On April 24, 2009, the drama club of Mount Pearl Senior High School competed in the Eastern School District Regional High School Drama Festival at the Reid Theater, Memorial University. It is a four-day festival with workshops offered by theater professionals during the day followed by performances from area junior and senior high schools each evening. The caliper of performance among high schools in the St. John’s area is very high and the shows presented during the week were varied and enjoyed by all who attended. Competition between schools, however, is very friendly and there is a camaraderie that is built during the week as students mix and mingle.
Mount Pearl Senior High School performed Allison William’s parody of Hamlette on the last evening. The play makes fun of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, with many bad puns and slapstick comedy complete with puppets, game shows and boxing matches. Our play received wild applause and a standing ovation from the audience and went on to win many awards (listed below). The adjudicator for the festival was Jennifer Deon, the director of the professional theater company Shakespeare by the Sea. She was so impressed by our group’s performance that she invited us to perform our play in her summer season of Shakespeare. Unfortunately because of time restraints and other commitments we are unable to perform with her company this summer but we are thrilled that she felt we were good enough to invite us!
On the last night after all the plays were finished the winners and awards were presented. Our school took best play for 2009. Our students were ecstatic! This meant that in two weeks on May 7th, we were to travel to Gander to perform in the Provincial High School Drama Festival.
The Provincial Festival is a showcase of the best plays from high schools across the province and Labrador. This year it was held from May 7-9, 2009, in Gander, Newfoundland. Ten schools participated represented their region of the province. Shows were held each evening at the Arts & Culture Centre. Several theater professionals held workshops during the day in such things as improvisation, mask and makeup and a good time was had by all. The caliper of shows was extremely high and audience response was very positive each night. A few more awards were added to our collection on Saturday evening (listed below) and we headed home Sunday morning. Many new friends were made and many Facebook links added.
I wish to personally commend the hard work and dedication of the students involved in this production. On average they worked nine hours a week on the show juggling work schedules and homework. The running joke among my students is that if you have a life you don’t have time to be in drama. As the show got closer and pressure mounted, so too did the amount of time required. In the last three days before the performance on April 24th, the students worked 15 to 20 hours putting finishing touches on their performance. It paid off with an outstanding performance at both the Regional and Provincial Festivals.
On May 14th the group was also awarded a Youth Performing Arts Group Recognition award for their outstanding work at the Focus On Youth Awards held by the City of Mount Pearl at the Reid Center. It was an honor to be recognized and the students felt very appreciated by their community.
The Eastern School District Regional High School Drama Festival, April 21-24, 2009. Reid Theater, Memorial University
- BEST PLAY 2009
- FOR EXCELLENCE IN SOUND: Jordan Elliott
The Provincial High School Drama Festival, May 7-9, 2009. Arts & Culture Centre, Gander, Newfoundland
- FOR EXCELLENCE IN ACTING: Chris McCarthy, Jordan Thorne & Adam Foote
- FOR EXCELLENCE IN PROPS: Nick McNeil & Chelsey-Jane Clarke
Host/Referee – Dylan Mason
Hamlette – Stephanie Schwartz
Hamlette Understudy/”Prop Girl” – Heather Philpott
Bernardo/Game Show Host – Mark Wakeham
Francisco/King Claudius – Adam Budgell
Horatio – Jordan Thorne
Ghost – Joe English
Queen/King – Chris McCarthy
Laertes – Marc Lewis
Polonius – Adam Foote
Ophelia – Melissa Atkinson
“Prop Man” – Nick McNeil
“Scantily Clad Women” – Susan Mallard & Chelsey-Jane Clark
Stage Manager – Susan Mallard
Lighting – Brandon Parsons
Sound – Jordan Elliott
Prop Construction – Chelsey-Jane Clark
Costumes – Heather Philpott & Chelsey Jane Clarke
Director – Louise Kearley
Our heartfelt thanks go out to those who helped us with this production: Gonzo Bennett, Lillian Bussey, Marie Sharpe, The Arts & Culture Center, Mike O’Brien & Brittany Milmore