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.
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