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If I had any worries about what theatre would look like down the road, they were more than put to rest last night at the National Arts Centre. The NAC hosted, and the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Catholic School Board, and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board presented Canada Capital Cappies Seventh Annual Gala. If you have never heard of the Cappies here is part of their mission: to provide a unique learning experience for high school theatre students, to inspire creative and critical thinking, and to offer constructive feedback on student theatrical endeavours. But the bottom line: they celebrate the very best in high school theatre.
The Cappies is an international organization which began in the US and in 2005 the Ottawa Citizen was approached to make Ottawa the very first city in Canada to embrace the program. Now over 40 schools participate from both school boards from around the region. But, its all about the "critic". Each school has a team of critics that travel (chauffeured mostly by their parents) to all of the productions and their reviews are published in the Ottawa Citizen. It is their votes that determine the nominees, so it is only fitting that the Award for Best Critic Female and Best Critic Male started off the show. A musical number by the Gala choir set the mood with Katy Perry's "Firework" and from that moment, the noise, enthusiasm and passion of those in attendance had firework effects on all of us who were there. There was not a seat left in Southam Hall. Even the third balcony was full with students, parents, teachers and friends. The decibel level was high and the school spirit was unimaginable. It was so cute to see young women in beautiful dresses and high heels they are just learning to walk in, and young men in new suits and dad's tie. GCTC supports the Cappies by offering season passes to both the Male and the Female Critic to come to all of the performances at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre and double passes to the drama department of the school who takes home the Best Play Award to use as they wish.
As Mayor Watson said it is nice to live in a city where arts and culture matter. This event is one I would not miss, you can't ignore the feeling that when you see the winners walk across that stage, that it will not be the last time you see them.