CORNER BROOK, NL – Members of the Northcliffe Drama Club are returning home with a whole lot of hardware.
The club’s rendition of Dinner with Friends won them the Government of Newfoundland Award for best play at the 69th Provincial Drama Festival in Corner Brook.
“I’m 63 years of age, and probably for the first time in my life I was completely gob-struck,” said director Dave Anthony of his cast’s performance. “I was quite pleased with the outcome of this. It’s been 60 years since this club has won the festival. So, I’m over the moon with the way this turned out.”
The 2019 Provincial Drama Festival will take place in St. John’s, with Northcliffe planning to attend. Grand Falls-Windsor will host the 2020 festival.
“We were nominated for pretty much every award we could be nominated for except for lights,” said actor Scott Simms. “We were nominated for pretty much everything else.”
In total, Northcliffe was nominated for nine awards and won four of them.
Simms won the Hon. Chairman’s Award for best actor.
“It feels great, man,” he said. “There were so many fantastic actors, so many fantastic performances at the festival, that it’s an absolute honour to be recognized. I didn’t expect it, but I’m incredibly happy about it.”
Simms said the preparation behind the scenes was extensive, with rehearsals almost nightly.
“The amount of work our crew did putting the set together, the award-winning props by Julie (Ferraro), the amount of work in it is tremendous," he said. "Everybody really came together.”
Along with Northcliffe’s victory for best play and Simms’ win for best actor, Rhonda Rodgers won the Chrissy Andrews Award for best actress, and Julie Ferraro won the Elizabeth Ireland Award for best properties. John Whelan and Jocelyn Ivany-Simms, two of four actors in the play, were nominated for best actor and actress respectively.
Melinda Anthony was nominated for best stage manager; Dave Anthony for best direction; and Ivan Ball, Sara Sheehan, Andrew Sheehan, and Marky Kelly for best sound.
Diane Bradbury picked up a nomination for costumes and make up. Dinner with Friends was nominated for best overall visual presentation.
Simms acted alongside his wife, Jocelyn Ivany-Simms. He said it was great and joked that he likes to think there’s a little chemistry between them, but said it presented challenges because of the nature of his character.
“I played somebody that went outside of my marriage,” Simms said. “Abandoned my kids and my family to start a relationship with a younger woman, which is completely against my character. So, me playing the jerk, I like to think, is outside of who I actually am. Yeah, it was a bit of a challenge for sure.”
Simms added that the characters opposite of his personality are usually the most fun to play.
“The festival was amazing,” Simms said. “If you’re interested in drama in any way whatsoever, it’s really a great process to get involved with because you learn so much.”
Simms also said that Northcliffe’s success in the festival is great for Grand Falls-Windsor and surrounding communities.
Northcliffe will perform its award-winning show April 12 at the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts at 8 p.m.
69th Provincial Drama Festival award winners
- Scholarship — DA Matthews: Ellie King, School Zone
- Thompson Trophy for best actor under 21: Ellie King, School Zone
- Reg Harte Award for best supporting actor: James Leblanc, St. John's Players
- Oz-fm Award for best sound: Ann Devlin, Graham Dillabough and Scott French, School Zone
- Hans Tode Award for best set design: St. John's Players
- Harvey Rose Bowl for best visual presentation: The Twilight Zone
- Allan R. Hillier Award for best costumes: Mark Bradbury and Toshon Dawe, Off-Broadway
- Elizabeth Ireland Award for best properties: Julie Ferraro, Northcliffe
- Chrissy Andrews Award for best actress: Rhonda Rodgers, Northcliffe
- Sarah McDonald Award for best supporting actress: Lynne Sooley, Avio
- Hon. Chairman's Award for best actor: Scott Simms, Northcliffe
- Allan Power Memorial Award for best lighting: School Zone Productions
- Stage Manager's Award: Jeannie Collins, Avion
- Neala F. Griffin Award for best direction: Mark Bradbury, Off-Broadway
- Newfoundland Herald Audience Appreciation: Off-Broadway Players for “Rumors” and St. John's Players for “Wit” (Tie)
- Margaret Doyle Award for spirit of festival: Arts and Culture Centre technical crew
- Govt. of NL for best play: "Dinner with Friends," Northcliffe Drama Club