Newsletter September 2015

In this issue:
Welcome to the WODL Newsletter

So at long last...

A new season and a new WODL newsletter. 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.

Help us build our mailing list:

This first newsletter is being sent to a short 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.
Minifest: Exit Stage Left

By Bev Dietrich, Minifest Chair

After 29 years Minifest is going to take a well deserved break!

It was decided at the June WODL meeting that Minifest was not meeting the needs of the membership and will be put back on the shelf. It will be revived in the future if there is a need for it again.

Minifest was first held in 1986 and was hosted by Theatre Burlington. In the beginning it was an actual "mini" competition and was adjudicated. Over the years Minifest evolved into a workshop for first time directors, actors and crew. It also provided an opportunity for experienced directors to "push the envelope" and try something new and different. The workshop leader provided positive feedback on the work that was done.

We have seen some real creative work at Minifest combined with having lots of fun, good food, good times and at the same time learning something new in a positive environment. I was often asked "How can you watch the same play 6 times?" Well it wasn't the same play, it was 6 different interpretations all new and wonderful and unique in their own way.

RIP Minifest! Thanks for the memories!
Festival 2016 in Woodstock

By Bonnie Hartley, Co-chair Festival 2016
Of the four regions within Theatre Ontario, WODL is the only one to have a festival where competitors move and perform their plays in one venue. This creates a level of congenial, competitive co-operation not often found in other regions. It results in a wonderful theatrical party week where many participants know each other and learn from watching, and listening, to the daily adjudications. It also provides our Theatre Woodstock audience with a unique experience of having a week of five regional shows in their own theatre.
The Festival Committee was struck about a year ago and has had several preliminary meetings; but the real work has yet to begin. Theatre Woodstock last hosted Festival in 2009 and I was chair at that time. My co-chair Sue Robinson has also had previous experience, as have many of our committee.
Rob Coles, Mona Brenan-Coles and I attended the very successful Festival 2015 in Owen Sound, took notes, and came back with some ideas and the new Festival Banner presented by Chair Yvonne Korince.
We are all very excited about this event as it coincides with Theatre Woodstock's 70th Anniversary, our 20th year in the Market Centre Theatre and the 20th year of CAST (our youth program).  It also marks the retirement of adjudicator Ron Cameron-Lewis, a Woodstock boy, who did his first adjudication at a Festival in Woodstock.
We will be using the Quality Inn & Suites again - Room rates @ $106.  We will have the use of The Altadore room for daily adjudications and afternoon sessions:
  • Tuesday & Thursday - workshops led by adjudicator Ron Cameron-Lewis
  • Friday - Playwrights Canada script display - and hopefully a Canadian Playwright (yet to be determined) 
The expanded Altadore Room will be the location for the Gala - we have raised the ticket price from $50 to $55.
The Opening Reception on March 14 will be in the atrium of the Oxford County Administration Building (across the street from the Theatre) from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm. Opening ceremony at 6:45 pm. We will encourage people to have dinner before the reception as we will be serving wine, coffee, and desserts. Woodstock has a number of restaurants in the core which put them within easy walking distance of the Theatre - we will try to post their information closer to the day. There is also a large parking lot across the street from the Market Centre Theatre.
Afterglows will be in the lounge of the Theatre - as will morning coffee, snacks and lunches.
Show tickets will be $22 each, or the full week for $100.  Our new ticketing system will allow people to purchase individual tickets online. Full week & Gala tickets will be available through the Box Office. We are hoping to start sales around the first of October.
The brochure, created by Ted McLauchlin from Highlander Studios, was handed out at WODL MiniFest and the AGM in Binbrook in July. It is also posted on our website: http://www.theatrewoodstock.com/Festival.html

We will host the October WODL General meeting on Sunday, October 25th. At that time prospective groups can tour the facility and get tech and sound information.  Our Tech/Stage Manager Team is: Pete Dunbar, Rob Coles, Don Hastie. The Stage layout is on the website and we hope to have tech specs there as well.
We will also host the February 21st meeting where Preliminary Adjudicator, Sandy MacDonald, will announce Pre-Festival Winners and THE FIVE SHOWS!  From that moment, there are only 3 weeks till Festival begins on March 14 to publish the Festival Program and promote the plays that will be performed. It's pretty much crazy from then till Festival week - then it is FUN! Five groups, one each day will have 12 hours to restage their production, perform it, then tear it down. We will provide food, and support them in any way possible. The next morning they will meet with adjudicator Ron Cameron-Lewis to hear his comments and discuss their show. These are open to anyone who wishes to quietly attend.
At the final banquet Ron Cameron-Lewis will hand out awards in a number of categories and the Festival Winner will then go on to compete at the Theatre Ontario Festival in North Bay! And then we can all take a breath!
It is a wonderful, crazy week - don't miss it!    

See you in March 2016 - in Woodstock
Festival 2017 in Guelph

By Dennis Johnson, WODL Festival2016 Chair, Guelph Little Theatre

Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. The WODL Festival will be held in Guelph, and the Theatre Ontario Festival will be hosted by Ottawa Little Theatre, located in the historic Byward Market in the nation's capital.

Did You Know?  
  • WODL, EODL and QUONTA (the near north) are actively encouraging all groups entering their Spring 2017 festivals to produce a Canadian-written play. In WODL this means plays being adjudicated In-Festival.
  • EODL is also planning an all-Canadian One-Act Play Festival in the fall of 2017.
  • ACT-CO (Central Ontario), which runs 3 parallel annual festivals for Comedies, Dramas and Musicals, will add a fourth category - Best Production of a Canadian Play.
  • In 1967, the Dominion Drama Festival (DDF) celebrated 100 years of Confederation by changing its rules (for one year only) requiring all entries to be written by a Canadian playwright. 
  • The winner of the WODL 1967 Festival was the Guelph Little Theatre production of  The Broken Jug by Don Harron, starring Terry Doyle and John Snowdon. The play went on to win the award for Best Production of an English Language Play at the DDF Festival in Newfoundland.
  • Canadian plays have won the Theatre Ontario Festival 13 times since the festival began in 1973. Two of these were written by David French. Three were written by Norm Foster. Two were original community theatre premieres - Staff Room (by Joan Burrows) in 2004, and The Mouse House (by Robert Ainsworth) in 2012.
So you Need an Aspidistra for Your Next Show...

No worries. We're an enterprising crowd here in Western Ontario!

What do you do? ask the WODL Facebook group, of course.

The WODL Facebook page is the place to look for props, advertise your auditions, and boast about your production.

To join the group contact Andy French, our webmaster, at webmaster@wodl.on.ca

If you already belong, check out the latest posts.
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 September 2015

Deadline for Festival 2016 applications.


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