Student Journalism Spotlight:
Break a Leg! 
Months of Preparations Culminate at DramaFest

By Katrina Davis 
Grade 12 Student,
Brantford Collegiate Institute and Vocational School

THURSDAY, MAR. 21, 2024


or students involved in the dramatic arts, the month of March is the culminating point of a year’s worth of planning, building, rehearsing and refining their shows. March is not only the time for school drama clubs' initial public shows, but the month ends with an ultimate performance at the annual NTS District Festival

Above: The Scarlet Heart is one of the Grand Erie productions taking the stage this month.

At Brantford Collegiate Institute and Vocational School (BCI), the NTS Drama Club runs from the fall until the spring, with the entire cast and crew attending rehearsals every Tuesday and Thursday. The club works together to prepare a production of up to 50 minutes in length to be performed in front of public audiences. For months, the cast and crew dedicate themselves to running through scenes, constructing set pieces, crafting props, coordinating stage crew, and ensuring that every member of the group feels confident in their role while performing. The Drama Club is always encouraging new people to get involved, no matter your grade or level of experience. 

Not only does the club help develop and shape creative skills, but the relationships formed and memories made contribute to an unforgettable extra-curricular experience. Alongside staff advisors at BCI, Ms. Lynas and Mr. St. Denis, many leadership roles are left to students, including the essential roles of director and stage manager. One of this year’s co-directors and long-time NTS participant, Danny Schuyler, commented on how NTS has shaped his high school experience. 

"NTS creates a unique space at BCI where we can do things we love, make amazing friendships, and learn so much about theatre and ourselves."

Danny Shuyler


“NTS creates a unique space at BCI where we can do things we love, make amazing friendships, and learn so much about theatre and ourselves," said Schuyler. "I would not be the person I am today if I didn’t join NTS.” 

This year’s chosen play was The Scarlet Heart. The show debuted on Friday, March 1, and later that night, the cast and crew put on the performance of a lifetime during the first public show. Closing night followed on Saturday, March 2, and among many feelings of joy and excitement, one feeling shone through among all club members: pride. 

Actor Kanerahtaien Doxtador-Swamp was feeling accomplished after closing night, and likens the experience of live theatre to audiences falling in love.  

“Sometimes it can feel exhausting, but when you stick with it and stay committed, the payoff is so fantastic," said Doxtador-Swamp. "Specifically for me in my role as Capitano, I imagine someone out there, deep down, has a crush on me, and when they see that performance, I just know the crush deepened.” 

Above: BCI students take to the stage in The Scarlet Heart.

Performers will take the stage once more during the NTS District Festival, taking place in the BCI auditorium from March 26 – 28. Shows start at 6 p.m., and tickets are available at the door. During the Festival, schools from across the district will bring their productions to the BCI stage to then be evaluated by a community adjudicator. Winners of the District Festival will then move on to the next level of the National Theatre School’s DramaFest. 

DramaFest (formerly known as the Sears Drama Festival) is a nation-wide competition which encourages theatrical expression in secondary school youth, and has been ongoing for nearly 80 years, continuing to showcase the hard work put into productions at high schools across the country. Congratulations to all NTS members for your accomplishments this year, and as the Festival approaches… break a leg!


Student-Journalism-Katrina-Davis300px.jpgAbout the author: 

Katrina Davis is a Grade 12 student at BCI. She's involved in all areas of her school community, and is not only portraying a lead role in her school’s production, The Scarlet Heart, but has also taken on the role of Festival Stage Manager for this year’s DramaFest District Festival. In the future, Katrina hopes to continue to pursue leadership roles while showcasing her creativity.