The envelope please!
Western Avalon Regional Drama Festival hands out hardware
There were no envelopes nor drum rolls. But that didn’t diminish the excitement among the 370 students, parents and teachers, who turned out at the Princess Sheila NaGeira Theatre in Carbonear April 16 to find out who won what at this year’s Western Avalon Drama Festival.
The students exploded with exuberance every time adjudicator Brad Hodder called out their school’s name to come to the stage and accept their awards.
Asylum by Carbonear Collegiate was named best play in the festival’s senior high school division.
The win earned the Carbonear school the right to represent the Western Avalon Regional Drama Festival at the 35th Provincial High School Theatre Festival to be held May 5-8 in Burin. There they will take to the stage of Pearce Junior High to compete with other regional winners from around the province.
The top award was among 26 handed out at the conclusion of the festival.
Sponsored by Eastern School District, the three-day event ran April 14-16 at the Sheila NaGeira Theatre.
The Carbonear high school’s work also took awards for best use of lighting and best use of sound in a theatrical production. And Matthew Crawford was named best actor for his role in Asylum.
Something to celebrate
and create something unique and special — something you can stand behind and say we did that. All 14 productions did that,” he said.
“For those of you who go on to pursue a career in the arts, it’s incredibly difficult and incredibly rewarding,” Hodder concluded.
A native of St. John’s, Hodder is the artistic director of c2c theatre and the Cupids-based New World Theatre Project.
Support for the arts
Pointing out some 240 students from 12 schools produced 14 plays during the festival, Janet VivianWalsh, assistant director of education and programs with Eastern School District, suggested “ that’s a phenomenal amount of work.”
Vivian-Walsh said the district values the arts, and “ there is a huge amount of support for the arts in this province. As Newfoundlanders we are very passionate about the arts and want to see it survive. We are very rich in this area.”
Other senior awards
Before handing out the hardware, adjudicator Brad Hodder told the audience, “at its best theatre is a celebration, and unlike anything else it creates community. One thing I’ve noticed here,” Hodder observed, “there is reason to celebrate this community you’ve created.”
Having adjudicated a number of drama festivals, the seasoned adjudicator exclaimed, “ This has just been an incredible time. This really is theatre at it’s best.
“It’s not just about the plays on the stage, it’s about the community and the communion it creates between audience and performer,” Hodder explained, adding, “it was really wonderful spending this time with you.”
Referring to the tough task of choosing award winners, the adjudicator said, “ you guys never make it easy. I’ve done the best I can — no matter how it plays out, there’s going to be more people upset with me than happy with me,” he joked. “I accept that.”
He suggested, “ when we create any kind of art we have a responsi• Best set design in a theatrical bility to try and make it better than production — Roncalli High, Avonthe last thing we did. We have a dale (Buffalo in Sheeps’ Clothing); responsibility to be proud of what • Best costume in a theatrical we create. It really did seem to me production — Ascension Colleevery single school and everybody giate, Bay Roberts (The Swimmer); put something up there on stage • Best ensemble in a theatrical they could stand behind and say production — Baccalieu Collegiate, they were proud of it. Anybody can Old Perlican (It’s Not You, It’s Me); hop up on stage and make a fool of • Best actor in a supporting role themselves. But it takes a different — Aaron Kelly, Baccalieu Collekind of commitment to really try giate;
• Best actress in a supporting role — Caitlin Vokey, Ascension Collegiate;
• Best actress — Brittany Pack, Ascension Collegiate;
• Best original script, senior and junior —Laval, Placentia (Lessons from the Book of Life), Connie Newhook, Jason Council and Sean Ryan;
• Adjudicator’s award — ensemble best celebrating the spirit of the festival — Crescent Collegiate, Blaketown (Odd Ball).
• Baccalieu Collegiate of Old Perlican took the top award for best play ( junior) with their entry, Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit.
• Amalgamated Academy, Bay Roberts swept nine of the 13 awards handed out in the junior division. They were: best use of lighting in a theatrical production; best use of sound; best set design (Alice); best costume; best backstage crew; best actor in a supporting role — Matthew Sparkes (Caterpillar); best actor — Liam Dawson ( While Rabbit); best actress — Erin Mackey (Alice); and best musical ( Alice In Wonderland).
• Adjudicator’s award for using theatre as a vehicle to address issues relating to culture — St. Peter’s Elementary, Upper Island Cove;
• Best ensemble in a theatrical production — St. Catherine’s Academy, St. Mary’s Bay;
• Best actress in a supporting role — Morgan Slade, Persalvic, Victoria(Ella Can’t).
Corey Morgan, who emceed the festival, was presented with the Drama Festival’s Builder’s Award. Morgan has been involved with the festival for 16 years. He was recognized for his contribution to the festival in particular and the growth and development of the performing arts and artists in the region in general. He serves as department head for language arts and fine arts at Amalgamated Academy.
The adjudicator awarded Dawson Smith a certificate of merit for excellence in a cameo appearance. Brad Hodder said he would “never, ever, ever ... forget the moment Dawson walked onto the stage as the wild bologna.”
Aside from the plays, the festival also included workshops at the College of the North Atlantic’s Carbonear campus.
Terri-Lynn Eddy gave a workshop on song writing; John Sheehan on stand-up comedy; Katherine O’Leary, dance; Sid Butt, pottery; Patricia Andrews, scene work; Dennis Flynn, photography and Corey Morgan, theatre games.
Baccalieu Collegiate accepted the award for best junior play in the Western Regional Drama Festival. Members of the cast include: Front (l-r) – Tiffany Howell, Tori Oliver, Brad Hodder, adjudicator; Emily-Jane Gillingham, Karisa Burt, Alicia Button, Savannah Hatch, Erica LeShane, Morgan Eddy and Adrienna Thorne; back – Chelsey Harnum, Kori Tuck, Carissa Garland, Cody Johnson, Ian Oliver, Avery Ash, Bradley Oliver, Amber Hyde, Dustin Johnson, Brianne Scott, Zachary LeShane, accepting award from John Way, senior education officer, Eastern School District; Nathan Joliffe, Jarod Riggs, Jasmine Hyde, Michelle Reynolds, Denise Reid, coach; Brittany Harnum, Janine Foley, coach, Margie Tucker, coach, and Vanessa Pitcher.
Carbonear Collegiate took the top award for best senior play in the Western Regional Drama Festival. Matthew Crawford (lying on floor) holds the award. Shown here are: Front (l-r) – Rubyanne Whelan, mascot; Brittany Dooley, Faith Hiscock, Bridgette Elyk, Justine Clarke and Rebecca Howell; back – Anne Whelan, director; David Riggs, Hailey Noel, Mikayla Fraize, Elizabeth Hicks, Justin Pike, Acacia Puddestor, Kristen Baker and Samantha Crocker.