Western Ontario Drama League

Newsletter December 2023

In this Issue:

  • Prez Sez
  • Safety Guidelines for Props, Costumes & Make-up
  • Adjudications Schedule
  • WODL Festival 2024
  • Community Theatre in the WODL Region
  • What's on this Month in the Waterloo-Wellington Region
  • What's Happening in the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk-Oxford Region
  • Off the Wall - Winter 2024
  • Playwrights Canada Press
  • Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet
  • Concord Theatricals New Plays
  • If you are Producing Canadian Plays this Season - Check This Out
  • Is your WODL Membership Information Up-to-date?
  • Dates for your Diary
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Prez Sez

By Linda Lloyd McKenzie, WODL President, president@wodl.on.ca


Christmas is just a few weeks away and though you may be finished your decorating, baking and Christmas shopping already (if you have, don't even talk to me!), you may still be looking for that special gift for the musical theatre lover in your life. You may be saying to yourself right now, "Oh boy! I almost forgot to get Crazy Aunt Heather a gift! I know she likes musicals... what on Earth should I get her??!!". Well, look no further. Linda the Elf is here to ease your shopping pain. You don't even need to leave your house for these (which is great if, like me, you live in the frozen tundra that is Bruce County). I have curated some musical theatre gift suggestions below - ENJOY! I may or may not have just ordered #2 for myself. 😄


  1. Broadway Sheet Music Collection - If you know a musical thespian who is always tinkering around on their piano or keyboard, this is an AMAZING book to add to their sheet music collection. It’s packed with 39 songs from hit musicals between 2010-2017. They’re going to LOVE this. Amazon Canada $31.46 CAD
  2. Spontuneous: The Song Game - This is the PERFECT game to whip out during spontaneous parties – especially if there happens to be musical thespians in the house. In this game, the players are given a word, and the first to come up with a song that has that word in it wins the round! You can easily make up an additional rule for this game as well – only show tunes allowed! Amazon Canada $67.48 CAD
  3. The Musical Theatre Card Game - The Musical Theatre Card Game is a newer release and it’s a very stylish deck of cards. The game features 52 popular musicals that will put your musical theatre expertise to good use. Etsy - Seller StageInsider $28.88 CAD
  4. Musical Theatre Scratch-Off Poster - This scratch-off poster is such a fun way to keep track of the popular musicals you have seen! It features 100 shows, and you can even scratch off your very own star rating of each one! Etsy - Seller StageInsider $45.13 CAD
  5. The Broadway Musical Quiz Book by Laura Frankos - It’s no secret that musical theatre lovers love talking about, listening to, singing, and thinking about their favorite musicals. So why not put them to the test? This book contains 80 amazing Broadway musical-themed quizzes, and any musical thespian is sure to love it! Amazon Canada $25.99
  6. 100 Songs Every Modern Theatre Nerd Should Know (Game) - What a fun game to play with other musical thespians! You can even choose between six different games you can play with this one deck of song cards. Songs from Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Beetlejuice, The Book of Mormon and many others. Amazon Canada $48.36
  7. Life Is Like A Musical: How To Life, Love, and Lead Like A Star, by Tim Federle - This is such a fun choice for the musical lover in your life! It’s basically a self-help book based on the lessons that come from show business! It’s written by the best-selling author and Broadway playwright, Tim Federle. - Amazon Canada (Available for Kindle) $15.99
  8. The Thespian's Bucket List (1001 Stagey Things to do Before Kicking the Bucket, by Stacy Karyn - an interactive checklist of theatre-related things to do in your lifetime i.e. plays to read, must see musicals, theatres to visit and other fun surprises. Amazon Canada $9.27 (paperback)


On behalf of the Western Ontario Drama League Board of Directors, I wish you all joy, peace, and prosperity! Happy Holidays everyone!

Safety Guidelines for Props, Costumes & Make-up

By Brandon Moore, Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MOLTSD) Advisory Committee for Live Performance

The Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has released the newest version of the safety guideline for Props, costumes, and make-up.

This guideline provides useful information on safety precautions theatre makers should follow when using and handling props, costumes and make-up during rehearsal and performance. Food props, costume and makeup hygiene, and precautions when a production involves flame effects are particular areas of focus.

Read the full guideline at https://www.ontario.ca/document/safety-guidelines-live-performance-industry/props-costumes-and-make

The full text is reproduced below:

Props, costumes, and make-up


This guideline covers the safety precautions employers and workers should take when using and handling props, costumes and make-up during rehearsal and performance.

