playhouse offers summer drama opportunities for youth
Mark Harapiak and Blyth Wilson, of Drayton Entertainment, are shown here teaching a group of youth. The award-winning not-for-profit theatre company has been steadily growing its training offerings for young performers over the past several years. (Submitted photo)
Drayton Entertainment is pleased to announce auditions for its upcoming Youth Musical Theatre Programs (YMTP) and Children’s Chorus opportunities in four regions across the province. The award-winning not-for-profit theatre company has been steadily growing its training offerings for young performers over the past several years including launching the now popular YMTP, which will return for a fourth year.
“We are consistently astounded by the talent and passion we’ve seen from aspiring young artists across the province. As a professional company, we feel a responsibility to develop the artists of tomorrow,” said Alex Mustakas, Artistic director of Drayton Entertainment. “Our Youth Musical Theatre Program sessions and Children’s Chorus opportunities help to prepare young talent for future success and give them an inside glimpse into industry expectations.”
Auditions will be held in three communities in February starting in Grand Bend on Feb. 2, followed by Feb. 3 in Cambridge and Feb. 9 in Penetanguishene. These auditions will be used to determine participants for various opportunities including the YMTP and Children’s Choruses for “Annie” and “Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto”. Young performers must sign up in advance.
The YMTP is designed to cultivate community and collaboration, ignite imagination, boost confidence and develop a deeper appreciation for live performance. Guided by passionate theatre professionals, participants study aspects of singing, dancing, acting and technical theatre while meeting new friends with similar interests.
2019 offerings include week-long training sessions in Cambridge (Aug. 26-30 for ages eight to 12 and ages 13-18) and Penetanguishene (July 22-26 for ages nine to 17). There is a special program in Grand Bend that offers participants ages nine to 15 the opportunity to hone their skills with industry professionals during the training week and then put those skills to the test performing in two rotating teams in “Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto”, alongside professional performers in the lead roles. Youth performers cast in the Grand Bend program must be available for the training week from July 29 to Aug. 3 and performances from Aug. 5-31.
Two years ago, Drayton Entertainment expanded the YMTP to offer a more comprehensive option; the Pre-Professional Production Program gives teen performers hands-on insight into how a musical is cast, rehearsed and performed while they work with a professional creative team to create a concert version of a musical culminating in a performance. The 2019 Pre-Professional Production is “Legally Blonde Jr.”, a musical based on the popular movie starring Reese Witherspoon. This two-week session will take place in St. Jacobs from Aug. 12-23 for ages 13-18. Associate Artistic Director David Connolly will direct and choreograph the production. Connolly’s impressive résumé includes work on major musicals across the country and numerous Drayton Entertainment productions like “Hairspray”, “Mamma Mia!” and the popular Panto productions.
More information about the YMTP, including tuition costs and audition requirements, is available at www.youthmusicaltheatreprogram.com.
The Children’s Chorus Program offers young performers the opportunity to audition for child ensemble roles in the company’s family Panto productions and select musicals alongside professional performers in the lead roles. In the Penetanguishene area, young performers ages nine to 15 may audition for children's chorus roles in “Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto”, which will be on stage at King’s Wharf Theatre from June 5-22. Youth cast in the production will be divided into teams and will perform in the show on a rotating schedule. Auditions will be held on Feb. 9.
In the Waterloo Region and Wellington County area, young performers ages eight to 15 may audition for children's chorus roles in Annie, which will be on stage at Drayton Festival Theatre from June 5-30 and the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge from Oct. 2-27. Youth cast in the production will be divided into teams and will perform in the show on a rotating schedule. Auditions will be held on Sunday, Feb. 3.
More information about Children’s Chorus opportunities, including show dates and audition requirements, is available at www.draytonentertainment.com/youth-auditions.
Time to think about Spring tree planting in watershed
People aren’t necessarily thinking ‘spring’ at this time of the year but now is a good time to order trees for planting windbreaks or other reforestation projects, according to the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA).
Trees provide many benefits.
You add to a long legacy of tree planting in Ausable and Bayfield River watersheds by planting trees, said Ian Jean, Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist.
