by Mandy Rumbolt, Membership Coordinator
Aeolian Hall was buzzing with excitement as the Theatre Ontario Festival's first guests started to fill up the room. The Festival Committee had gone all out: the room was beautiful, the food was tasty and plentiful, and everyone felt more than welcome. There was a great turnout for the Opening Reception, and the whole province was well represented... and ready to celebrate!
Before rushing off to the theatre to put on her "Producer's hat" for the opening night show, Breaking the Code, Western Ontario Drama League President Michelle Spanik gave the evening's first speech and welcomed the crowd. The Festival Chairs Sue Perkins and Bill Meaden shared their welcoming words before Theatre Ontario's Vice-President of the Board Anne Mooney introduced the Mayor's Representative - Comptroller Gina Barber - who spoke passionately about the City of London's commitment to the arts. John Goddard, Executive Director of Theatre Ontario, took the stage next to remind everyone that we are to have fun! And then the London Community Players' President welcomed us into their home, The Palace Theatre, before the festival chairs declared the Festival officially begun!
Theatre Burlington's production of Hugh Whitemore's Breaking The Code. Based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, Breaking The Code follows British mathematician Alan Turing's life through his work as a codebreaker during WWII to his prosecution for homosexual activity. This was a dramatic start to what promises to be a great lineup of shows this week.
Festival Adjudicators Theresa Sears and David Switzer gave a public adjudication that echoed the audience's enthusiasm for the production, and they gave special mention to Graham Clements' performance in the lead role, Tom Mackan's direction, and the show's brave lighting choices. Afterwards, the Encore Party at the Palace Theatre kept the crowd celebrating into the night!
For more information about the Festival, please visit the Theatre Ontario website.