Western Ontario Drama League
Newsletter April 2020
In this issue:
  • WODL Festival 2020 - WODL Board
  • WODL Festival 2020 - Festival Co-Chairs
  • Festival Ticket Refunds
  • WODL In-Festival Awards
  • John l’Heureux' Life Membership Acceptance Speech
  • WODL Festival 2021
  • Theatre Ontario Festival 2020 Cancelled
  • News From Around the WODL Region
  • Playwights Canada Press
  • Off the Wall
  • Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet
  • If you are producing Canadian Plays this Season - Check This Out
  • ONstage Theatre Listings
  • Is your WODL Membership Information Up-to-date?
  • Dates for your Diary
Quick Links:
WODL Festival 2020 - WODL Board
By Mona Brennan-Coles, 1st Vice President WODL, mona@wodl.on.ca
WODL Festival 2020, co-hosted by Cambridge Community Players and Paris Performers Theatre in Cambridge, would have been a wonderful time for seeing great theatre, participating in interesting, informative workshops, catching up with old friends, making new friends and exploring local restaurants and shopping throughout the week. As the WODL Board Liaison on the festival committee, I saw first hand how well the two groups worked together to prepare a fabulous week of theatre and friendship for everyone. I also watched as they carefully and continuously evaluated the developing COVID-19 situation - consulting with local health authorities and planning accordingly - until their March 16th decision to cancel the festival.
Thank you to the WODL Festival 2020 co-chairs - Gord Wehner (Cambridge) and Terri Graham (Paris) and the entire committee for your hard work in preparing for the festival that almost was.
Terri-Lynn Graham - Co-Chair Hotel Team
Gord Wehner - Co-Chair Theatre Team
Mona Brennan-Coles - Hotel Contract
Peter Busby - Treasurer/Lighting
Ken Menzies - Adjudicator Host
Linda Lloyd McKenzie - Workshops
Marion Smith - Hotel Hospitality
Cindy Cudney - Secretary, Hotel Hospitality
Peter Hunton - Theatre Hospitality
Nita Hunton - Theatre Hospitality
Tyler Watson - Lighting
Gord Wehner- Sponsorships
Eric McKeigan - Mementos
Nikole Beda - Gala/Reception Manager
Deanna Stevens - Reception/Decor
Duncan Graham - Decor
Terri-Lynn Graham - Souvenir Program
Martin Smith - Photography
Terri-Lynn Wehner - Photography/FOH
Bonnie McCrae - Front of House Manager
Gilberta Patrick - Box Office Manager
Mandy Carson - Stage Management/Sound
Mallory Carson - Stage Management Team
Melissa Hartholt - Stage Management Team
Richard Dallaway - Lighting
Peter Hunton - Advertising
Thank you to all the WODL companies whose plays were adjudicated in-Festival or out-of-Festival and to Mark Mooney for sharing his insights, selecting out-of-Festival award winners and the five productions to go onto festival.
Thank you to the five festival productions who prepared, rehearsed, made arrangements and planned only to have their opening night cancelled. Thank you to Caroline Smith who was ready to adjudicate the Festival performances and who supported the Festival by partially waiving her fees.
Thank you to the Cambridge Community Players Box Office for processing ticket refunds (performances and gala) without us having to ask for them.

Thank you to the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre who worked with the Festival committee to meet all the Festival needs and who responded professionally and graciously to the cancellation -- making it easy for everyone to cancel their rooms - despite the significant revenue loss for the hotel and the impact on their staff.

Once we are able to gather together, we will have a celebration of the 2019/2020 theatre year in the WODL region. Until then, the Festival's ghost light shines reminding us that the show will go on when it is safe.
WODL Festival 2020 - Festival Co-Chairs
By Terri Graham, terri@wodl.on.ca , & Gord Wehner, gord@wodl.on.ca , Co-chairs Festival2020
We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our fellow thespian friends for your understanding during this extremely difficult time, and for your support following the difficult decision to cancel Festival for this year. It’s definitely been one for the books. We appreciate the kind words from everyone as we navigated through this new territory. It was heartbreaking for all of us, and we know it was just as heartbreaking for all of you.
We were touched by all of the support on Saturday March 22 nd as many of you hopped online and raised a glass to everyone. Some of you even dressed up and strutted your stuff to show us you were thinking of our amazing community that night. Many thanks to Marion Smith for thinking of this idea, I think we all definitely needed it and appreciated the distraction.

