Western Ontario Drama League

Newsletter June 2023

In this issue:
  • Festival 2023 Winners and Nominations
  • WODL Fee Increase for 2023
  • New WODL Life Members
  • WODL Festival and Reunion Gala 2023 - Roundup
  • Travelling Adjudicator's Report
  • WODL Travelling Festival 2023-2024 and Festival Gala 2024 – Save the Dates!
  • Community Theatre in the WODL Region
  • What’s Happening in Waterloo-Wellington for the Month of June
  • Aylmer Community Theatre Sale - 17 June 2023
  • Off the Wall - Summer Courses 2023
  • 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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Festival 2023 Winners and Nominations

Click on the thumbnail to view a printable list of the Festival results:

WODL Fee Increase for 2023

By Peter Busby, WODL Treasurer, treasurer@wodl.on.ca

WODL has not adjusted its fee schedule since between 2005 and 2009. We have held off any changes for as long as possible, given the economic difficulties induced by the 2019 pandemic; however, WODL is starting to experience sequential shortfalls in its financial operations.

As a consequence, the Board of Directors has proposed, and the Membership at the 2023 Annual General Meeting has approved, the following changes in the fee schedule:

Annual Group Membership:


Annual Individual Membership:


First Adjudication:


Second Adjudication:


Award Sponsorship:


Normally I send out fee invoices by email. Recently I have found that more than several appear not to have been received; hereafter, I shall be asking for an RSVP to acknowledge invoice receipt.

Thank you for making theatre spectacularly alive in SW Ontario!

Click here for a printable PDF of this announcement.

New WODL Life Members

By Sue Perkins, WODL Life Members Chair, lifemembers@wodl.on.ca

At the Gala we were delighted to announce the names of two new Honorary Life Members of WODL:

Gina and Andre Paradis


Gina worked her way up from 2nd Vice President to President from 2009, finally completing her term in 2017 - then was Membership Chair for a couple of years. She now looks after the WODL Facebook page.


Andre was an Area Vice President for a number of years - at least 2011 to 2017 when he moved to Awards chair, which he is still doing.

They have both been regular Festival goers and great supporters of all things Festival. In addition they have worked with Theatre Kent for a long time, and supported theatre in the schools in the Chatham area. Very worthy and deserving of this honour.


The criteria and details for being appointed as an Honorary Life Member is:


  • Honorary Life Membership may be conferred by Western Ontario Drama League (WODL) at an annual AGM or Awards Gala, whichever is most appropriate at the time. 
  • The Honorary Life Members Committee shall invite the Board and general membership to submit names and reasons for consideration for this award to the Chair to share with his/her Committee.
  • The Committee shall then consider all recommendations and make their selection(s) from the names presented.
  • This honour shall be given for outstanding service to Theatre in the WODL region.
  • Such Honorary Life Member shall without payment of fees, have all the rights and privileges of a member.




  • The Honorary Life Members Committee shall be comprised of all current Honorary Life Members of Western Ontario Drama League.
  • It is recommended that no more than 2 persons shall be nominated per season, and/or a maximum of 10 every 5 years.
  • It is recommended that the Honorary Life Member awards be presented as a part of, but PRIOR to, the presentation of Gala/Festival Awards.


If you have someone within your group who meets the criteria, please send me the details - their name and the reasons why you feel they should become an Honorary Life Member. Our committee will be happy to consider their name.

WODL Festival and Reunion Gala 2023 - Roundup

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

It did not seem like more than four years since we gathered to celebrate our theatre achievements! As we gathered in the hospitality room, at the workshops and at the Gala, we remembered those who are no longer with us; we visited with old friends and made new friends.

Pictures of the festivities are available for you to view and download at https://drive.google.com/drive/u/5/folders/196LujxUWJL2me7YIcIo9FRsGWJNr3BKH thanks to Andy Wasylycia and Tam Malic.

Thank you to our Gala Sponsors. Each of these sponsors originally sponsored the 2020 in-Festival awards. When that Festival was cancelled because of COVID, they graciously agreed to leave their sponsorship money with WODL until the next Festival. And when WODL decided to host a Travelling Festival & Reunion Gala this year, they redirected their sponsorship money to support the Festival and Reunion Gala.

