This year, Delhi District Secondary School (DDSS) took on the role of host school for the district level of the National Theatre School Drama Festival. This week-long festival included secondary school drama ensembles from throughout the Brant-Oxford-Haldimand-Norfolk region, and required some exciting training for the school’s Festival Crew to prepare.
“Our Festival Crew included eight Delhi students who spent a week at the beginning of March hosting schools at Theatre Tillsonburg,” explained Griffin Cobb, Principal at DDSS. “Each day, two different schools spent a day at the theatre where our team facilitated tech rehearsals and evening public performances for each play.”
It was a great learning opportunity for students to see the inner workings of the theatre itself, and to discover what goes into running a theatre festival at a professional level. It was also a valuable way for students to connect with students from other schools, all who share a passion for the theatre. They also had the chance to interact with different local theatre personnel and the facility’s adjudicator, who currently works for the Grand Theatre in London.
“It was cool to see the final product of the full productions, and you could really see how much work each school put into their plays to get them to where they were,” said Jayden Matthews, a senior DDSS student, who shared her experiences being part of the Festival Crew. “The award night had to be my favourite because everyone was just so excited to be there; it wasn’t even about the winning anymore, just the overall excitement of everyone involved.”
Festivals and events such as the yearly drama festival are supported by Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, both through the Community indicator, which formally integrates and celebrates the partners and professionals who contribute to students’ learning experiences, as well as through the Achievement indicator, which sets high expectations for students and staff, monitoring and reflecting on outcomes.
Not only did DDSS host this year’s festival, but the school continued its long-standing tradition of entering a play into the competition as well. This year’s play, Super Scary, was directed by Tomikah Morrell, a senior student at DDSS. Morrell worked hard for five months to choose the play, audition her peers, cast the roles, create the stage blocking, and run rehearsals with both actors and stage crew.
Reflecting on her experience, Tomikah shared: “I enjoyed directing the play because I was able to create my vision for costumes, set, and props. It was very rewarding to work with such an amazing cast that really brought the play to life. The experience exceeded my expectations of being a director. Interacting with the cast and the audience was a cool way to express my love for theatre!”
The cast was awarded for their comedic timing as an ensemble, and also brought home an award for the lighting design. Teacher Janine Pearson assisted the Crew, and is incredibly proud of the hard work the students put into both preparing the play and hosting this year’s district festival.