Using props, costumes and make-up as part of a live performance presents hazards, such as tripping hazards or allergic reactions. While there are no special regulations for the use of props, costumes and make-up in a live performance production, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations apply. Other legislation may also apply.

We developed this guideline to help employers and workers:

  • understand and assess some of the risks

  • plan their use so that props (both hand props and food props), costumes and make-up can be used safely in live performance productions

This resource does not replace the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations and should not be used as or considered legal advice. Health and safety inspectors apply and enforce these laws based on the facts they find in the workplace.

This guideline does not cover

  • weaponry used in live performance

For information on special requirements for weaponry of any sort used in live performance, please refer to the Stage combat/stunts and weaponry guideline.

Terms used in this guideline

This guideline uses several industry-specific terms. These definitions are provided for clarity and guidance only and, unless otherwise noted, are not definitions found under the Occupational Health and Safety Act or its regulations.

The first appearance of each term is linked to a definition.

Anaphylaxis — a severe allergic reaction which can result in death. Symptoms include:

  • hives
  • itching and flushed skin
  • sudden low blood pressure
  • constriction of airways
  • swollen tongue or throat
  • weak and rapid pulse
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • dizziness or fainting

Authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) — an organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure.

Costume — any article, including footwear, masks, wigs and headgear, that is worn — not carried or handled — by the performer. This includes any weapon (firearm or blade) that is worn, but not handled or used.

Fire retardant — a substance that helps to delay or prevent combustion. In general, fire retardants reduce the flammability of materials by either:

  • blocking the fire physically
  • initiating a chemical reaction that stops the fire

Flame-resistant — the characteristic of any material that can prevent it from igniting. Flame resistance works regardless of whether the source of ignition is flaming or non-flaming, and whether the source of ignition remains in place or is removed.

Since no material can be made “fireproof,” the term should not be used as it gives a false sense of security.

Hand prop — any article that is carried or handled, not worn, by the performer. This includes any weapon (firearm or blade) that is handled or used

Rights and duties

The main purpose of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) is to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job. It sets out duties for all workplace parties, including employers and supervisors, as well as both duties and rights for workers. All workplace parties must know their general and specific rights and duties under the OHSA for creating, participating in, and maintaining safe workplaces. In addition, all workplace parties should make themselves familiar with the material contained in this guideline.

Event planning

The safety of the public, performers and production workers is most important in all live performance events that involve working in dark or dimly-lit conditions. Employers have a duty to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker (clause 25(2)(h) of the OHSA) and to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker (Clause 25(2)(a) of the OHSA). That’s why the following should be carried out:

Risk assessment

For a general overview of the risk assessment process, refer to Risk Assessment for Productions – Safety Guidelines for the Live Performance Industry in Ontario.

Areas of concern and risks to be assessed for the use of props, costumes and make-up include the following.


Many materials used in the construction or treatment of hand props and costumes rely on volatile solvents (such as acetone, alcohol and petroleum-based) for their application.

Hazardous materials, such as dyes, paints, and adhesives that contain volatile solvents should be avoided, if possible. For example, shoe colour spray should be avoided because the ingredients and the propellant combine to create a hazard.

Where it is necessary to use such materials, personal protective equipment such as gloves and respirators must be worn, as required. Requirements are in the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each product. For example, a respirator should be worn during the application of acetone to strip the original colour when re-dyeing shoes.

Where it is necessary to use paints, dyes, adhesives or other materials that contain volatile solvents, allow the solvent to evaporate completely before the costume or prop is used by crew or performers.

If possible, use water-based stain and make-up removers for cleaning, rather than volatile solvents. If volatile solvents must be used in cleaning, allow the solvent to evaporate fully before the article is used by wardrobe crew and performers.

Flame effects

Because of the inherent danger of working with live flame, alternatives to flame effects should always be used wherever possible. The use of flame effects (including torches, candles, and fireplaces) should take place under strictly controlled conditions. Refer to the Ontario Fire Code (O. Reg. 213/07, clauses and and the Flame effects guideline.

Take these precautions when using flame effects:

  • Where live flame is used, hand props and costumes placed, used or worn near flame should be made of flame-resistant material or treated with fire retardant.
  • Any trim or decoration to a costume after treatment with fire retardant should also be made of flame-resistant materials or be treated with fire retardant.
  • Make sure that any costume item that has been washed or cleaned is re-treated with fire retardant.
  • Check with the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) on the amount of time any prop or costume should be required to withstand exposure to open flame.
  • Make sure all workers handling products that will be used to generate a live flame have WHMIS training.

