70th Annual Provincial Drama Festival

The 70th annual Provincial Drama Festival celebrates a lasting legacy of greatness in Newfoundland and Labrador’s theatre culture


Celebrating the coming together of amateur theatre groups from across Newfoundland and Labrador for a week long series of performances, workshops, and above all, good times, the 70th annual Provincial Drama Festival is the culmination of the tireless work of amateur actors and industry personnel that dates back to 1949. 

From April 21-27, the  Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Society presents  the Provincial Drama Festival in St. John’s, which will feature seven theatre troupes from across the province. 

There’s the St. John’s Players and School Zone Productions in St. John’s, Mokami Players in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, The Off Broadway Players in Corner Brook, The Avion Players in Gander, the Northern Lights Theatre Company in Lab West and the Northcliffe Drama Club in Grand Falls-Windsor. 

‘Wonderfully ludicrous’

“It’s the whole notion of having a provincial drama festival, and no other province is doing it,” shared Fabian O’Keefe, Artistic Director of School Zone Productions and a member of the host committee.

“No one else is doing a provincial drama festival on the scale that has seven nights of full length theatre. There’s something wonderfully ludicrous about it. We have two groups coming from Labrador, five groups travelling across the island to spend a week in St. John’s. Next year it will be six groups travelling across the island to spend a week in Grand Falls.”

From a fantasy romp through the works of William Shakespeare (The Maltese Bodkin), a gripping piece of dramatic theatre (The Donnellys), to a dark and twisted masterpiece (The Pillowman), the week long celebration of works from across the island bring together the very best in influences from across the globe, for a melting pot of genres and styles to suit any theatre enthusiast. Of course, there will be plenty of Newfoundland flavour to be had. 

“We often like to tell our own stories,” O’Keefe shared. “You’ll see the Provincial Drama Festival, yes, is a reflection of Broadway culture and American and British culture, but you’ll often see aspects of Canadian and Newfoundland culture in these shows. I think that, as we’ve seen with Come From Away, we like to sometimes have a look at how we’re doing. We like to see ourselves reflected through a different lens.”

Be a part of history this April, as the Provincial Drama Festival celebrates seven decades of innovation, exploration and creative ingenuity, while also signaling in the future of Newfoundland and Labrador’s theatre scene. 

For tickets and showtime information visit artsandculturecentre.com or visit the box office. For more on the history of the Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Society and details on the individual plays and theatre troupes, as well as additional festival details visit nldrama.ca

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