VOS THEATRE Attends EODL Festival Awards Brunch and Comes Away with Something Valuable.

The Mains?
The Mains, Incognito!

To be clear we didn’t win a trophy. We didn’t stand a chance because we didn’t enter a production in the festival. So why did VOS THEATRE send representatives to an awards brunch that could not possibly result in a shiny token as evidence of merit?

VOS Theatre has never attended the EODL Awards Brunch even though we’ve been members for as long as we can remember. It might make for a more interesting blog post if we could allude to a politically driven boycott or a competition in days gone by that saw us shut out through backroom conspiracy. But the boring truth is every year we’re getting ready for a matinee for our spring musical when they’re serving up the Eggs Benny.

This year, having decided to take a break in the spring to focus on our work with the Ruth Harcort Memorial Scholarship, we were free to send some representatives to show our support for the work the competing groups have done this past season.

The truth is, we’ve NEVER entered a play in the competition. We’ve always been more about the adjudication than the trophy (though we must admit they have some pretty cool trophies) and we’ve had a hard time wrapping our heads around how the winner finds the energy to remount their show at a new location months after it has closed. (We’ll talk to Pat Maitland and her team from Peterborough Theatre Guild, Winners of Best Production  Born Yesterday after they perform at the Theatre Ontario Festival in Oshawa in May. Our congratulations by the way!)

In keeping with this philosophy, it’s not surprising that we found the most valuable part of the awards experience to be the Adjudicator’s Opening Remarks. Sure, it was great to be free of nerves, as we had nothing on the line, so we could sit back and really observe and listen but we were surprised at the importance of what we took away. This year’s festival Adjudicator Bea Quarrie’s Opening Remarks motivated us, filled us with energy and made us participants in the event instead of merely observers.

Bea Quarrie
Bea Quarrie

Anytime you have the opportunity to discuss art and theatre with Bea you are auditing a Master Class. The truly impressive thing is she teaches through example; she walks the walk. While her resume should intimidate even the most experienced pros, you seldom hear about her accomplishments. They are rather, selective pieces of a puzzle you pick up in casual conversation.

She is about the team, about “breaking barriers,” an inclusive and open creative conversation that makes you brave. Even the most egocentric community theatre naval gazers (and every group has ’em) are awarded a gracious way out in that she offers alternatives that are so rich in reward they just have to stop looking at their own bellies and lift their heads to, as Bea says, “focus outward”. Then the work of moving from “small theatre” to “great theatre” can begin.

We can’t share the eggs and bacon from the buffet brunch and you’ll have to take our word for the fun we had watching the smiles of accomplishment on the faces of the winners, but we can share with you Bea’s Opening Remarks. They’re important.

The more we are self involved and focused on ourselves, the less interesting we become. Actors, directors, designers and yes, producing companies need to be generous- and courageous not just with funding but in spirit. Attention must be focused outwardly not so much on what one is feeling but on what one is trying to accomplish.

Read all of Bea’s remarks at this link:
EODL Spring Festival 2015 – Opening Remarks from Bea Quarrie

Oh! One more thing. In a conversation with Brandon Moore, Communications Co-ordinator for Theatre Ontario, we have learned that should groups choose not to enter the festival they can still reap the benefits of an adjudication to facilitate growth in future productions. You can be connected with a professional in the Theatre Ontario Talent Bank. Good to know moving forward.