Theatre Sarnia wins at WODL Festival in Woodstock

Best Festival Production
March 21st, 2016

The cast and crew of the Theatre Sarnia production of 33 Variations came home from the Western Ontario Drama League Festival with several awards, including best production. The show is set to compete at Theatre Ontario in May. Handout/Sarnia Observer/Postmedia Network

Theatre Sarnia's 33 Variations came home a winner from the Western Ontario Drama League festival in Woodstock.It was named best production, and picked up several other awards, at the week-long festival held over spring break in Woodstock. It also earned a trip to the provincial Theatre Ontario festival being held in May in North Bay.

Stage manager Paul Richardson said the cast and crew were very excited about how well they did in Woodstock.“They're really over the moon, to tell you the truth,” he added.“This is only about the fourth time in our history that we've gone on to Theatre Ontario.”Although, he said, last year's Theatre Sarnia festival production of The Clean House also made it to the provincial community theatre competition.“The only problem we have now is getting ourselves organized, getting funds together to pay for the truck, and accommodations and the transport,” Richardson said. Theatre Sarnia will be seeking donations to help with those costs to send the production to Theatre Ontario, where it is set to be one of four regional winners competing for provincial honours.“We're very hopeful we'll do well,” Richardson said.

As well as best production at the Western Ontario Drama League Festival, 33 Variations received awards for best coordinated production, outstanding technical achievement for set design, a best actress award for Audrey Hummelin, a best supporting actor award for Shane Davis, and other honours.Director Henri Canino received an outstanding direction prize.“I really feel the cast and crew did their best this week,” Canino said on the weekend.“My performers just went for it, they put it all on the line.”Theatre Sarnia's production stars Hummelin as musicologist Dr. Katherine Brandt; Trevor Morris as Beethoven; Davis as Anton Schindler; Claire Ross as Clara Brandt; Darryl Heater as Mike Clark; Ralph D'Allesandro as Anton Diabelli; Andrea Hughes Coleman as Dr. Ladenburger; and Dan Sonier as the pianist.

The Sarnia production of the Tony-nominated play had a run at the Imperial Theatre in January and February, and an encore production there this month before heading to the festival in Woodstock.The cast and crew spent approximately three months in rehearsals, and began setting up the show at 7 a.m. on the day of the festival production in Woodstock.Work to take down and load up the set after the performance wasn't finished until approximately 1 a.m., Richardson said.“Sometimes, after working 18-hour days, you say, 'Am I out of my mind?'“But, when you get a standing ovation from the audience, it's worth all that,” he said.

 Courtesy Paul Morden/Sarnia Observer



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