For Immediate Release - Feb 18, 2014


Students of the joint Sheridan-UTM Theatre and Drama Studies Program – under the banner of the UTM Drama Club – have again taken major prizes in the U of T Drama Festival. The Festival took place during the past week from February 12th to 15th in historic Hart House Theatre on the St. George campus of the University of Toronto. Over the four nights, eleven original one-act plays from multiple colleges representing a student body of over 60,000 on three campuses were entered in competition.

The festival Adjudicator this year was Matt White, Producer of Necessary Angel Theatre Company, director of Hart House Theatre’s Bone Cage earlier this season, and both a graduate and a faculty member of the Theatre and Drama Studies Program. Laura McCallum (third year TDS) and Davin Allan are the UTM representatives for the UofT Drama Coalition.

The festival had opened Wednesday with Madeleine Brown’s Some Counterspace, directed by McCallum, with a mixed cast of fourth and first year TDS students, and a first year Stage Manager, Gregory Guzik. Brown is currently in Theatre Erindale’s production of The Witlings.

Nathaniel Kinghan (second year TDS) received an Award of Merit from the adjudicator for “The Play I Most Want to See Fleshed Out for SummerWorks.” Friday festival performances began with Kinghan’s Mrs. Mama’s House, directed by Larissa Crawley, with Kyra Weichert in the title role amid a mixed cast and crew of first and second-year TDS students with one lone fourth year (Victor Pokinko). The director describes the play as a “twisted take on the old woman who lived in a shoe … full of deliberately bad grammar, verbal ticks and rhyme schemes to no end. There is nothing more absurd than real life …” Kinghan had just finished co-directing the UTM Drama Club’s acclaimed production of The Tempest in the MiST Theatre.

For once the President’s Award for Best Production did not go to the UTM Drama Club, but to the Trinity College Dramatic Society for The Broadleaf Plays. The Wednesday night production was written and directed by Kevin Wong and Nathaniel Rose, who spent a successful year in TDS before transferring to the downtown campus for personal reasons. Rose had a second show in the festival as well: They Just Didn’t See for the Victoria College Drama Society on Saturday.

But the big award-winner on Saturday night was Nicholas Potter’s play Pur.Gat.Ory, directed by Megan O’Kelly (both fourth year). The show featured four characters in a subway station, “stuck in a limbo between where you have been and where you want to go” in the words of the director. The cast included TDS-ers Brian Postalian, Olivia Orton, and Jack Comerford, while Bryn Kennedy and Alessa Dufresne were on lights and sound. Alex Spyropoulos (fourth year) won the Donald Sutherland Award for Best Performance for her portrayal of a feisty homeless woman, while the Robertson Davies Playwriting Award went to Potter for “the highest level of creativity, development and clarity of vision in an original play.”

Congratulations once again to all of the winners and participants! They keep the Sheridan-UTM Theatre and Drama Studies flag flying high in the world beyond our doorsteps.