Canterbury High School grade 11 students are presenting another year of The Children’s Theatre Festival. It’s also the second that I have had the pleasure to attend. Being a child educator and a professional children’s performer myself I can appreciate the effort, creativity and enthusiasm put into these productions.
Out of the six productions five were written, as David Scott, one of the drama teachers put it “by students of years past.” Glenys Marshall, one of the grade 11 producers adds “We have a fantastic script library here”
According to Marshall, the plays selected provide entertainment for different age ranges “We have two plays for each age range, starting with four to six year-olds, six to eight year-olds and eight to ten year-olds.”
This year there is also an added emphasis on touring these shows. The students not only perform at the school but for two weeks they are traveling to various schools in the Ottawa area. Scott explains “We used to perform exclusively here (at the school) but then we decided to travel the shows. Most children’s performers must travel; rarely do they have a set theatre.”
When asked how does this affect the productions Scott compares this year’s production of William Wallaby and the Water Waster and one they did three years ago “Three years ago the entire set looked like it was all underwater, this year it’s as amazing and they just painted boxes instead of the whole floor and the whole room.” The added advantage to this is it also reduces their carbon footprint, saving both time and paint. Does this change the quality of the show? Scott doesn’t think so “Children’s imagination is the biggest part of it. You don’t need all the extras, you just need good engaging stories and good engaging actors.”
As I viewed some of the shows and talked to the volunteers I got a real sense of community. There is a real atmosphere of fun and festival. There are games for the children to play while they wait for the plays to start. Some tasty home-made treats to buy to support the school and you can even have your fortune told.
The event happens every year around this time and it’s free (they do ask for donations). If you have children or, like me, a childlike mind it is well worth the time to drop by and share in all the fun and entertainment.