Theatre Ontario is thrilled to announce that the 2017 Michael Spence Award for Contribution to Community Theatre will be presented to David Parry of Perth. This award is presented by Theatre Ontario from the nomination by Studio Theatre Productions, and on the recommendation of EODL, the Eastern Ontario Drama League.
The award honours individuals for sustained contribution to community theatre, generosity of spirit, involvement, and commitment to community theatre that is legendary within his/her region, helping community theatre flourish. David will receive his award on May 21 at the Theatre Ontario Festival Awards Brunch in Ottawa.
For almost four decades, David has pursued his passion for the theatre. His influence is felt across Eastern Ontario, primarily in the Ottawa region and especially in Perth. His list of engagements as actor and director numbers over 70 productions and, like many other devotees, he has been involved behind the scenes in countless more productions in every function. (“I even stage managed one play!”) He continues to work tirelessly to attract, mentor and motivate talented new actors and directors, and to enthusiastically attract thespians from other communities, believing that this enriches us all.
After arriving in Canada, he joined the Tara Players in Ottawa in 1979. For the next 37 years, he would be an integral part of that theatre company. Even after moving to Perth, he served on the Board of Directors for the last six years of Tara’s existence. In 2005, after making the move from Ottawa to Perth, he jumped in right away to the local theatre scene, directing for Smiths Falls Community Theatre. In 2009, he directed the first production of the new Studio Theatre Productions in Perth. He has served on their Board of Directors for several terms, and as Artistic Director since 2010.
He advocated for Studio Theatre Productions to become part of EODL, and they have now served as host for the EODL One-Act Festival three times in the past eight years. David has also served as an EODL representative for fifteen years, and was the EODL Awards Chair for two years.
“I was overwhelmed to learn that my peers at Studio Theatre Productions had nominated me for this prestigious award and subsequently to receive the approval of colleagues in EODL,” said David. “I have known and admired all of the previous recipients from the ranks of EODL and I am truly honoured to be included among them.”
The Michael Spence Award honours legendary contributions to community theatre in Ontario, and is 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.
Past recipients of the Michael Spence Award in the EODL region are Joan McRae, Arlene Watson, Beth McMaster, Margaret Shearman, and Joe O’Brien.