MCHS brings home first award from the Cappies

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Above: Vanessa King and Daphne Charrois pose with MCHS’ first Cappies Award. Below: Submitted photos from the gala held Sunday night.

by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville Community High School is well known for hanging pennants from the rafters for its various sports teams, but this past weekend the school brought home their first award for efforts in the dramatic arts.

MCHS returned from their first Cappies Gala on Sunday, taking home the award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Musical. The school was nominated for a total of 11 awards earlier this year.

Grade 11 student Daphne Charrois, who played James in MCHS’ recent theatrical production of James and the Giant Peach, took the honour.

Charrois was pleased to receive the award, MCHS’ first in the Cappies competition. “I feel very happy,” she said. “I think it’s exciting that our school got recognized since we’re new at this [competion]. It’s such a big award.”

Charrois is planning on attending a musical theatre program post-secondary and has already auditioned for some of those programs.

“It’s something I’m really passionate about and would like to pursue,” she said. “I think working with people from the Citadelle and people from MCHS in just this collaborative experience of theatre has really helped me to gain experience to pursue something like that.”

MCHS drama teacher Vanessa King said 10 of the Cappies nominations were for the production itself and one was for criticism. The Cappies is a high school competitive theatre program with two-part, one part theatre, and one part theatre journalism. Charrois also got a nomination in the Grade 11 theatre criticism category. She also had three of her three theatre reviews published in the Edmonton Journal.

“There is the one part where you put on a show and you have about 40 Cappie critics from all over the Edmonton region who come and watch your show,” King said, adding discussions take place at different parts of the show to determine who will be nominated. “We had 31 critics come to James and the Giant Peach come here in December.”

King said the school signed up for the program last June and in October went to the Journal to learn how to attend theatre performances as a critic and turn that experience into a theatrical review. After James and the Giant Peach was reviewed in December, the critic team took to the road reviewing other high school productions in the Edmonton region.

Voting took place May 12. A few days later, the school learned it was the recipient of 11 nominations.

“We didn’t know what to expect because this is our first year,” King said. “We were kind of the underdogs. No one knew what to expect from Morinville. Nobody even knew where we were. There was a little bit of, ‘We have to drive how far away?'”

King said she was pleased with the supportive nature of the Cappies and the sense of community between theatre programs. W. P. Wagner lent the school set pieces for the school’s spring show.

“It’s been a really great community network building program,” she said of the Cappies.

Sunday night’s gala included the Cappies’ Chorus, an opening number that students had to audition for. Charrois succeeded in those auditions and took part in the opening and closing number with other theatre students from around the region.

King says MCHS wants to continue its theatrical efforts so that the school is known for its theatrical program.

“Cappies is part of our endeavour to build our drama program, get out in the community a little more, and really become known for our arts, specifically drama,” King said, adding James the Giant Peach was followed by the school’s Drama-Llamas group doing a musical medley performed at the school’s open house and on the road for local schools. The school has also done a student-driven spring team and a musical theatre open mic night with 30 performers.

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