Katie Lewis-Prieur, Student Success
When theatre curtains came crashing down around the world with a resounding thud last March, high school theatre performers and Cappies critics were impacted just like counter-parts on Broadway. Live high school theatre productions were cancelled or moved to live streaming formats, much like live professional theatre around the globe. Unfortunately, the pandemic also brought the cancellation of the annual Cappies Gala.
The Cappies is a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders. In pre-pandemic times, Cappies critics are high school students. They audition and train for the role of theatre critic on their school team. They review a minimum of four local high school productions, and the Ottawa Citizen publishes the best reviews.
Thankfully, Canada’s Capital Cappies Steering Committee decided the show must go on, but in a different format. They decided to pivot to monthly online webinars on different topics with theatre and entertainment professionals as guests. December’s topic was “Writing for and about Theatre” and included guests like theatre reviewer Patrick Langston, Canadian playwrights John Muggleton and Janet Munsil, as well as the head of the National Arts Centre’s Indigenous Theatre, Kevin Loring. January’s session was about “Using Your Voice” with a panel of Hot 89.9’s Mauler and Rush, Ottawa singer Rebecca Noelle, slam poet Jamaal Jackson-Rogers, and local actress and theatre educator Robin Guy.
Katie Lewis-Prieur, Cappies Chair and OCSB Experiential Learning consultant, is very excited about moderating the upcoming third session “Let the Music Play” (Feb. 16th at 4 pm). It will include guest speakers Alexander Shelley, the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s conductor, Canadian pop singer Amanda Rheaume, Cappies Music Director Gary Morton, and local singer/songwriter/musical theatre actress, Stephanie La Rochelle. La Rochelle graduated from St. Mark High School and was part of their Cappies productions when she was in high school.
Lewis-Prieur said, “The conversations that we’ve been having with our guests have been enlightening. Students have had the chance to ask questions and to learn from these professionals about what a career in the Arts is really like. The artists have shared their challenges and triumphs. They have talked to the students about their education, training and their passion for the arts.
OCSB students and all Ottawa-area high school students can register for the webinars through their high school English, Music and Drama teachers.