Financial incentives for tree planting are available. Jean encourages interested landowners to give him a call to find out more.
“We are happy to help with project design and to make it very easy to apply for funding,” he said. Funding programs and amounts vary depending on the type of project and the project location.
ABCA purchase trees from private nurseries to offer for sale to watershed residents. The purchase price includes costs such as transportation of trees to the administration centre east of Exeter, cold storage, and handling. Tree and shrub species that can be purchased include: White Cedar, White Pine, Norway Spruce, White Spruce, Blue Spruce, Tamarack, Silver Maple, Sugar Maple, Red Oak, Bur Oak, Black Walnut, Sycamore, Tulip Tree, Red Osier Dogwood, Staghorn Sumac, and Nannyberry. Trees must be ordered in multiples of ten. Trees bought through this program are for afforestation, windbreaks, erosion control and other stewardship projects, and not for landscaping. Tree order forms can be obtained online at abca.ca or by contacting the conservation authority at 519 235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.
ABCA thanks grant program funding partners including member municipalities, Huron County Clean Water Project, Forests Ontario, Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, and the Government of Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk.
Forests and tree planting have benefits for water, soil, air and human health. Trees remove carbon from the air and produce oxygen during photosynthesis. Long-term storage of carbon in living trees and wood products helps to mitigate global warming. This process, which involves trees absorbing air into their leaves, also acts to filter out many harmful pollutants from the air we breathe.
Windbreaks protect soils on farms from wind and water erosion and reduce wind stress on field crops. This improves yields. Windbreaks also benefit livestock operations by reducing stress on animals and reducing winter heating and summer cooling costs.
Tree planting programs in Ontario date back more than a century. An Ontario Government effort in 1883 encouraged planting of trees along roadways. Landowners received up to $0.25 per tree planted through the program.
“Farmers hand-dug trees from their woodlots for planting along roadsides,” said Jean. Many old Maple trees that line our rural roads today date back to that program.
Settlers cleared the land to grow food and pasture their livestock. Trees provided building materials and firewood for heating homes. Trees not only fueled fireplaces but also industrial brick kilns and salt brine boilers that consumed large amounts of local wood.
The landscape was mainly cleared of trees by the early 1900s. Wind erosion and water erosion became severe in many areas. Local and provincial leadership recognized the negative impact this was having on the landscape and waterways. In 1905 the first provincial tree nursery was established to provide trees for reforestation of marginal lands.
The Province of Ontario and municipalities established conservation authorities in the 1940s in large part to address local concerns such as flooding and soil erosion. Forest cover, as surveyed for the Ausable River Valley Report of 1949, was between six and eight per cent in local townships. Ontario landowners carried out a period of extensive tree planting during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
“Up to half a million trees were planted annually during peak years” by farmers and on conservation lands, according to Jean. “Local landowners have planted literally millions of trees since the 1960s.”
The result of this tree planting has been a doubling of forest cover since the 1940s. According to the most recent Ausable Bayfield Watershed Report Card, forest cover now averages 14 per cent across this watershed.
“Conserving and enhancing our forests is essential for maintaining the productivity of our landscape and for water quality,” said Jean.
Tree planting over the last decade has levelled off to between 40,000 and 70,000 trees annually. This is due to a variety of factors.
“The main factor is large areas of marginal land have already been planted or regrown naturally,” said Jean.
He stresses that tree planting remains important.
“There are many areas that would benefit from windbreaks and there remain marginal or unused areas where productive forest could be planted,” he concluded.
Think globally act locally is the mantra of conservation and environmental groups. Local groups such as Blue Bayfield and the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation have made a good start. But where do we find the Big Picture – a global view to inform local actions?
Enter the Anthropocene project, a Canadian director, producer and photographer who have traveled the world recording “us”, “humans” as the primary cause of permanent planetary change. Their work is based on the research of a group of scientists working together worldwide for the past 10 years to gather evidence to define this new geological era.
The most recent film, book and art collections by these three globally respected Canadians: Nicholas de Pencier, Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky were released this fall to cinemas, art galleries and internet bookshops. The film “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” is being shown for one night only, Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Park Theatre in Goderich, the first film in the Livery Film Series. A staff member from the Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation will be present for a Q&A following the film.
