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Pasadena teen did a lot of research to get into role for Western Regional Drama Festival

James Squires hold up a Pasadena Academy sign while at the Western Regional Drama Festival in Springdale this past weekend.
James Squires hold up a Pasadena Academy sign while at the Western Regional Drama Festival in Springdale this past weekend. - Submitted

James Squires sees a real benefit to having drama in schools.

“Drama has been a part of my life ever since I was kid,” said the 16-year-old Level 2 student from Pasadena Academy.

He said drama took him out of his comfort zone and believes that other people should learn more about it and understand its parts.

Squires and his school competed this past weekend at the Western Regional Drama Festival in Springdale where he took the award for Best Actor (Male) for his portrayal of Austin in “The Other Room” by Ariadne Blayde.

“I think it tries to take away some stereotypes about autism,” he said of the play.

His character is a 16-year-old boy who meets a girl, and the aspects of his personality are all different characters.

“So, they’re all kind of going everywhere.”

He said it’s a really cool script, but Austin was a hard character to play.

Getting into the role took a lot of research. He said he tried watching the film “Rainman,” but that included a lot of stereotypes about autism, so instead he looked into

individuals who reminded him of the character and built it around there.

“It was different, but I enjoyed the challenge,” he said.

So, to hear his name announced for the Best Actor (Male) Award left his heart fluttering.

“I think there were a lot of great actors there, so to actually get that honour was phenomenal.”

Other major award winners

Corner Brook Regional High Drama Club from Corner Brook received the award for best overall production for its show “The Insanity of Mary Girard” by Lanie Robertson. The school will now represent the region at the provincial festival in Clarenville in May.

Clair Beck of Corner Brook was selected the Best Actor (female) for her portrayal of Mary Girard, while the Best Director award went to Corner Brook’s Paula Grudich

Awards of distinction


Casey Lush and Seonaid Stark of Xavier Junior High of Deer Lake

Vinn Elliott, Jade Mackey, Mark Quilty and Logan Dwyer of Corner Brook

Samantha Stuckless and Chelsea Greenham of Copper Ridge Academy of Baie Verte

Mackenzie Tapp, Emily Park, and Delaney Rumbolt of Pasadena Academy

Jared Osbourne, Jesse James, Maria Lawlor, and Cody King of Indian River High, Springdale

Keish Bowers and Melisa Adali of Valmont Academy in King’s Point

Aaron Hingston and Alex Katiforis of Gros Morne Academy in Rocky Harbour.


Jan Stephen of Pasadena Academy


Anna Hansen-Robitschek of Corner Brook

Lights and sound

Haley Hillier of Corner Brook

Lighting and makeup

Anthony Clarke of Pasadena Academy, and Ocean-Lee Grandy of Copper Ridge

Costume design

Jalen Saunders of Corner Brook, Indian River High, and Gros Morne Academy


Gros Morne Academy, Kelsey Budgell of Valmont Academy and Copper Ridge Academy

Set design

Pasadena Academy, Indian River High, Valmont Academy, and Gros Morne Academy


Matthew Smith (for tech and sound) of Gros Morne Academy, Claudia Lilly of Indian River High and Leah Osmond of Pasadena Academy

Choral award

Valmont Academy

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