We would like to let you know that although Festival 2020 did not happen, we are still planning an event for everyone, hopefully to be done with the AGM that is scheduled for July 12 th . This is just a concept at this point but Paris Performers’ Theatre has offered to organize this as, well, they already have the decorations done… 
The Festival committee also has the programs from Festival available for anyone who wants them. Terri will be bringing them to the AGM/reception event for anyone who wants a souvenir of the event. We also have a mini version of the plaques, shown, on the video, by Terri on Saturday night. This medallion was to be used on sale with proceeds going to Festival 2020 expenses. If you are so inclined, we have 70 available for purchase and will gladly hold them for anyone who wishes one or two as souvenirs. They are $15.00 each. Please let Terri know if you would like to have one held for you ( terri@wodl.on.ca )

We will let the others let you know about the goings on of everything else as they know it. At this time, we want to thank all of the volunteers that put their time and effort into this Festival. We know it was so disappointing to put in all that work with nothing to show for it. We have no words to make it up to you all, but we appreciate you all so very much and we hope that in the future we can work with all of you again. To our executive team, thank you so much for your unwavering support, your guidance and leadership in assisting us in making the really hard decisions. 

Much love until we meet again, Terri & Gord.
Festival Ticket Refunds
By Peter Busby, WODL Treasurer, treasurer@wodl.on.ca
With regard to the ticket purchases for Festival '20 and its Gala: as soon as these events were cancelled the Festival committee began to process refunds for our patrons, a job taking several days as we overwhelmed the system. To my knowledge, the vast majority of the refunds have been issued, leaving just two handsfull of cash refunds remaining.

There are two items of note here:
Firstly, if you believe there is an amount left owing to you from the refund process, please let me know, at treasurer@wodl.on.ca .

Secondly, due to the process of issuing refunds, we did not provide you an opportunity to turn any part of your ticket purchase into a charitable donation. So, I have a pitch for you:
While WODL normally retains a portion (40%) of the net proceeds (profit) of a festival, which helps fund the support we provide to theatre organizations across South West Ontario, WODL covers 100% of the loss suffered at a festival. As it happens, we can easily absorb the current loss without threatening the future of WODL.

The partnership of theatres co-sponsoring Festival this year, however, participated with a considerable amount of volunteer expertise (I could draw a comparison between sweat equity and professional equity but the effort exceeds the willful suspension of disbelief), and have correspondingly suffered a loss of expectations, both of reputation and financially. We discussed this at the recent WODL board meeting, so here's the pitch:

If you would like to donate all or a portion of your ticket refund to recognize the superb effort put forth by Cambridge Community Players and Paris Performers' Theatre, please make your donation out to WODL, and forward your donation to me at:

C10 - 7 Upper Mercer St
Kitchener ON
N2A 0B7

or eTransfer to treasurer@wodl.on.ca and let me know the security password (our bank account is so old I can't do automatic deposits, sorry).

What I am authorized to do with these donations is to split them between CCP and PPT equally, with WODL taking no portion for ourselves. WODL will, however, issue the charitable receipts.

This kind and substantial support will help recognize the volunteers who worked hard to make this Festival a success.

Thanks to Terri, Gordon, Peter H, Rob and Barb for handling the refunds
WODL In-Festival Awards
If you are the sponsor of an in-Festival award that was not awarded this year, the awards chair, Andre Paradis, will contact you in the future to let you know what your options are.
John l'Heureux' Life Membership Acceptance Speech
John l'Heureux has been awarded a Life membership of WODL.

As many of you know, John is very ill. He asked Audrey Hummelen and Father Len to accept the award on his behalf. Since Festival was cancelled, he has asked that his acceptance speech, which was to have been given by Audrey, be included here.

Dear Honoured Guests, Theatre Ontario Members/staff, the Board of WODL and all of you members of WODL that I hold so dearly as my friends.

Thank you so much for this kind recognition of my life in Theatre, I am joining quite an Illustrious group of people who have been given this award in the past! Along with a number of people who taught me many of the wonderful qualities of theatre. People like Richard Howard, Ron Cameron-Lewis, Peggie Coslett, Diane Wastle, Val & Fred Hadley only to name a few who all dedicated their lives to theatre.

It has been such a privilege for me to be a part of this very important aspect of all of our lives. I have enjoyed everything from acting, directing, play polishing, working back stage, being a leader for our precious Youth Group, being on the Board for Theatre Sarnia, attending summer courses, helping Theatre Sarnia when they hosted Festival, closing down the hospitality suites at Festival! LOL! And of course, participating in all the Festivals including Theatre Ontario over the years.

WODL has become like a second family to me and I am grateful for your presence in my life.

I also want to take a moment to thank my wife Ann and my children, Monica and Christopher, for giving up time with me so that I could spend it with all the good folks at Theatre Sarnia and WODL as well as Theatre Ontario. Without their support it wouldn’t have happened.