The Livery Film Series is organized by a small group of volunteers working as a sub-committee of the Livery Theatre in Goderich. The group subscribes to the regional extension program (Film Circuit) of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to offer one film per month on a not-for-profit basis. Other films to be shown this winter include: Colette, Feb. 7; If Beale Street Could Talk, March 21; and Wild Rose, Apr. 25.
The Huron/Bruce Chapter of Women’s March Canada, will be hosting a Women’s March on Jan. 19. All are invited to march for all women - against violence and oppression, for equality, reproductive rights, LGTBTQ2S+ rights, workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, civil rights, disability rights and environmental justice.
The event will be held from noon to 2 p.m. in Courthouse Park on The Square in Goderich. The day will begin with speeches from local women, discussing the issues faced by women across the country. This will be followed by a march around The Square. There will also be music provided by “Dames Rocket”.
Women’s March Canada focuses on issues such as income inequality, violence against women, missing and murdered indigenous women, reproductive rights and human rights.
Donations of feminine hygiene products for the Huron Women’s Shelter and local schools are being accepted and can be dropped off at designated bins during the event.
The Huron\Bruce Chapter will also be hosting a sign making event at the Goderich Library from 5:30-7:30 p.m. the night prior to the march, Jan. 18. Supplies will be provided but participants may also bring their own if they wish.
The Inaugural Women’s March took place on Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington D.C. and is widely considered to be the largest march in American history. The 2019 march will see participation all over Canada and around the world.
AlzhEimer's Awareness Movies
The Huron County Alzheimer’s Society (HCAS) will be hosting two movies in recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month at the Huron County Museum on Jan. 24 and 31.
Every year the HCAS selects movies for the January awareness month. They select them to start the conversation about dementia. The movies depict poignant stories and show that each family is unique; sometimes they aren’t perfect and some situations are less than ideal. They beg the questions: How would I react to the same situation? What can I take from their successes and their mistakes?
On Jan 24, “The Savages” will be shown at 2 p.m. followed by “What They Had” at 7 p.m. Then on Jan. 31 the schedule will be reversed with “What They Had” being shown at 2 p.m. followed by “The Savages” at 7 p.m.
“The Savages” premiered in 2007 and stars Laura Linney and Phillip Seymore Hoffman. It is a movie about a family grappling with the tough decisions surrounding a move to assisted living. Siblings Wendy and John and their father, Lenny Savage, are all smart, articulate and dramatic characters whose relationships are put to the test in this touching and sometimes humorous film. The value of independence and the importance of relationships - even in the most chaotic of families - keeps “The Savages” real.
“What They Had” debuted in 2018 and stars Hillary Swank and Michael Shannon. It is simultaneously a love story about Burt and Ruth and a story about their adult children, Bridget and Nick, all rising up to meet present responsibilities while forgiving past hurts. At the core of the plot is Burt and Ruth’s continuing deep love for each other. The movie’s title, “What They Had” refers to their enviable relationship and Bridget and Nick’s recognition that they have never – for better or worse – experienced a bond of the same depth in their own lives. As Ruth’s life changes due to dementia, her family supports her and each other with candor, wit and – at the end of the day - love.
These movies are free but donations to the Alzheimer’s Society would be appreciated. For more information call 519 482-1482.
Thursday Tunes-Seniors Dancing is back for 2019 running until May 23 at the Central Huron Community Centre. For the second consecutive year the program will be held in the Libro Hall in Clinton from 1-3:30 p.m.
All musicians, singers, dancers and spectators are most welcome. All seniors are welcome to join for some fun, friendship and even exercise. Admission is by donation.
For more information call 519 476-5922.
Would you rather...
Registration for Leave the Pack Behind’s wouldurather…contest is still open, but closes on Jan. 27 at 11:59 p.m. This contest gives Ontario young adults aged 18 to 29 the chance to win cash prizes if they quit smoking, cut back on their smoking, or stay smoke-free. Visit wouldurather.ca to sign up.