Face powder/talcum

Use of face powder or talcum powder can cause eye irritation or a burning sensation in the throat. If inhaled, the powders can lead to serious lung problems. Avoid creating clouds of face powder or talcum.


Allergens in fabric, make-up or food may cause an immune system reaction, from a mild itchy rash when in contact with skin, to anaphylaxis when swallowed.

Performers should inform the company as soon as possible about any allergies or adverse physical reactions to make-up ingredients, latex or other materials.

Those portions of props or costumes which are likely to come in direct contact with the performer’s skin should be free of materials or finishes which could cause allergic reaction, injury or harm.

It is important to note any food allergies for individuals handling and/or consuming food props.

Integration with other production elements

Consider how costumes, hand props and make-up may interact with other production elements, such as lighting, scenery and sound. Where any of these may combine to create a safety hazard, controls must be put in place to make sure the performer’s mobility, vision and hearing are not obstructed. These precautions should be taken before the elements are included in rehearsal.

Training and information

Items constructed for a production should not be used without referring to and following the maker’s instructions for care and maintenance.

Performers should be given adequate instruction and rehearsal time to become accustomed to all props and costumes as they will be used in combination with scenery, lighting and other production elements, including scene changes, costume quick changes and stage fight sequences.

Safe work plan

Safe work plans create a structured approach to workplace health and safety through each stage of a production by applying the results obtained through:

The safety of the performers and others who handle props, costumes and make-up should be considered in all stages of their design, purchase, construction, repair, maintenance and use.

Before rehearsals


  • The age, size and physical fitness of the performer should be considered in all stages of design, purchase, construction and use of hand props and costumes.
  • Within the reasonable bounds of period, style and character, costumes should be designed, constructed and fitted so as not to impede performer movement while on or off stage.
  • Those responsible for constructing costumes should be informed as soon as possible about special movement required of a performer so that these movements may be anticipated in the construction and fit of the costume.
  • During fittings, performers should be encouraged to consider and demonstrate their anticipated range of staged movement in each costume.
  • All aspects of costumes should be fitted to avoid injury or unnecessary discomfort. Costumes, including masks, wigs and headgear should:
  • provide a field of vision adequate for safe movement on and off stage
  • not obstruct the performer’s breathing or hearing
  • be fitted and balanced to prevent headaches, neck or back strain
  • The combination of performer footwear and playing surface should provide the degree of traction necessary for the safe execution of the performance.
  • Used footwear and hat bands should be wiped with a disinfectant cloth before they are tried on in fittings.


  • Hand props should be designed, chosen and built with consideration for their specific use on stage.
  • They should be checked for rough edges, chips, loose material or other potential hazards before being given to the performers.

During rehearsals or performances

  • Performers should inform their supervisor (for example, stage manager) as soon as possible about any allergies or adverse physical reactions to food, hand props, costume and make-up materials.
  • Hand props and costumes should be checked regularly for wear or damage, and repaired or replaced when necessary.


  • Performers should be informed of any changes made to a hand prop already in use and be given adequate time to work with the changed article before use in run-throughs or in performance.
  • Any addition or change in stage business that involves the use of hand props should be rehearsed with the props before it is included in the performance.

Food props

  • Make sure individuals responsible for preparation of food props follow appropriate protocol for hand hygiene. Hands should be washed with soap and water. If possible, disposable food-grade gloves should be worn when handling food.
  • Make sure all surfaces used for food preparation are clean and clear of any non-food prop objects.
  • When real food and fake food are combined in a prop, make sure fake food props are washable and separated to prevent cross-contamination.
  • All consumables should be stored in the appropriate areas — perishables in a refrigerated container, non-perishables in cupboards specifically designated for food.
  • All glassware, dishware, cutlery, carving/paring knives and other kitchen implements should be washed and put away as soon as possible after use.
  • Make sure food is stored and consumed at the correct temperature to ensure food safety. If necessary, keep chilled or heated until such time as it can be served and eaten.
  • Note any food allergies for individuals handling or consuming food props.


