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Wednesday, 30 April 2014 14:37

Swift Current Little Theatre wins two awards at provincial festival

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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TheatreFest 2014 coordinator Rachel Wormsbecher speaks during the awards presentations that concluded the provincial long play festival in Swift Current, April 26. Standing next to her, at right, is fellow festival coordinator Ken Johnson, who also directed the Swift Current Little Theatre production Willow Road at the festival. A presentation was made to Wormsbecher and Johnson during the awards ceremony to acknowledge the efforts by members of Swift Current Little Theatre to host the week-long festival. TheatreFest 2014 coordinator Rachel Wormsbecher speaks during the awards presentations that concluded the provincial long play festival in Swift Current, April 26. Standing next to her, at right, is fellow festival coordinator Ken Johnson, who also directed the Swift Current Little Theatre production Willow Road at the festival. A presentation was made to Wormsbecher and Johnson during the awards ceremony to acknowledge the efforts by members of Swift Current Little Theatre to host the week-long festival.

Swift Current Little Theatre’s hosting of the longest running competitive long play festival in Canada ended on a high note when the community theatre group won awards in two categories.


Theatre Saskatchewan’s 80th long play festival, TheatreFest 2014, took place in Swift Current April 21-26 with a performance each night by theatre groups from Swift Current, Kyle, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Yorkton and Melfort.
Swift Current Little Theatre’s Ken Johnson and Rachel Wormsbecher were the festival co-ordinators and Johnson also directed the group’s production of the comedic drama Willow Road by local playwright Wendy Lockman.
“It went very well,” Johnson said about the festival. “We’re quite happy with what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished. The volunteers were outstanding. We again thank our members and our people for all the work they pitched in to. There were a lot of hours that went into this and from all indications it looks like it’s been a huge success.”
The awards presentation took place after the final performance on April 26 with Saskatchewan Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport Kevin Doherty in attendance.
Swift Current Little Theatre received the William Hubbard Memorial Plaque for Excellence or Meritorious Enterprise as well as the CTV Trophy for best visual presentation.
“It’s always nice when you get some sort of accolades for what you’ve done,” Johnson said.
He added there is always an expectation from participants to win awards at the provincial festival.
“You never come here without thinking you’re going to do your very best and you hope that it’s good enough, but as the week goes on and you watch everybody else you start to understand about the work that they put in,” he said. “You realize that you’re not the only one out there. There’s lots of fish in the pond and sometimes they do a better job at what they pick than what you’ve done.”
At the same time the feedback from the festival adjudicator is a valuable learning opportunity for participants.
“You have to learn from what they give you and what they’ve told you you need to work on and you come back and you try to make yourself even stronger,” he said.
Festival adjudicator Gail Whiteford remarked during the presentation ceremony that the  William Hubbard Memorial Plaque for Excellence or Meritorious Enterprise was the most difficult award category to choose a winner.

She decided to award it to Swift Current Little Theatre for a number of reasons.
“They chose a local playwright, secondly they did some marvellous stuff on stage and thirdly in the adjudications they listened and contributed and made comments and I was impressed by their desire to learn,” she said.
Whiteford noted in her remarks for the CTV Trophy that Swift Current Little Theatre’s lighting design for Willow Road represented some of the most effective use of lighting at the festival.
The lighting design was done by Johnson and Bruce Rayner and Tim Kalinowski operated the lights during the performance.
The Cameron McIntosh Memorial Cup for the winning entry was presented to the Battlefords Community Players for their production of the Michele Riml comedy Sexy Laundry.
The Battlefords Community Players also won in three other categories. Jim Walls received the S.J. Safian Trophy for best actor, Lynda Lyon-Walls was presented with the Woodward Trophy for best actress and Donna Challis received the Goodfellow Trophy for best director.
The CHAB Trophy for runner-up to the winning entry was awarded to the Yorkton Paper Bag Players for the drama Drowning Girls.
The Yorkton group also received the Stan Danbrook Technical Merit award, Glorianne Kada was presented with the McIntyre Trophy for best characterization and Sarah Christie received the Margaret Corbett Aspirant award.
The Moose Jaw Community Players received three awards for its presentation of the Norm Foster dramatic comedy Here on the Flight Path.
John Burgher was presented with the Walters Trophy for best actor in a supporting role and Tara Gish received the Mary Ellen Burgess Trophy for best supporting actress. The Hilda Allen Memorial Trophy for runner up director was awarded to Verna Alonzo Langitue.
A number of other presentations were made during the awards ceremony. Bilingual actor, director and dramaturge Ian Nelson was inducted into the Theatre Saskatchewan Hall of Fame. The SaskEnergy Volunteer Champion award was presented to Swift Current Little Theatre members Bruce Rayner and Rachel Wormsbecher.

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