Theatre Ontario is delighted to award the 2012 Michael Spence Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Sears Ontario Drama Festival to Marty Southcott of Ottawa, formerly of North Bay. The award is presented by Theatre Ontario on the recommendation of the Sears Drama Festival to honour an individual for his/her sustained contribution, generosity of spirit, and legendary commitment to educational theatre in Ontario.
Marty Southcott started working in high school theatre in 1963. By 1975, she had formed The Company at Widdifield Secondary School, and began 25 years of participation in Sears Festival, winning countless Outstanding Production Awards at all levels of competition. In 1987, she formed TOROS (Theatre Out Reach On Stage), her own summer theatre program for students which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Her student productions have travelled to theatres in the United States, England and New Zealand. Dozens of her students went on to professional careers as performers; and she inspired many others to go into the field of teaching performance arts. She made a point of casting students who she felt would benefit from the self-confident boost of being on stage.
“Dozens more performing arts teachers, who teach all over the world are continuing her principals, traditions and pedagogy,” said Wayne Fairhead, Executive Director of the Sears Ontario Drama Festival. “This is her true legacy!”
“It is a wonderful opportunity to have the honour of presenting Theatre Ontario’s Michael Spence Award,” said Carol Beauchamp, Executive Director of Theatre Ontario. “Recipients like Marty have made unselfish contributions to the Sears Drama Festival.”
The Michael Spence Award will be presented at the Sears Festival Provincial Showcase on May 12 in North Bay. Since 1997, Michael Spence Awards have been presented every five years, on the quinquennial anniversaries of Theatre Ontario, and honour legendary contributions to educational theatre in Ontario through the Sears Drama Festival. The awards are named after Michael Spence, the founding President of Theatre Ontario. Michael was active in community theatre at Hart House Theatre, London Little Theatre, and the University Alumnae Dramatic Club (now known as Alumnae Theatre.) He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Dominion Drama Festival, a past President of Arts Etobicoke, and he continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of Theatre Ontario. For more information about Theatre Ontario's Michael Spence Award for Contribution to the Sears Ontario Drama Festival, please visit the Theatre Ontario website.