  • Joe Agocs
  • Fay Bonanno in memory of Lawrie Bonanno
  • Rob Coles and Mona Brennan-ColesTim Dawdy
  • Dennis Johnson in memory of Anne Wilson
  • Lyn Mathewson in memory of Pat and Vincent Mathewson
  • Gina and Andre Paradis
  • The Players Guild of Hamilton
  • Michelle and John Spanik
  • John Tait
  • Theatre Burlington
  • Theatre Sarnia in memory of D. Park Jamieson

Thank you to those who supported the Festival in many ways:

Trevor Bonanno, Shirley Bieman, Henri Canino, Deb Deckert, Sue Garner,

Annie Gibson, Denise Gismondi, Audrey Hummelen, Shirley Marshall, Anne Mooney,

Gina Paradis, Sue Perkins, Greg Ryckman, Tricia Ward, Mary Jane Walzak,

Andy Wasylycia, Wendy Yoon.


Thank you to Phyllis Leighton for travelling throughout the WODL region to share her experience and expertise with us.

Thank you to Playwrights Canada Press for sponsoring Beatrice Pizano to share her experiences and expertise with us and for providing discounted theatre books for us to buy.

Thank you to the Gala Committee for blending old and new traditions in the 2023 Travelling Festival and Reunion Gala. They are already working on the 2024 Festival incorporating their lessons learned and the feedback from the Gala surveys.

Mona Brennan-Coles, Peter Busby, Bev Dietrich, Kathy Fahey, Tom Fahey,

Ken Menzies, Andre Paradis, Renata Solski.

Travelling Adjudicator's Report

By Phyllis Leighton, WODL Festival 2023 Travelling Adjudicator, with comments by Ken Menzies, WODL Adjudications Chair, adjudications@wodl.on.ca

This report includes an overview of the adjudication experience throughout WODL, during the 2022/23 season. I (Phyllis) will include various strengths exhibited by member groups, as well as some suggested areas of improvement. It is to be noted that:

  • Each member group adjudicated, was striving for excellence, and engaged in very fulfilling and productive discussions with me. This was a definite strength, exhibited throughout the WODL region. Other strengths include; a noticeable investment in the training and encouragement of young people, among some member groups, and a profound dedication towards producing excellent play material.

  • Each member group had a core group of volunteers and was aware that they must continue to recruit more volunteers, in order to maintain adequate involvement, going forward. Establishing this as a goal, would improve WODL greatly, overall.

My job as Travelling Adjudicator included:

  • assessing each play production, and identifying various strengths, choices, and challenges 

  • providing feedback, both in public and private adjudications

  • facilitating a discussion with the cast and crew of each production, with regard to my personal experience, and observations

  • presenting some alternative approaches that may be considered, in order to enhance the storyline, or make things clearer for the audience 

Play selections: 

Several groups reported that, post pandemic, they were scheduling plays that had been lined up for 2 years, and others reported that they went with a completely new slate of plays this season, in order to provide a fresh perspective. Adjudicated material included a wide range of material; everything from musicals to murder mysteries.

To Be Considered: 

  • how do member groups select material that is relevant, and appropriate for today’s audience, which is mindful of societal norms/expectations in 2023, such as ‘inclusiveness’, and specific, sexual references that may be deemed ‘inappropriate’?

  • how do member groups balance the more traditional material, with a greater awareness of cultural appropriation and gender sensitivity?

  • how can WODL improve it’s awards structure? Perhaps a consideration of Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates would reach more members going forward. This would allow greater flexibility for adjudicators, to recognize deserving participants, based on merit, rather than choosing only one, ‘winner’, in most categories.

Adjudication Information: 

Comment from Ken Menzies:

If you wish to know what she saw, please consult the adjudication schedule on the WODL website www.wodl.on.ca under Festivals.

Public Adjudications were approximately 10 minutes in length, and Private Adjudications were often over an hour in duration. It made for a late finish for some that began with an 8 o’clock curtain time. 

What an absolute delight it has been, travelling around Western Ontario, and witnessing such an incredible array of spectacular, community theatre. Each group displayed a genuine love of theatre, and a willingness to discuss their results.

Where Do We Go From Here?

  • We keep SharingLearning, and Growing.

