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Eastern Ontario Drama League
The purpose of The Eastern Ontario Drama League (or EODL) is to foster community development and interest in the performing arts. It serves as a resource centre for theatre activities in Eastern Ontario, and provides community theatre groups with a communications medium throughout the province. The League promotes artistic and technical standards, and encourages education in theatre arts. A program of competitive drama festivals is a principal means of advancing these aims. Each year the EODL organizes a festival of one-act shows that is professionally adjudicated, followed by an awards ceremony. Additionally, the EODL organizes a festival of full-length theatre productions, also adjudicated and followed by an awards ceremony, with one production chosen to represent the EODL at the Theatre Ontario Festival.
Founded in 1933 The Eastern Ontario Drama League (EODL) is an affiliation of Community Theatre in Eastern Ontario, governed by an elected board of Directors, and registered as a Charitable Organization in Ontario. Our groups range from Haliburton to Cornwall and Ottawa to Cobourg. The EODL is also a participating member of Theatre Ontario , thereby establishing an important information link between them and member groups.
The Eastern Ontario Drama Festival came into being as a direct result of the intense interest in theatre of Canada's then Governor-General, Lord Bessborough, and his desire to initiate a Dominion-wide Amateur Theatre Festival.
Sixty people from across Canada were invited to a meeting in Ottawa at which time his proposal was enthusiastically endorsed and plans were made for a series of preliminary regional festivals. Rupert Davies of the Kingston Arts and Music Group was one of those present; on his return to Kingston, he was instrumental in organizing what turned out to be the first regional festival in Canada.
Convocation Hall, Queen's University, was chosen as the site for the inaugural Eastern Ontario Drama Festival. On the night of February 23rd 1933, the curtain rose on thirteen one-act plays and scenes. The Festival continued to be held in Convocation Hall until 1939, and again after the war, until 1948. It was then decided that the Festival should travel from city to city in the region, which it has done ever since. At first, entries were limited to one-act plays or scenes, until 1938, when full-length plays were introduced and Festivals included some of each category. By 1961, full-length plays had become the rule, and Region introduced its separate One-Act play festival.
Two festivals are held each year providing theatre groups the opportunity to learn and improve their skills through professional adjudications. The Full-Length Festival is held in the spring and the One-Act Festival in the fall.
Notes from Barbara Kobolak, EODL historian