The show will go on: Canada’s oldest youth theatre festival saved after losing Sears sponsorship

IATSE, the North American union representing theatre technicians and the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS) say their joint sponsorship ensures the show will go on at the 2018 Ontario Drama Festival, and its equivalents in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada.

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Thousands of students attend the festivals in Ontario, B.C. and the Atlantic provinces every year. (Sears Drama Festival)

A pair of new sponsors have stepped in to revive a decades-old youth theatre festival, Ontario Drama Festival, that was facing a final curtain call after Sears Canada withdrew its sponsorship.

IATSE, the North American union representing theatre technicians and the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS) say their joint sponsorship ensures the show will go on at the 2018 Ontario Drama Festival, and its equivalents in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada.

The festivals are attended by more than 12,000 high school drama students across the three locations.

“For so many young people passionate about theatre, the drama festivals are where they meet kindred spirits and develop new artistic bonds and skills, especially in areas where there is limited access to education in the arts,” said festival alumna Alisa Palmer, now an artistic director for the NTS.

The original Ontario version was launched in 1946, making it Canada’s oldest theatre festival. It boasts alumni including actors Margot Kidder and Rachel McAdams and director David Cronenberg.

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