  • We keep encouraging new memberships, sponsorships, and volunteers to get on board.

  • We keep providing youth programming, such as After School, March Break, and Summer Theatre Camps for Kids.

  • We keep providing opportunities, seminars, and workshops for those who want to learn more, throughout the year, hosted by member groups; those that have a huge wealth of knowledge and expertise, including all aspects/elements of play production.

  • We recognize all of our volunteers, with special recognition ceremonies, and certificates.


In Conclusion:

I have provided a link for ‘5 Reasons Why Theatre is Still Important’, from Acting Studio Chicago. It is an excellent read!

  • Theatre helps us to see a different perspective from our own. 
  • Theatre reminds us that we are not alone. 
  • Theatre is immediate, evolving and always different. 
  • Live theatre helps to promote social discourse, dialogue and potential social change. 
  • Theatre promotes education and literacy. 

…and I would add that it’s a lot of FUN! Each of the member groups appeared to be enjoying themselves. 


Thank-you for allowing me to travel, to witness, and to experience the wonder of theatre, this past season. 

Comment from Ken Menzies:

I saw 12 of the plays being adjudicated. I have never seen such consistently high quality before.

WODL Travelling Festival 2023-2024 and Festival Gala 2024 – Save the Dates!

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

Travelling Festival

  • Alexander Gallant will be adjudicating plays throughout the WODL region from October 12, 2023 to April 6, 2024.
  • Alexander Gallant will present his nominations for the Travelling Festival Awards and the winners of the Adjudicator’s Special Awards of Excellence at a WODL General Meeting on Sunday, April 14, 2024.
  • Watch for information from Ken Menzies, WODL Adjudications Chair, about the application process.

Festival Gala and Workshops

  • Location: Delta London Armouries, London, Ontario
  • Workshops -- Friday, May 17 – Saturday, May 18, 2024
  • Gala – Saturday May 18, 2024
  • Watch for information from the committee in the coming months.

WODL Festival 2025 – May 15 – 18, 2025

  • In 2025, WODL plans to present a three play in person Festival with plays presented on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and an awards brunch on Sunday, May 18, 2025.
  • Travelling adjudications in 2024-2025 will provide WODL member groups with the opportunity to be adjudicated in-Festival or out-of-Festival.
  • Watch for information about location and other details in the coming months.

WODL Festival and Reunion Gala 2023/Festival 2024 Committees:

  • Mona Brennan-Coles, Chair, Workshops
  • Peter Busby, Treasurer
  • Bev Dietrich, Hotel/Workshops
  • Kathy Fahey, co-host Hospitality
  • Tom Fahey, co-host Hospitality
  • Ken Menzies, Adjudications
  • Andre Paradis, Awards
  • Renata Solski, Hotel/Gala
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 September newsletter, please send the information to communications@wodl.on.ca.

What’s Happening in Waterloo-Wellington for the Month of June

by Bev Dietrich, WODL Area VP Waterloo-Wellington, bev@wodl.on.ca

Ayr Community Theatre

Auditions for Clue The Musical are being held on June 9 & 10 with call backs on June 17. Performances are November 22-26, 2023. Check out the website https://www.ayrcommunitytheatre.com/ for more information about auditioning.

Cambridge Community Players

Auditions for Snow White and Seven Dwarfs Pantomime are being held June 20 and 21. For more information email: productions@cambridgecommunityplayers.com

Elmira Theatre Company

ETC is moving and needs to downsize. The Great Big Sale will be held on Saturday June 17 from 10:00 am till 2:00 pm at 76 Howard Ave. Elmira. Make an offer, a donation or take it away. Props, costumes, lighting equipment, set pieces all must go.

Auditions for Ed’s Garage will be held at 76 Howard Ave., Elmira on June 19, 20 at 7:00 pm. Call backs on June 21. Performances will be November 2023.

Auditions for Pearl Gidley will be held at 76 Howard Ave., Elmira on June 26, 27 at 7:00 pm with call backs June 28. Performances will be February 2024.

Elora Community Theatre

Auditions for Miracle on 34th Street will be held June 8 & 9, 2023 from 7-9 pm at Elora Community Theatre Workshop 105 Queen Street, 3rd Floor, Fergus. Performance will be in December.

