Soraya Paige and Kingston Hutchinson perform in the Mowat school play Almost, Maine

By Shelley Cooke

I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of Theatre Mowat’s performance, Almost, Maine, which ran from November 29 to December 1. It was directed by Robin Morton, who has been teaching drama at Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute since 1998.

The cast was made up of 22 students from Grades 9 to12. While some are current drama students, others had never been on a stage before. The production also included the tireless efforts of 20 students on stage crew and running crew, as well as several staff and students who worked behind the scenes designing the set, operating the sounds and lights, and running the front of house on performance nights.

The play contained a series of scenes all set in the fictional town of Almost. Each scene was similar in that they focused on love, loss and hope, as well as the power of friendship. The play was carefully chosen by the director because of its rich character development, which showcased the strengths of the actors. It also gave the students who had speaking roles an equal amount of time to be on stage.

People often underestimate the amount of time it takes to produce a school play. Mrs. Morton ran her auditions the second week of September, and started rehearsals on September 18, giving them 10 weeks to prepare before opening night.

The feedback the students received on their performance nights was very positive; each night was a huge success! The audiences, filled with proud parents, friends and community members, were highly impressed with the excellent acting skills of the cast, and the organization and talent of the staff and students behind the scenes. 

You can see more student talent on February 27, when Theatre Mowat will be hosting the National Theatre School (NTS) Dramafest in the Mowat Auditorium. Two student-written plays will be performed: Camp Cyprus by Alina Habtian and The Happy Ending by Alishya Penney.

Theatre Mowat has won several awards in past NTS Dramafest competitions. Mrs. Morton’s proudest achievement as a drama teacher was when they won the Janet Bessey Stage Manager Award three years in a row at the Toronto Regionals. We wish them lots of luck this year! 

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