By Garrett and Ryan Allardyce
The National Theatre School Drama Festival Ontario (formerly known as the Sears Ontario Drama Festival) is a province-wide competition that runs from the end of February to the middle of May. Founded in 1946 by the late Ken Watts, the festival has been running continuously for 73 years and now receives roughly 350 entries annually from high schools across Ontario. Participating schools prepare and present a theatrical performance ranging from 15 to 50 minutes in length. These productions are often student-directed and sometimes even student-written.
Each school performs first at the District level of the competition, where their play is judged by an experienced drama professional. Selected schools advance to the Regional level and, if successful, perform in the Ontario Showcase. Various awards are handed out at each level of adjudication, including individual performance, ensemble acting, technical achievement, stage management, directing and more.
On Tuesday, February 26, students at Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute performed their entry into the festival at the Mowat school auditorium, alongside Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute and Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute. Mowat’s entry was a rendition of the play FOMO by Suhayla El-Bushra, a young British author who has written extensively for the stage and television. Mowat’s production was co-directed by drama teacher Mrs. Robin Andrews Morton and Grade 12 student Reese Barrow.
FOMO follows a group of high school students and takes place almost exclusively through messaging, cell phones and different forms of social media. The show explores the extent to which teenagers are invested in and reliant on their phones and social media, and highlights that what is posted online rarely depicts real life. The play’s characters are extremely invested in the lives of their peers, obsessively needing to know all of the details due to their Fear Of Missing Out, otherwise known as “FOMO”. It is only after the internet is turned off by the government that the truth starts to be revealed.
We are happy to report that Mowat did not disappoint, thanks to the incredible talent of the cast and the crew who worked on this show. From the intriguing set to the excellent direction, it was a performance that was truly enjoyable for all.
Great job again at this year’s festival, Mowat! Thank you for such an amazing show.