Guelph Little Theatre

The Actor’s Lab runs Wednesdays 7:00-9:00 pm until June 21, 2023 at the theatre.

Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre

Ordinary Days Music and Lyrics by Adam Gwon, directed by Gaya Bin-Noon runs June 8-24, 2023.

Penny and Pound Theatre

Auditions for Godspell will be held June 1 & 2 from 6:00 – 10:00 pm. Call back date is June 4 from 7-10:00 pm. The show performances are Oct. 12-15, 2023, at the Cambridge Arts Theatre.

Auditions for Little Heaven will be held June 15 & 16, 2023 from 6:00-10:00 pm at Knox Presbyterian Church in Cambridge. Check out the website for more information https://www.pennyandpoundtheatre.com/.

Theatre Wellesley

Auditions for All’s Fair will be held June 7 at 7pm and June 11 at 2pm at 1137 Henry St. Wellesley. Show dates are November 16-19, 2023.

Aylmer Community Theatre Sale - 17 June 2023

Off the Wall - Summer Courses 2023

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

Students between the ages of 18 and 29 are eligible for Tuition Assistance. Details of the application process are on the Off The Wall website: https://www.stratfordoffthewall.com/tuition-assistance

Facebook @offthewallstrat
Hashtags: #stratfordoffthewall #theatreproduction #backstage

Playwrights Canada Press

By Nadia Ozzorluoglu, Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Playwrights Canada Press, nadia@playwrightscanada.com

Check out these new books from Playwrights Canada Press!

Recently released: 


After the Fire and The Particulars by Matthew MacKenzie

Set in the aftermath of the disaster that nearly destroyed Fort McMurray in 2016, After the Fire centres around two couples whose lives have been deeply affected by the ruin. Sisters Laura and Carmell have been channelling their devastation into their daughters’ hockey team, as their Indigenous husbands Barry and Ty grapple with their own demons while digging a very big hole 


In The Particulars, a week’s worth of daily routines for an insomniac is disrupted by a mysterious home invasion. Gordon battles his invaders on two fronts—in his home, where he believes he is dealing with vermin, and in his yard, where insects have taken over his garden. By day, Gordon forges ahead, in control of every aspect of his life. But by night, the scratching he hears in his walls is unravelling him, driving him to the edge of cosmic desperation.


Burning Mom by Mieko Ouchi

A retired suburban wife and mother tragically loses her partner after forty-five years together. So what does she do? The only thing that makes any sense at all. She embarks on her own hero’s journey. A road trip to the middle of the Nevada desert in a twenty-six-foot-long RV. 


Blackout by Tamara Brown, Kym Dominique-Ferguson, Lydie Dubuisson, and Mathieu Murphy-Perron

In February 1969, hundreds of students occupied a computer centre at what is now Montréal’s Concordia University to protest the mismanagement of a racism complaint lodged by Caribbean students against their biology professor. When an agreement to end the occupation fell through, riot police were called in, resulting in widespread damage, a mysterious fire, and nearly a hundred arrests. 


Coming soon:


among men by David Yee

1959, Ameliasburgh, Prince Edward County, Canada. On the edge of spring, two men are finishing an A-frame cabin on Roblin Lake. In the coming decade all three of them—Al, Milt, and the A-frame—will become famous and change the face of Canadian poetry. But now all they have is the stench of sweat, whiskey, and words. 


Caplurnia by Audrey Dwyer

Julie, a young Jamaican Canadian screenwriter, is passionately working on an adaptation of one of the most beloved American novels of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird, telling the story from the perspective of the Finch family’s Black maid, Calpurnia. When her brother challenges her, saying she’s appropriating a culture she doesn’t belong to, she goes to dramatic lengths to prove her point, only to find she has much to learn.


The Jungle by Anthony MacMahon & Thomas McKechnie

Can Jack and Veronyka ever get ahead? In this all-too-relatable love story in a city suffocating under late-stage capitalism, a young couple is pitted against odd after odd in a way that isn’t about testing one’s character anymore—it’s simply reality. 

 + 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 May 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:

3 August 2023

Deadline for submissions for the September newsletter.

12 October 2023

Start of adjudications.

6 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.

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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