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).

Ju­nior awards

• 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).

Other awards

• 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).

Builder’s award

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.

Merit award

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.

Photo by Bill Bow­man/The Com­pass

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.

Photo by Bill Bow­man/The Com­pass

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.

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