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A fitting recognition


You can’t get anything much more fitting than what took place recently – Jerry Doyle being appointed honorary director of the Stephenville Theatre Festival’s board of directors.

It was appropriately done at the festival’s annual gala, which he was a very big part of for six years while artistic director from 2001 to 2006.

In an interview last week Doyle pointed out being let go from the position of artistic director in 2006 did leave a sour taste in his mouth and it was something he struggled with for a while.

For some people it would have been the end of the line with their involvement with the organization, but believing in the festival, he kept involved to the degree that he eventually served on the board of directors once again.

For many years he served as a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and supported the Stephenville Theatre Festival though helping it to get financial support from that organization.

His connection with the festival has deep roots as he befriended the festival’s founder Maxim Mazumdar in the early years when Mazumdar adjudicated Doyle’s performances in Labrador and encouraged him to keep doing live theatre.

Even with his job as a safety and environment supervisor, Doyle still pursued acting and eventually did some film work with “Emily of New Moon” in Prince Edward Island and acting in the series “The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne,” in 2000, a time he remembers as being treated like a celebrity.

He said every episode, filmed in a hangar in Montreal, cost about $2 million to produce.

But it was back in 1987 that he fondly remembers acting with Gordon Pinsent, the only other honorary director of the Stephenville Theatre Festival.

Pinsent came to the festival on three different occasions when Doyle, as artistic director, needed him and for that he is grateful.

It was while in his job at Hope Brook Mines that Doyle did some of his early work with the Stephenville Theatre Festival.

After his stint as artistic director, Doyle started up 2nd Stage Theatre, which involved bringing dinner theatre to Stephenville for what he believes to be the first time.

It went over well and continues today with the Stephenville Theatre Festival even picking it up this season with the Elton John show that was sold out for all its performances.

Now with the festival heading into its 40th Anniversary Season, Doyle is talking like a regular board member and making suggestions on what should be done.

He is quick to point out the board of directors needs to be aware of what the community wants and to put on shows they ask for.

He believes this milestone season should involve bringing back some of the people involved over the years, including past directors and actors who put the festival on the map – people who did all kinds of wonderful things afterwards.

Sounds like Doyle wants to take his honorary role seriously and it not just have it be a title — but like always, put forward good advice for something that he still believes in after all these years.


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