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Port High Cancels Wizard Of Oz Play

Clipped From The Welland Tribune Newspaper

Drama students at Port Colborne High School won’t be off to see the wizard next spring.

Students in the school production were told last week The Wizard of Oz, planned for next year, has been canceled, school principal John Freeman-Shaw said Thursday.

Freeman-Shaw said an audit of all auditoriums was undertaken by District School Board of Niagara in 2006.

He said there were “some concerns” expressed by the consultant with respect to the auditorium at the high school.

“The stage floor is not appropriate for large scale productions,” Freeman-Shaw said, adding the auditorium will be used in the future for “improvisational” drama that does not require full use of the stage area.

Freeman-Shaw said the school explored “all options” in making the decision to cancel the play. He said taking the production off site for rehearsals was not an option.

“For the foreseeable future, there will be no large-scale productions in the auditorium,” he said. “The board is in the process of developing a long-term strategy for dealing with its properties. I have been told that we will be high on that list of priorities.”

Nancy Wilson said there are plans to use the theatre “on a regular basis” despite the cancellation of The Wizard of Oz.

She said plans to present the popular musical began last June with a Wizard of Oz Camp and rehearsals got under way in mid-September.

The decision to cancel the production was tied to the need to order costumes and build sets. There was also a significant investment of about $3,300 – money that Wilson said can be largely recouped by backing out now.

“It’s a disappointment for all of us,” she said. “The floor on the stage in the theatre is just not safe to hold large groups of dancers.”

She said work is already under way to put on a spring production next April to replace The Wizard of Oz.

She said drama teacher Amy Converset and music teacher Elaine Carlson are “trying to get their heads around what has happened” and it will probably take a few weeks to brainstorm some ideas for a replacement show.

The school will continue to offer a vibrant drama and musical component during the academic year, Wilson added.

The senior drama class is currently working on a one-act play Pressure by Lindsay Price for Grade 7 and Grade 8 students, to be performed in the theatre Dec. 5 and Dec. 7 at noon.

The Grade 11 drama class will present Oh, The Places You’ll Go, an adaptation of the Dr. Suess story for Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 in the theatre.

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