  • Performers should inform those responsible for props or costumes of any repairs needed to maintain the safety of the prop or costume.
  • Rehearsal costumes and props should be provided wherever practicable, except where the costume style would be normal modern dress, and should be as close as possible in size, weight and shape to the intended performance article.
  • Rehearsal garments should be cleaned following the rehearsal period before storage or re-use.
  • Costume elements worn next to the skin should be cleaned, washed or dry cleaned frequently. Other costume elements, including wigs, masks and headgear, should be cleaned, washed or dry cleaned as necessary.
  • Make sure that any item that has been treated with fire retardant is re-treated after being washed or cleaned.
  • Non-scented detergents and fabric softeners should be used for the comfort of both those handling the costumes when cleaning, maintaining or repairing and the performers wearing them.
  • Inside hat bands should be wiped daily with a disinfectant cloth.


  • Performers should use only cosmetic products on their skin, not paints, dyes, or other non-cosmetic substances.
  • When providing special make-up such as body make-up or stage blood, the employer should make sure such material has the ingredients labelled. Products without an ingredient list should not be used.
  • Performers should inform the company as soon as possible about any allergies or adverse physical reactions to make-up ingredients, latex, etc.
  • Body make-up, special effects make-up and new products should be skin tested before full application.
  • If any make-up causes a skin reaction, its use should be discontinued and a substitute found.
  • Frequency of use (number of dress rehearsals and performances) and duration of use (a single scene or the full performance) should be considered when choosing make-up.
  • Make-up should be used only as directed. For example, face make-up should not be used as eye make-up.
  • Anyone applying make-up should wash hands before and after application. Make-up artists should wash their hands before they start on each performer. They should either discard sponges and brushes or wash them before using them on the next performer.
  • If the performer’s skin appears to be broken, gloves should be worn by the person applying the make-up.
  • Performers should never lend their make-up to anyone, or borrow or accept used make-up, particularly mascara and foundation.
  • Aerosol sprays or airbrush products should be used only in dressing rooms or make-up rooms with good local ventilation to remove overspray.
  • Cosmetics should be replaced regularly. Expired products should be discarded.
  • Make-up and hair products should not be shared.
  • Brushes and pencils should be moistened with clean tap water, not saliva.
  • Performers and make-up artists should avoid eating or drinking while make-up is being applied.
  • When removing spirit gum, latex, etc., performers should avoid prolonged skin contact with solvents like acetone, which dry out the skin. Lost skin oils and moisture should be replaced as soon as possible.

End of run and loadout

  • Costumes should be cleaned at the end of a run before storage.
  • Footwear and inside hat bands should be disinfected at the end of a run, whether the item is headed to immediate re-use or to storage.

Adjudications Schedule

For the latest revision of the adjudications schedule go to www.wodl.on.ca.

WODL Festival 2024

By Mona Brennan-Coles, WODL Past President, mona@wodl.on.ca

Community Theatre in the WODL Region

A good place to find out about what other WODL groups are doing is the WODL Facebook page, WODL | Facebook. Most of the announcements are at fairly short notice, so check in often!

If your group is putting on an event that you would like included in the January newsletter, please send the information to communications@wodl.on.ca.

What's on this Month in the Waterloo-Wellington Region

By Bev Dietrich, WODL Area VP Bruce-Grey-Huron, bev@wodl.on.ca

Elora Community Theatre

Miracle on 34th Street, directed by Deb Stanson and David Tanner runs December 8-17, 2023, at the Fergus Grand Theatre.

Guelph Little Theatre

Dear Santa by Norm Foster, directed by Joe Rose runs December 1-10. Trial adjudication is December 3, 2023.

Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre

The Funeral to End All Funerals by Steven Elliott Jackson, directed by Todd Davies runs November 17-December 3, 2023.

Penny & Pound Theatre

Merry Measures: A Holiday Cabaret Fundraiser at Cambridge Centre for the Arts on Saturday December 9 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $25.00 and are available online via Eventbrite.

What's Happening in the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk-Oxford Region

By Laurel Gillespie, WODL Area VP Bruce-Grey-Huron, laurel@wodl.on.ca

Paris Performers Theatre

Paris is roaring back with their latest fundraising event - Life is Just a Cabaret, a dinner theatre event with showcases by Paris Performer Theatre on December 6. Organized by Rubyyy Jones, (no - that is not a mis-spelling) the new Board of Director President, it has already been sold out but more fun filled events are in the works for anyone who missed this. Paris Performers Theatre is determined to restore this well loved community theatre to former glory.

Theatre Tillsonburg

They just finished a very successful run of The Last Romance, which was adjudicated on November 11.  Their next production is fan favourite Nunsense by Dan Goggin, which opens on February 8, 2024.

