Stagecraft expert offers different perspective to theatre adjudication

Cory Hurley
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Bruce Bryne will be adjudicating the Central Western Regional High School Drama festival in Pasadena this week.

Bruce Bryne will complete the circuit of high school drama festivals in the western area when he adjudicates the Central Western Regional High School Drama Festival this weekend in Pasadena.

Three years ago it was the Northern Peninsula festival in St. Anthony. Last year the Stephenville festival in Doyles. This time, the students in the central western region will get Bryne’s adjudication style.

He admits adjudicators typically have acting or directing backgrounds, not the backstage expertise he has. The master carpenter/fine arts workshop supervisor at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University certainly possesses that technical component.

“What takes place on a stage is more than just acting,” he said. “To have an eye to understand how the set can influence an actor — what the set is made of and the influence of lighting — can really change the space and time. It can make an actor much better or really take them out of their element.”

Although he typically concentrates on the set when watching theatre, it is not Bryne’s sole expertise. He was an avid member of his own high school theatre club in Port aux Basques, graduated from the Grenfell fine arts program and got his start in acting.

He said the high school and junior high school productions are some of the best amateur performances in the province, and it’s a great release for many of the students. It is also a great social experience and a chance to learn to better their crafts through workshops in acting, sets and design, he said.

Bryne said it is not easy to commit oneself to a making a career out of theatre. There are a lot of doubters, he said.

However, for some, a high school drama festival can be the opportunity to propel them toward their future.

“Aim for the sky, and hopefully you will hit the horizon,” he said. “Don’t take no for an answer. Whether you are involved in theatre, drama, sports — whatever it may be — give 110 per cent. Do not look back saying you wish you gave more.”

Bryne has more than 18 years experience in construction, design, props, and special effects on 300 theatrical productions including “Cats,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables,” and “Wicked.” He’s also worked on 45 made-for-television and major motion pictures such as “Shanghai Noon,” “X-men2,” “Rat Race” and “K-19 the Widow Maker.”

He has experience in touring with musical artists Aerosmith, Kiss, Madonna, Dixie Chicks and more. In 2006, he returned to Newfoundland.

In addition to this weekend’s Pasadena festival, the Southern Zone festival will take place in Stephenville. The Northern Zone festival will take place in Flowers Cove next week.

Festival Schedule

Central Zone (Pasadena Academy)


6 p.m. Xavier Junior High — Emotional Baggage by Lindsay Price

7 p.m. Corner Brook Regional High — Proof by David Auburn

8 p.m. Immaculate Heart of Mary School — Café Murder by Nathan Hartswick

9 p.m. Elwood High School — And Then There Was One by Michael Druce


6 p.m. Main River Academy — Rebel    

7 p.m. Bonne Bay Academy — Small Actors – a one act play

8 p.m. Presentation Junior High — The Firecracker Incident by Don Zolidis


5 p.m. G.C. Rowe Junior High — Bully Me Not by Bruce Stagg

6 p.m. Gros Morne Academy — Oz by Don Zolidis

7 p.m. Pasadena Academy — The Hidden Place by George Herman

9 p.m. Awards

Southern Zone (Stephenville Middle School)


7 p.m. St. James Regional High

8:15 p.m. Burgeo Academy


6:30 p.m. Appalachia High School

7:45 p.m. Stephenville High School

8:50 p.m. Stephenville Middle School

10:30 p.m. Awards ceremony

Northern Zone (Canon Richard Memorial Academy)


6 p.m. Canon Richards Memorial Academy

7 p.m. Viking Trail Academy

Organizations: Pasadena Academy, Dixie Chicks, Mary School Main River Academy Bonne Bay Academy Gros Morne Academy

Geographic location: Stephenville, Northern Peninsula, St. Anthony Doyles Port aux Basques Newfoundland.In Flowers Cove Corner Brook Appalachia

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