Volume 12 Week 5

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Tim Tierney




(Updated 8:30 a.m., Aug. 16)
Orléans theatre school students enlisted as Santa’s helpers

By Heather Jamieson
Orléans Online

A talented group of young local actors will be helping Canada Post educate the 1.6 million children who write Santa Claus at the North Pole each year.

Canada Post contacted Orléans Young Players Theatre School’s artistic director Kathi Langston in late April to inquire about the school supplying French and English-speaking actors to appear in a series of short videos designed to emphasise the “Golden Rules” of writing Santa, says Cindy Daoust, Canada Post’s manager of Community Investment.

Students with the Ottawa School of Theatre (formerly known as the Orléans Young Players Theatre School) listen intently as the duties of being one of Santa’s elves is explained to them. Heather Jamieson/Photo

Daoust and her team were aware of the 28-year-old theatre school’s reputation and large number of French-speaking and bilingual students.

Langston cast 14 of the school’s students as Santa’s elves to appear in three scenes, each done in both languages. Filming, by Canada Post’s corporate video team, took place Aug. 10 at the Shenkman Arts Centre.

The key messages to educate children and make the job easier for the thousands of volunteers supporting the more than 35-year-old program are: Santa likes newsy letters to accompany wish lists; the importance of including a return address; and a comical and informative scene starring Santa’s all-important Postal Elves learning their job, such as knowing letters to Santa do not need a stamp.

The 2017 Letters to Santa program begins Nov. 1 and, because “it’s a long way to the North Pole and back,” letters must be mailed by Dec. 11.

The completed videos will be distri-buted through the Canada Post YouTube channel, as well as its various social media platforms.

“This has been a wonderful learning opportunity for our students,” says Langston, noting that summer holiday schedules made casting and scheduling rehearsals particularly challenging.

Among the students cast were three members of the Corrigan family, includ-ing Mathieu, 16, who is enrolled in the specialized theatre program at École secondaire Béatrice-Desloges and says it was an amazing experience.

It is hoped an advanced screening can take place at the Shenkman Arts Centre-based theatre school when it officially launches its new name and logo on Sept. 16.

“After 28 years, we needed a name to better reflect our growth and diversity,” says Langston about the school’s new name: Ottawa School of Theatre.

Everyone is invited to an open house and silent auction at the school on Sept. 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The school’s curriculum for the 2017-2018 school year includes expanded French and adult classes, as well as the opportunity for students to prepare for the Royal Conservatory Speech and Dramatic Arts exams.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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