February 28, 2011                                                                                             


Enter, Stage Left!

2011 Niagara District Sears Drama Festival Set to Begin

William Shakespeare’s classic line, “All the world’s a stage,” certainly holds true for dedicated students putting the finishing touches on a number of creative, funny and thought provoking productions for the 2011 Niagara District Sears Drama Festival. This year’s event runs from March 1 – 3 at Welland Centennial Secondary School.

“The festival is a unique and authentic opportunity for students to experience the demands and joys of theatre production,” says DSBN Arts Consultant Gerda Klassen. “Through this process, students manage every aspect of their productions from start to finish. They interpret, direct and perform the plays. Students also work on costumes, lighting and stage design.

Students will showcase their productions in front of an experienced adjudicator who will provide a critique. This year’s festival will be adjudicated by Deanna Jones, a local actor, playwright and the Co-Artistic Director of Suitcase in Point. Jones has been teaching theatre and creation workshops in schools and for Suitcase in Point since 2005.

Klassen says the opportunity to have professional feedback will help students as they continue to grow as actors and playwrights. She adds that “students will also learn from watching their peers perform on-stage. Each school and each production brings a unique element to the Festival, giving students an opportunity to see a variety of different ideas, styles and interpretations.”

Festival Co-coordinator Stewart Simpson says the festival helps many students refine their future career aspirations. “The leadership experience in being part of a travelling production engenders a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Many students who are considering careers in acting, writing, technical theatre, publicity and event planning will be well served by their experience at the Sears Festival,” says Simpson.

At the District level, awards will be given for Outstanding Production, Individual Performances, Stage Management and Technical Achievement. Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit are presented to acknowledge outstanding student performers, writers, directors and technicians.

District Finalists will be invited to participate in the Regional Festival, scheduled to take place at Sir J.A. Macdonald Secondary in Hamilton from April 11-16. Two Outstanding Productions from the Regional Festival will be invited to perform at the Ontario Showcase, held in Toronto from May 11 - 14.

In 2010, Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School became the first Niagara school in five years to perform at the provincial showcase. RCBHS was one of 12 schools, out of 408 entrants, to receive an invite to the Ontario Showcase. Students’ wowed audiences with their performance of Sophie Treadwell’s “Machinal.”

Curtain time for the District Festival is 7:00 p.m. each night, and tickets are available at the door. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Welland Centennial is located at 240 Thorold Road West.

The following is a list of DSBN schools participating in the 2011 Niagara District Sears Drama Festival and their performance dates:


Tuesday, March 1 

Grimsby Secondary School

Da Fogato’s Inferno 

Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School

The Chairs 

Stamford Collegiate Secondary School


Laura Secord Secondary School


Wednesday, March 2 

South Lincoln High School

Moments in Love 

Governor Simcoe Secondary School

Elephant’s Graveyard 

Thursday March 3 

St. Catharines Collegiate

Saving Molly Morgan 

Welland Centennial Secondary School

The Importance of Being Earnest