Sears Ontario Drama Festival Celebrates 65 Years of Student Theatre

TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ - This year marks 65 years of outstanding student theatre in Ontario. The Sears Ontario Drama Festival will hold its annual Provincial Showcase in Toronto from Wednesday, May 11 to Saturday, May 14, at Hart House Theatre.  During the four days 12 outstanding productions from schools across the province will be presented. These represent two plays from each of 6 regions.

What began in Toronto as a three play student "fiesta" in 1946, has evolved into one of the longest running cultural traditions in Canada and one of the largest student festivals in the world. The Sears Ontario Drama Festival draws the participation of approximately 12,000 students and their teachers, representing around 350 schools throughout Ontario.

Director, actor and teacher André Perrier will adjudicate the Ontario Provincial Festival, giving feedback and continuing the learning experience for all. Students will also participate in a full program of workshops, panels and arts related activities.

A special Gala Reception and fund raiser will celebrate Festival alumni on May 13 at Hart House. One of the special events will be a silent auction raising funds to support the Ken and Ann Watts Memorial Scholarship Foundation. The Foundation awards students with bursaries and scholarships ranging from $500 to $3,000.  These funds assist students to continue their studies in the performing arts.

Past alumni of the Festival in the performing arts include: David Cronenberg, Franco Boni, Anthony Cimolino,  Juan Chioran, Sky Gilbert, Caissee Levy, Margot Kidder, Rachel McAdams, Helen Shaver, Sonja Smits, Jacob James, Erin Shields, Natasha Mytnowych, Leslie Lester, R.H.Thomson, Brad Wright, Lynda Hill and Andrew Lamb.

In 2009, a sister Festival was inaugurated: the Sears British Columbia Drama Festival, following a similar mission and format as the Ontario version and serving the interests of secondary school thespians on the west coast. It will be held May 5 to 8 at Douglas College in New Westminster.

This year Sears introduced the Sears Atlantic Canada Drama Festival and the inaugural Showcase will be held at The Montgomery Theatre in North Rustico, Prince Edward Island from May 19 to 22.

For ticket and schedule information, log on to www.searsdramafestival.com or U of T Tix at www.uofttix.ca, or call (416) 978-8849.  Shows start at 7pm at Hart House Theatre.

Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network that includes 196 corporate stores, 268 hometown dealer stores, 33 home improvement showrooms, over 1,800 catalogue merchandise pick-up locations, 108 Sears Travel offices and a nationwide home maintenance, repair, and installation network. The Company also publishes Canada's most extensive general merchandise catalogue and offers shopping online at www.sears.ca.

SOURCE Sears Canada Inc.

For further information:

Wayne Fairhead, Executive Director
Email: wombat@interlog.com


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