The past few weeks have been busy for Ms. Clancy’s grade 12 drama class at St. Theresa’s Catholic High School in Midland as they prepare for their Sears Festival performance. The purpose of Sears Festival is to showcase the talent of high school students and their teachers.
During their grade 11 year, classmates voted for their peer Maddie D. to be their director for Sears Festival. Maddie began meeting with Ms. Clancy to discuss what they wanted to happen the following year, and what type of play they wanted to create. Traditionally, a completed script is chosen by the director to highlight their classmate’s skills, but Maddie took a different approach: “This year, I decided to create an anthology. Throughout grade 9, 10 and 11 drama, we have explored many different dramatic techniques including scripted scenes, choral speaking, creative movement and tableau. Each style of drama offers something different to the audience. I am excited to showcase the many styles of drama we have been developing since grade 9.”
The enthusiastic cast and crew of TRUE!
Maddie began creating TRUE in February of 2016 and worked on it with little help until drama class began. On the first day the students jumped into action. Maddie gave an overall outline of what she hoped the script would be about and a brief description of the characters. The next day, auditions started for lead roles and scenes were written. It took about a week for the entire play to be written, edited and reconstructed. During all of this each student had a behind the scenes job to accomplish. Some had to design costumes, others were in charge of set and props and a few students worked on promoting their performance by creating posters and commercials to show around the school.
In just under three weeks, the play was finished and the cast was ready to perform. On March 1st, a public performance was put on in the school auditorium. Admission was two dollars and all money raised helped pay for transportation to the festival. Tech runs took place throughout the school day, and at 8 p.m. Ms. Clancy came onto the stage to introduce TRUE and the show began. It was an amazing night – the students were excited to show their friends and family the performance they all worked so hard to create. The show ran smoothly and the cast was finally prepared to take on Sears Festival at Georgian College.
The next day, the cast met at lunch to hop onto a bus that would transport them to the Georgian Theatre. When they arrived they had a two hour tech run and a performance at 5 p.m. The tech run ran smoothly and the students began feeling more comfortable on the new stage. A member of the cast, Christina F. commented, “It was a very different experience and it was nice to perform in a place other than our school gym and drama room.” That night there were only two other high schools performing, but St. Theresa’s went first. The show was great and the students felt confident. They enjoyed the other two performances and then heard what the adjudicators had to say. (There were three judges in the audience who had been watching all of the high schools perform throughout the week, and they would decide which three schools moved on to regionals.)
The awards ceremony was on Saturday, March 4th, and six students from the cast traveled back to Barrie to attend. Maddie D. won an Award of Excellence for directing and Christina F. won a Merit Award for her use of creative movement within the show. When it came time to announce the three schools moving on to Regionals, everyone was on the edge of their seat. Then it was finally confirmed St. Theresa’s Catholic High School was moving onto perform against fourteen new schools in Cambridge in April. Cast member Julia A. described the awards ceremony as exciting and “I was almost crying as we went up.” Those students who couldn’t attend the awards show were just as thrilled – cast member Zelia L. said she was “at work freaking out and jumping up and down” when she heard the news.
Overall, the students had an amazing experience constructing and performing the show and they are excited to perform it again in early April in Cambridge. If the class does well they will have the opportunity to travel to Chatham for Provincials. When asked how to explain the process and overall feeling of Sears Festival the cast was enthusiastic and happy to share. Jaime H. exclaimed “The only words I can use to describe this experience would be pure bliss. From writing the script to actually finding out we were moving on to Regionals, this whole experience has just been one high after another. This is definitely one of the moments in my high school career that I will look back at many years from now and still remember the rush of performing surrounded by friends.” Best of luck to the St. Theresa’s drama class as they set off for Regionals and may they all have a wonderful experience and continue to grow as actors, students and friends.