History of Theatre Ontario and the Festival

Theatre Ontario came into existence as the result of a meeting of theatre leaders at the Ontario Theatre Conference at Lake Couchiching.

From the beginning it was determined that Theatre Ontario would be a unique service organization with membership, programs, and services for all the sectors that make up theatre in the province: community, educational, and professional.

Incorporated in August 1971, Theatre Ontario immediately filled the gap created by the demise of the Dominion Drama Festival and Theatre Canada.

Theatre Ontario's first employee was the late Maggie Bassett who oversaw the development of dynamic training programs that benefited the entire province, and continue until today.

For over forty years, Theatre Ontario has continued to provide leadership to Ontario's theatre community through innovative programs and services.

The annual Theatre Ontario Festival is:

  • a showcase of outstanding community theatre productions
  • a symposium for passionate, dedicated community theatre artists
  • a celebration of excellence in community theatre
  • a destination bringing together theatre lovers from across the province

The Western Ontario Drama League (WODL)

The Western Ontario Drama League was established by D. Park Jamieson in 1932 to unite community theatre groups in Western Ontario. This covers an area from Burlington west to Sarnia and Welland, and north to Tobermory. WODL has over two dozen member groups.

The Western Ontario Drama League exists to:

  • encourage, assist and promote Community Theatre
  • convene an annual Theatre Festival
  • to provide education in Theatre Arts

The Western Ontario Drama League also:

  • Supports the development of high quality training to WODL member groups.
  • Celebrates the best of Community Theatre through the annual WODL Theatre Festival, which is adjudicated by a professional adjudicator.
  • Engages a professional adjudicator to travel throughout the Region from October to February each year, for the purpose of adjudicating member group productions as requested, and who selects the productions which will appear in the annual Theatre Festival.
  • Develops new material and training for directors, actors and technicians through the annual Minifest weekend.
  • Facilitates communication and access to resources through its association with Theatre Ontario and other professional theatres.
  • Issues a newsletter "Cue Sheet” every few months to keep their membership informed on the activities of member groups, Annual Festival and Minifest information, workshops in the Region, and information from other Regions.
  • Maintains a web site with information on all member groups, as well as WODL programs, festivals etc.

London Community Players & The Palace Theatre

The Mission of the London Community Players:

  • We believe everyone who wants to be entertained, provoked, inspired, or moved by theatre should be afforded the opportunity to do so. 
  • We inspire and nurture individuals through volunteer and educational experiences in theatrical production and management.
  • We support and promote theatrical youth programs.
  • In conjunction with our partners we produce, present and promote high quality, affordable, entertaining theatrical experiences.
  • We provide extensive theatre resources for the broader community.
  • We own and manage a heritage venue that is a destination of choice and is available to host a wide variety of cultural and community events.