Ascension Collegiate stands out at drama fest

Nicholas Mercer
Published on May 30, 2014

The Ascension Collegiate drama group captured 13 awards at the provincial drama festivalMay 22-25 at the LSPU Hall in St. John’s. Members of the group are: front (l-r) — Kristen Peach, Jessie Fewer, Brandon West, Martina Taylor and teacher Debbie Janes; back — Liam Dawson, Erin Mackey, Emily Mercer, Sarah Power, Jessie Downey, Gavin Mercer, Hannah Smith, director Marc Warren, Colin Brown, Josh Bartlett and Mackenzie Collins.

Submitted photo

It would not have been hard to point out an Ascension Collegiate student at last weekend’s provincial drama festival May 22-24 at the LSPU Hall in St. John’s.

Maybe it was their 13 awards that made them stand out, or maybe it was the bright-orange hoodies worn by each of the 16 members.

During the various workshops, the Bay Robets-based Ascension troupe were easy to spot as they enthusiastically threw themselves into things like working with masks, folk music, playwriting, theatre games and clowning.

As the festival progressed, teachers Marc Warren and Debbie Janes kept hearing about their students and the work they have been doing.

“They were very visible, and at a couple of points people came up to us and said, ‘Your kids are like the heartbeat of the festival,’” said Warren. “They were the ones getting kids up dancing.”

“They were constantly engaging others,” added Janes.

To the ears of Warren and Janes, more beautiful words could not have been spoken.

It is one thing to take home more than a dozen awards, however, it s something else to capture the hearts and imaginations of your peers.

Janes said the Ascension students were being recognized two-fold, both for their acting and who they were

“That meant more than anything,” she said. “They were sharing their experiences with others.”

The Ascension group also played the role of organizers during the festival.

The group did a run through of their play “Cardbored” on the morning of May 22. However, the kit bags for the other groups were not ready by the time Ascension had finished.

Always aiming to chip in where they can, the students jumped headlong into that task.

“They wanted to do that kind of stuff,” said Warren. “There was something special about them.”


A basketful of awards

It had been a decade since Ascension made an appearance on the provincial drama stage.

They got there after a victory at the regional drama festival in Carbonear last month.

It did not take them long for the school to leave their mark on the provincial scene.

Drawing rave reviews for the play, which was co-written by Warren and student Brandon West, Ascension brought home more than a dozen awards.

“It was a total different play from the other ones,” said Janes.

The following is a list of awards brought home by Ascension:

• Excellence in acting — Erin Mackey;

• Excellence in acting — Liam Dawson;

• Excellence in acting — Josh Barrett;

• Excellence in acting — Jessie Fewer;

• Excellence in ensemble — Cardbored;

• Excellence in live music performance — Martina Taylor;

• Excellence in lighting — Cardbored (Colin Brown);

• Excellence in sound — Cardbored (Colin Brown);

• Excellence in Special FX — Cardbored (Colin Brown);

• Excellence in properties — Cardbored;

• Excellence in combat choreography — Cardbored;

• Excellence in directing — Marc Warren;

• Most spirited duck — Jessie Downey;

“It was surprising, just because we really didn’t think it was about the awards,” said West.