb 6
The Drawer Boy
M. Healey
Feb 7
Out Burlington
Death by Design
R. Urbinati
Feb 10
Out London
The Catering Queen
A. Lawrence
Feb 11
In Simcoe
Whole Lotto Love
K. Land
Feb 12
In Kincardine
Willow Quartet
J. Burrows
Feb 13
Out Woodstock
Mom's the Word
l. Carson,  J. Daum,
A. Kelly, R. Nichol,
B. Pollard
D. Williams
Feb 14
In Elgin
Jake's Women
N. Simon
Feb 18
In Paris
Nana's Naughty Knickers

Festival Definition of a Juvenile

At a recent meeting, the WODL board clarified the definition of a juvenile who can be eligible for the  Outstanding Performance by a Juvenile award. This is a Pre-Festival award and can be awarded to either an in-Festival or to an out-of-Festival group.

juvenile is now defined as a person who is under age 18 on the date of the adjudication.

Sandy MacDonald - Pre-Festival Adjudicator

Sandy Macdonald is a director, actor and acting coach with some five decades of experience working in theatre, in both England and Canada.

He has been Artistic Director of the Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover and of the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend, as well as Associate Director/Producer of Rainbow Theatre in Parry Sound and Theatre Muskoka. 

Among his favourite directing credits are ' The Importance Of Being Earnest ' , ' Private Lives ' , ' Shirley Valentine ' , ' Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii ' , ' Little Shop Of Horrors ' , ' Nunsense ' , ' A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum ' and ' The Maids ' .

Sandy has worked as a director and workshop leader with community theatre groups in several cities and towns across the province, including Kanata, Woodstock, Ingersoll, Sudbury and Peterborough.  As well, he has adjudicated for ACT-CO, WODL, QUONTA and EODL as well as the Sears Drama Festival and the New Brunswick Drama League.

Sandy ' s acting experience includes seasons at Lincoln and Windsor Repertory Theatres,  and the Chichester Festival Theatre, in England (longer ago than he cares to remember!). At the latter, he had the privilege of working with two of Britain ' s greatest names in theatre, Sir Alec Guinness and Sir Peter Ustinov. 

His acting credits include Willie Clark in ' The Sunshine Boys ' , Jack in  ' Brighton Beach Memoirs and Herb in ' I Ought To Be In Pictures ' .  He is particularly proud of two cameo roles, Merriman in ' The Importance of Being Earnest on stage and a soldier in the classic action film, ' The Dirty Dozen ' .
WODL General Meeting - Woodstock, Sunday 25 October at 1:00 pm

Everyone who is a member of a community theatre group that belongs to WODL is welcome at the general meeting.

The meeting will be followed by a discussion forum moderated by Tim Dawdy, President of WODL. This discussion will cover:

  • New legislation that affects community theatres
  • Festival 2017 and the promotion of Canadian plays
  • A replacement for Minifest
Paris Performers Theatre 25th Anniversary

Paris Performers' Theatre Inc. celebrates  25 years of theatre in Paris, Ontario.
Paris Performers' Theatre Inc. began its humble beginnings in an old Penman Mill at 120 West River Street in Paris, Ontario. They spent several years working around pillars, dealing with snow blowing in the main stage door and having the floor creak during our more subtle moments.
Many memories were created as we developed into a theatre group. Paris Performers' Theatre spent a short laborious time in the upstairs of the Town Hall, then moved to Syl Apps Arena, which was geared to hockey games and figure skating, but not suited to a theatre environment.
Then came the "Big Move" to the Paris Fairgrounds.  Many memories of tipping light standards up with ropes, lugging costumes from the back of a van and actors rehearsing in someone's basement rec room. They now had a heated rehearsal area, cloth seating, white lights, sound equipment and a solid stage.
Paris Performers' Theatre has seen hundreds of volunteers put in thousands of hours, to make us what we are today. Some of Paris Performers' Theatre's early members were Digby & Anne Sargent, Sarah Staysha, Stephen Smith, John and Sadie Creeden. They had a vision of what this could be with hard work and dedication. 
Paris Performers' Theatre is planning special events during our 25th season and to start off the year we will have 25th Anniversary Gala (Dinner and Dance) on Friday October, 23, 2015 @ 6:00 pm at the Paris Fairgrounds in the Special Events Building. Masters of Ceremonies Greig Graham and Stephanie Christiaens will reminisce of the years gone by. Tickets are available through Green Heron Books, 47 Grand River St. N., Paris, ON or calling our Box Office @ (519) 302-0169.  Ticket price is $25.00 per person.
November will be our first performance of the season.  We wanted to kick off the season by re-mounting a performance from the past. "How the Other Half Loves" by Alan Ayckbourn - directed by one of our seasoned directors - George Fowlie. Featuring a composite set of two over-laid city flats. It follows the misunderstandings caused by a couple having an affair and covering their tracks by using an innocent third party. Performance dates November 20 - 29, 2015.
Tickets for performances can be purchased in advance from Green Heron Books in Paris, ON, reserve by phone or purchase at the door.
For more details of our up and coming season, please visit our website at
Theatre Ontario Seeking Enthusiastic Community Theatres for Trial Adjudications

By Brandon Moore, Community Theatre Coordinator, Theatre Ontario

Festivals wouldn't be possible without skilled Adjudicators able to share their observations and insights with participating theatres. As Theatre Ontario works to train and qualify new adjudicators, one of the critical steps in the process is our Trial Adjudications.
Trial Adjudications are an opportunity for prospective adjudicators to demonstrate their skills in an actual adjudication setting at a community theatre.