Theatre Woodstock

Their family friendly Christmas presentation, A Good Old-Fashioned Big Family Christmas opens on December 1.  On January 20, 2024, they will feature a one night presentation of the true story of football player Buddy Milley’s heart-breaking accident, filmed by Woodstock filmmaker Matt Power. Be sure to check out their unique Facebook postings.

Off the Wall - Winter 2024

By Michele Boniface, Chair, Off the Wall Stratford Artists Alliance, mboniface@cyg.net

Website: stratfordoffthewall.com

Facebook: @offthewallstrat

Instagram: @offthewallstratfordartists

Hashtags: #stratfordoffthewall #theatreproduction #backstage

Playwrights Canada Press

By Brandon Crone, Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Playwrights Canada Press, brandon@playwrightscanada.com

Check out these new books from Playwrights Canada Press!

Recently released:  


There is Violence and There is Righteous Violence and There is Death or, The Born-Again Crow by Caleigh Crow

Grocery-store clerk Beth has had a hell of a week. A hell of a life, actually, full of people squashing her soul. And after pushing back at life—stabbing a steak to her boss’s desk and lighting a magazine rack on fire, for instance—freshly unemployed Beth regroups at her mom’s suburban home. Just when Beth starts to think she’s to blame for systemic limits, the gift of a bird feeder sparks a relationship with a talking Crow who reconnects her with her true power. This sly chamber piece from new voice Caleigh Crow turns post-capitalism ennui on its head with a righteous fury.


New by Pamela Mala Sinha

It’s 1970s Winnipeg—a time of revolution and radical possibilities—and an apartment building of immigrant friends is about to be transformed by their latest arrival. Qasim is happily in love with his Canadian girlfriend Abby and has made dear friends with his Indian neighbours. But when Qasim’s mother goes on a hunger strike to strong-arm him into an arranged marriage, his fearless young Bengali bride challenges everyone to rethink their perceptions of identity, sexuality, and freedom. New is a joyous ensemble comedy that honours the immigrant experience and encourages all generations to create a meaningful life on our own terms.

Coming soon:


This is Beyond: A Time Capsule of Queer Experience, edited by Evan Tsitsias and Bilal Baig

In this rapid moment of expansion in queer theatre, when everything is exposed, interrogated, and investigated, This is Beyond is a time capsule of where we are now and a map for where we might go next. Co-editors Evan Tsitsias and Bilal Baig strike out to capture the magnitude of this seismic shift, asking: How far have we come? What’s changed? What’s stayed the same? What do we need to do to continue to change things? An anthology that moves like a satellite in the sky, This is Beyond confronts and expands our current perceptions so that we may continue to explore the new and unknown.


Retreating to Re-Treat: A Performative Encounter at the 'Edge of the Woods' by The Collective Encounter with Jill Carter

In 2019, the Collective Encounter—a group of scholar-artists led by Jill Carter—presented Encounters at the 'Edge of the Woods' as part of Hart House Theatre’s 100th anniversary season. The piece acted as survivance intervention: an Indigenous reclamation of territory, using Storyweaving practices rooted in personal connections to the land to restor(y) treaty relationships. Retreating to Re-Treat documents both their collective creation and process, offered in the spirit of creative knowledge-sharing and enriching scholarship around collaborative practices. By revealing their unique and still-developing method for addressing a fraught and tangled (hi)story, the Collective Encounter invites readers to join them as we mediate those sites of profound experiences and renewal—sites in which the project of conciliation might truly begin.


In Other News:


William Shakespeare's As You Like It, A Radical Retelling by Cliff Cardinal is the WINNER of the 2023 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama!

 + see what else is coming soon!

Did you know you can browse our plays by subjects and casting? 

Want to hear more about sales and upcoming events? Sign up for our newsletter!


You can find more new releases, a blog full of interviews and excerpts, and more on playwrightscanada.com.

Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet

The Canadian Play Outlet has 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!

See November 2023 releases.

Concord Theatricals New Plays

See their latest scripts click here.

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.

Is your WODL Membership 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, Shirley Bieman, know at membership@wodl.on.ca

Dates for your Diary:

31 December 2023

Deadline for submissions for the January newsletter.

12 April 2024

End of adjudications.

14 April 2024

WODL General Meeting. Announcement of nominations for awards.

Victoria Day Long Weekend, 17 & 18 May 2024

WODL Festival and Reunion Gala 2024, London

Victoria Day Long Weekend, 15 - 18 May 2025

WODL Festival 2025, Leamington.

Victoria Day Long Weekend, Sunday 18 May 2025

Awards brunch, 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 2023. All Rights Reserved.

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