My friends, I wish you every joy possible as you journey on, not only in your theatre lives, but your personal lives as well.

With much gratitude and love,

John L’Heureux
WODL Festival 2021
By Ken Menzies, WODL Adjudications Chair, adjudications@wodl.on.ca
WODL wants Festival 2021 to happen. The host group, the Bank Theatre in Leamington, has enthusiastically started preparing. We all are excited. It is set for the School March Break with plays from Monday, March 15 to Friday, March 19 with the Gala on Saturday, March 20. The pre-Festival adjudicator is Phylis Leighton. The Festival adjudicator is Lindsay Price. Applications for adjudication will be due by Friday, September 18.

Our enthusiasm must be within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. You are familiar with the standard blurb: “We are committed to the health and well-being of our patrons and our staff.” This has become a hack phrase as it says we recognize a new reality. WODL also recognizes this reality. We are committed to a healthy Festival for everybody. If we cannot be confident that a healthy Festival is possible, then we will have to cancel. If groups of 50 cannot safely get together, as is the case now, there will be no Festival. WODL can only put on a Festival if our members want to be adjudicated. If many groups cancel their performances for the next year, then there cannot be a Festival.

WODL’s enthusiasm for a great dramatic experience at Festival 2021 will be tempered by a concern for everybodys health. Festival 2021 goes ahead only if it can be held safely.

We will keep you posted.
Theatre Ontario Festival 2020 Cancelled
The following message was sent by Andrea Emmerton, President of QUONTA Region, on 17 March 2020:

In consultation with Sault Theatre Workshop and with the other regions, we have made the decision to cancel the upcoming festival.

We feel that it is necessary to be proactive during this difficult time. The decision has not been made lightly, but the health and safety of our participants and audiences is of the upmost importance.

It is also essential to cancel before we get any further into the process, which would create a financial burden for Sault Theatre Workshop and the QUONTA Region.

If any tickets have been prepaid, please contact Sandra Houston at 705.946.4081 for refunds.

While this is very disappointing, I would like to thank Randi Houston-Jones and her committee for their months of hard work in getting us this far.

Stay safe everyone.

I am sharing a quote I saw a few days ago from Chris Richards:

"We are the Theatre and we are survivors (and Thrivers)"
News from Around the WODL Region
By Janice Lundy, member WODL Communications Committee,   janice@wodl.on.ca 
No openings this month.
Playwrights Canada Press
By Jessica Lewis, Sales & Marketing Manager, Playwrights Canada Press, jessica@playwrightscanada.com  
Everything on www.playwrightscanada.com is 25% off! This includes hundreds of ebooks. Print books are still being shipped from our distributor but may take longer to be delivered. You can read more here .

While we are unable to get new print books out for the next little while, we are still releasing the ebooks! The second edition of Sequence by Arun Lakra and Quick Bright Things by Christopher Cook are available now, with more to come soon.
Off the Wall
By Michele Boniface, Chair, Off the Wall Stratford Artists Alliance, mboniface@cyg.net
We, at Off-The Wall, hope you are all staying safe and healthy during this time of corona virus outbreak, isolation and containment.

At this stage, we are hoping to run our summer courses as usual; they are still open for registration.

Rest assured that should we be required to cancel any courses we will provide full refunds to all registrants. This, of course, includes those from the US who have concerns about border closures.

You will also be given the option of keeping your deposits or payments on account with us, to be used for the same (or new) courses in the future.

Please check this site for updates as circumstances evolve. We expect to know by June 1 st whether courses will run throughout the summer.

Good health to you all, and stay safe.
Check out our webpage at: www.stratfordoffthewall.com
Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet
The  Canadian Play Outlet  has launched its new site with over 2000 Canadian Plays right at your fingertips. Looking for something specific? Check out the curated  Collections .

Every month you can take a look at the newest unpublished and published plays available!
If you are Producing Canadian Plays this Season - Check This Out
The Playwrights Guild of Canada publicises productions of Canadian-written plays through its website,  www.playwrightsguild.ca .

If you want to perform a Canadian play but cannot figure out where to obtain the amateur performance rights,  view this presentation from PGC .
ONstage Theatre Listings
Theatre Ontario publishes an online list of current and upcoming productions by its member groups. To see what is on  click here .
Is your WODL Menbership 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, Gina Paradis, know at  membership@wodl.on.ca
Dates for your Diary:
12 July 2020
WODL Annual General Meeting, Leamington
15 to 20 March 2021
WODL Festival 2021, Leamington
This newsletter was prepared by:
Tricia Ward
Communications coordinator

Western Ontario Drama League  |  communications@wodl.on.ca  |  www.wodl.on.ca

Copyright © Western Ontario Drama League 2020. All Rights Reserved.