Written by Emily Thouless, Student Journalist
Students at St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School in Barrie have always had great school spirit, but this year, they proved that they are equally great at drama at this year’s Sears Drama Festival! The annual festival, which is entering its 72nd year, provides a showcase for high school students across the province to demonstrate their drama prowess.
St. Peter’s has embraced the opportunity to enter the competition every year since 2004, and this year’s entry was no exception. This year’s performance was a comedic entry entitled “Anne-Arky”, a funny play about a group of high school drama students on the opening night of the classic school play, Anne of Green Gables. However, when word gets out that a surprise agent is going to be in the audience, things go crazy - everyone in the play creates their own maniacal drama on and off the stage that leads to some truly hilarious consequences.
The success of this year's play is a direct result of nine months of preparation and practice. Last June former drama student Thomas W., was given the opportunity to direct this year's Sears Drama Festival performance. Although he had never directed before, he has always been a big part of the dramatic arts scene at St Peter's. All he needed to do was choose a suitable stage production and receive the green light from St Peter’s drama teacher, Ms. McDonald, and he was ready to get started! When speaking of this experience the new director said, “Directing is a very different experience from being onstage. There is definitely a large divide from being directed and directing, but it was certainly a great experience.”
Students in this year’s performance were equally excited about the production, with many returning faces eager to get the scripts in their hands. When asked what their favourite part of the production was, many said it was simply getting the part. Others enjoyed the added nervousness when they were about to compete, and finally, some people stated that there were no words to explain how life changing it was to be part of theatrical production. Grade 11 and 12 students Kate and Shelley, who are best friends on and off stage, had a lot to say about their experience in this year’s production. Kate said “Sears has always been a lot of fun in the past, and I couldn’t graduate without being part of it one more time.” Shelley agreed, saying that “... I saw the atmosphere the festival created and I had to be part of it.” Both agreed that being part of the cast and crew, was like being part of one big, crazy family.
Everyone agreed that this year's performance was phenomenal, perhaps even topping last year's exciting cowboy dramedy for the same festival. The lucky students who bought tickets to see the show were laughing for all the right reasons and everyone left the show with smiles on their faces. Not only that, but the following Saturday, cast members were proud to announce that they won three awards for their performance in the final competition in Gravenhurst. This included the merit award for best directing, awarded to Thomas W., the award of excellence for comedic acting, awarded to Maxwell F., and of course the Don Mcfadyen Award for the school that best represents the spirit of the Sears Drama Festival. This year’s festival was full of excitement, inside and out, which isn’t surprising coming from a school notorious for their school spirit, and dramatic expertise.