Saturday, 18 May 2019

ONstage Tonight at Festival: Theatre Sarnia

Theatre Sarnia's production of Girls Like That
Our Festival’s closing performances comes from the Western Ontario Drama League, as Theatre Sarnia presents Evan Placey’s Girls Like That. This marks Theatre Sarnia’s first return to Festival since 2016 in North Bay, when they presented 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman.

The Drama Club of Sarnia was created in 1927 and grew under the leadership of Herman Voaden, Dr. R.K.Stratford, and D. Park Jamieson. After many years as the Sarnia Little Theatre, the organization is now known as Theatre Sarnia and is one of the oldest continuously operating theatre groups in Canada. Over the years, the group has hosted successful theatre festivals including the Dominion Drama Festival, the Theatre Ontario Festival, the Western Ontario Drama League Theatre Festival, and WODL Mini-Fest. Theatre Sarnia graduates have gone on to careers in various fields of the theatrical community and entertainment industry. Theatre Sarnia is also one of the few community groups to own their own theatre. The Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia originally opened as the Capitol Theatre on New Year's Eve 1936. It closed 52 years later and was left abandoned; however, Theatre Sarnia members and many volunteers accomplished the transformation of the movie house to a live theatre venue.

Girls Like That is an explosive play staring seven young women that explores the evolution of feminist consciousness and modern female friendships in the wake of advancing technology. It examines mob mentality, sexual insecurity, double-standards, and the struggle to define oneself in a crowd. The plot follows one class of girls, part of a prestigious school that takes only 20 students a year, guaranteeing they will remain in the same class from kindergarten to graduation. Jumping back and forth in time, the audience sees how societal pressures and expectations creep in and affect the dynamics of this group starting at their first meeting at five-years-old. As they near graduation, a naked photo of one of them gets sent around to the entire school and the other six girls explore what this means to their group, and themselves.

At WODL Festival 2019 in Guelph, Theatre Sarnia won the D. Park Jamieson Memorial Award for Best Production in Festival, Outstanding Direction (Henri Canino), Outstanding Ensemble Work, Outstanding Technical Achievement, Best Visual Production, Best Coordinated Production, and Adjudicator’s Awards for Sound Design (Henri Canino), Choreography (Jackie Burns), and Projection Design (Ian Alexander). In the WODL In and Out of Festival Awards it won Best Set Design and Execution (Henri Canino and Paul Baert) and Adjudicator’s Awards for Effective Scene Transitions and Special Theatre Effects (Ian Alexander, Projections) and nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Juvenile (Emma Van Barneveld and Chloe Brescia), Sound Design and Execution (Henri Canino), Lighting Design and Execution (Catherine Souliere), and Adjudicator’s Awards for Innovation in Stage Movement (choral work and choreography).

Learn more about Theatre Ontario Festival 2019

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