Whatever their backgrounds, these prospective adjudicators are eager to share their enthusiasm and experience as theatre instructors in an adjudication setting.
Theatre Ontario is seeking community theatres willing to open up their productions for trial adjudications when they are needed in southwestern Ontario.
Read more about Theatre Ontario's Trial Adjudications on the Theatre Ontario Blog.
Playwrights Guild of Canada

By Monique Renaud, Marketing Coordinator, The Playwrights Guild of Canada, marketing@playwrightsguild.ca

I am in the midst of organizing a new project for us called "Canadian Plays in Communities". The goal for this initiative is to have Community Theatres across the country produce Canadian plays for their 2017 season.

Canada will be celebrating it's 150th Anniversary in 2017 and we hope to honour Canadian work together as a national theatre community. 

We have several strategies to not only promote Canadian work, but also the community theatres who are producing these plays.

Feel free to send me any ideas, feedback, and questions! 

Sign up for the PGC newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bcISuz

A list of Canadian playwrights with links to their plays is available here.

Five Canadian Play Recommendations for Community Theatres

By Vern Thiessen, from the Playwrights Guild of Canada
Vern Thiessen, One of Canada's most prolific playwrights, has written plays such as SHAKESPEARE'S WILL, APPLE, EINSTEIN'S GIFT, LENIN'S EMBALMERS, and many other works including musicals and TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences). He is the winner of the Governor General's, Dora, Sterling, and Carol Bolt awards for Outstanding New Play. This year, he was named Artistic Director of Workshop West Playwrights' Theatre in Edmonton.
Recently, Vern Thiessen was Theatre Ontario's Playwright in Person during their Summer Theatre Intensive.
For more information on Vern, please visit the PGC website!
More and more, I believe the future of Canadian drama lies in the smaller community.Some of my most challenging works have been tackled by community theatres whose passion and commitment to Canadian plays is often far greater than most regional theatres. That said, recommend five Canadian plays for Community Theatres? Are you nuts? But hey, if we aren't going to lift one another up, who will? So after considering musicals, comedies, dramas, and everything in between, here's five of at least fifty I could put on such a list. My criteria: plays with cast sizes over eight, strong roles for women, written in the last twenty-five years, and where the idea of "community" is critical. By putting the spot light on a few works, I hope I can draw attention to the entire Canadian canon. In alphabetical order...
Bev Cooper's gripping and powerful play about a 14 year old boy sentenced to hang in a small Ontario town. Cast of 10, great roles for women, a period piece, and purely Canadian.

For pure fun, David Belke's murder-mystery-comedy makes fantastic community theatre. With over 15 (mainly) Shakespearean characters Belke's play has small, scene-stealing roles that can be cast regardless of race, age or gender.

With more and more immigrants moving to smaller towns and cities in Canada, Carmen Aguirre's moving portrait of eight refugees in limbo gives voice to newcomers to our country.

Two people in the last stages of Alzheimer's meet and fall in love over and over again. There are lots of plays about Alzheimers out there, but only Aaron Bushkowsky manages to turn something truly horrible into a touchingromantic comedy. Lots of great roles for actors over age 60.

Winner of the 2002 GG, Kevin Kerr's moving play about the Spanish Flu invading a small Canadian town features a large cast filled with great roles for women and men.
Owen Sound Little Theatre Needs a Crystal Ball

Owen Sound Little Theatre is staging Blithe Spirit in June 2016.

If you have a crystal ball in your props cupboard, or you know where there is one, please email the producer, John Prettie at  jprettie@bmts.com.
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

23 October 2015 Paris Performers' Theatre 25th Anniversary Gala.

25 October 2015
WODL General Meeting, 1:00 pm Woodstock.

21 February 2016 WODL General Meeting, 1:00 pm Woodstock. Out-of-Festival award winners, and the five finalist productions, are announced.

14 to 19 March 2016 WODL Festival 2016, Woodstock

18 to 21 May 2016 Theatre Ontario Festival 2016, North Bay.

13 to 18 March 2017 WODL Festival 2017, Guelph

15 to 20 May 2017 Theatre Ontario Festival 2017, Ottawa

This newsletter was prepared by:  

Tricia Ward
Communications Coordinator

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