Staff Room

Press Release
October 6, 2010

The Belleville Theatre Guild - 256 Pinnacle Street, Belleville
(613) 967-1442

Cast members, Staff Room, Left to Right: Steven Vowles, Corey Allan, Andy Palmer, Linda Tipper, Marvin Tucker

What Really Happens In The Staff Room

Belleville: We all knew them! Our favourite teachers, our least favourite teachers, the ones who could make us understand the toughest subjects, and the ones who maybe shouldn’t have gotten into education in the first place. Then there was the one teacher who touched our lives and made us feel like we could do anything we set our minds to.

They’re all in Staff Room. Playwright Joan Burrows of Richmond Hill, Ontario, looks back on a long career as a teacher to create this series of scenes about the challenges, successes and downright failures educators deal with on a daily basis.

Teachers have played a huge role in director Bill Petch’s life. Both of his parents were teachers, his dad was a high school vice-principal, he had several aunts and uncles who taught, and he even married a teacher!

This play shows that teachers are only human and try to deal with some pretty outrageous situations as best they can. And while Staff Room shows us the lighter side of education, it also deals with the more serious aspects of what teachers are sometimes faced with. From preparing exams, chaperoning dances or dealing with deadlines ... to juggling family life, handling gossip or even dealing with personal tragedy, Staff Room shows what "real life" is all about for teachers both inside and outside the classroom.

The play also provides the actors with a chance to branch out in their acting skills as 14 actors play a total of 55 characters! During the course of the play, one actor might portray a grumpy vice-principal, a guy getting clobbered at Euchre during his lunch hour, and a janitor who speaks no English. There are also a few student roles played by local teenaged actors.

Petch is very excited to have in the cast a real mix of newcomers, old pros, and even some faces which haven’t been seen on the Pinnacle Playhouse stage in some time. It’s a fun bunch and they’re very enthusiastic about bringing their characters (all of them!) to life. The cast includes: Andy Palmer, Corrie Allan, Tessa Forsey, Tom Hartke, Vickie Williams, Linda Tipper, Marvin Tucker, Amy Pero, Steven Vowles, Thomas Perry, Joel Petch, Alana Lutz, and Kate Nicholas.
Producer Phil Bowerman is working with the crew to create some theatre magic. Collaborating with him are Stage Manager Judy Bridle, Set Designer and Head Painter Perry Poupore, Lighting Designer Greg Pinchin and Sound Designer Richard Lummiss. These people are assisted by many more talented people.

Staff Room is perhaps the most successful example of a community theatre investing in original work. After three decades in the classroom, Joan Burrows had accumulated enough hilarious adventures to fill more than one play.

After workshopping the play as a one-act, Joan submitted it to her home theatre, The Curtain Club in Richmond Hill. That production was selected by ACT-CO to be its representative in the 2004 Theatre Ontario Festival in Sault Ste. Marie, and won the Elsie Award for Best Production.

In 2006, a second production of Staff Room was mounted by Kanata Theatre and then a third by Theatre Guelph. Joan Burrows has gone on to study playwriting at Theatre Ontario Summer Courses, and is currently working on her fourth play.

Recently there was some more fantastic news for Burrows.- Theatre Ontario is publishing a new anthology called "Grassroots" which will have 5 full length plays, all of which have been produced at the community theatre level. Staff Room was chosen, out of 38 submissions.

Burrows was thrilled about being published by Canada Playwright Press. The launch of the book will be at the Theatre Ontario Festival May, 2011. Ironically, The Curtain Club in Richmond Hill is hosting the festival, so the play will be celebrated in the theatre which first produced it!

Don’t miss Staff Room. Production dates are October 14th through the 30th. There are two Sunday matinee performances and tickets are only $18.00. Contact the Belleville Theatre Guild box office at 613-967-1442 or visit our web site at www.bellevilletheatreguild.ca

Submitted by
Debra Tosh
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