Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Training a New Generation of Adjudicators

By Anne Mooney, Community Theatre Coordinator

The community theatre adjudication season has begun.  Adjudicators are travelling the province choosing the productions which will ultimately represent their regions at the Theatre Ontario Festival 2014, to be held in Sarnia from May 14 to 18.

This year, you might want to add to your theatrical experience by attending a trial adjudication.  For the third time in recent years, Theatre Ontario held the Introduction to Adjudication course for people interested in the art of adjudication.  While not everyone “graduates” or choose to pursue adjudication further, seven new adjudicators applied and were accepted to the Theatre Ontario Talent Bank after the first two courses.  The most recent course took place last year at the Western Ontario Drama League Festival in Guelph, and was five days of intensive study and practice with the highly respected adjudicator, Ron Cameron-Lewis.

As part of their training, each “trial adjudicator” has the chance to work with a community theatre company and present a public and detailed adjudication after one of the theatre’s regular performances.  The trial adjudicator benefits from the practice and from the input of an adjudicator mentor and the theatre company.  The company benefits from the chance to get feedback from an adjudicator and the audience benefits from hearing more about the production they just viewed.  Boards of the regional theatre groups, and in particular Adjudication Chairs, are invited to attend to get the chance to see these potential adjudicators in action.

There are nine participants who are in the process of having trial adjudications.  Several adjudications have been completed: Heiner Piller adjudicated a performance of The Odd Couple—Female Version produced by Mississauga Players in June, and Rita Huschka worked with the cast and crew of Theatre Woodstock’s production of Arsenic and Old Lace.  Thank you to all the groups who have opened their productions to the trial adjudication process.

Deanna Clatworthy adjudicated 1-900-DEE-LITE at Aylmer Community Theatre.  “Having Deanna provide a trial adjudication was an absolute pleasure,” said Sandy Loponen, the first-time director of 1-900-DEE-LITE.  “The cast and crew gained an objective, third-party assessment of the show from someone who had really done their homework.  Deanna keenly observed the production, and came well-prepared with questions regarding characters and the production’s design.  In turn, we felt that we were able to give Deanna some practice at providing an adjudication to improve her process.  By providing this experience, we are supporting Theatre Ontario’s ability to train professionals who will encourage community theatre groups to continue to meet high standards in production value.”

Sandy Macdonald and Deanna Clatworthy meet
following her trial adjudication.
Sandy Macdonald served as the mentor at Aylmer Community Theatre.  “Increasing the number of adjudicators will be of great benefit to regions and groups,” Sandy said.  “The trial adjudication program is an excellent way to facilitate increasing the numbers.  I am pleased to be part of the process.”

I am working with other Theatre Ontario community theatre members to provide more trial adjuducations.  If your group is interested in having a trial adjudication please contact me at anne@theatreontario.org

Tentative adjudications are set for Colin Legge at Elmira Theatre Company on November 28 for Having Hope at Home and for Carey Nicholson at Northumberland Players in Cobourg on December 7 for It’s a Wonderful Life.  I hope to see you there!

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