Thanks for Another Great Year!

Another year of SpringWorks has come to a rousing and unbelievably successful conclusion! SpringWorks 2014 was a year of dreams, moving us into our biggest festival yet – from our 7 performance venues to our largest number of volunteers to date to the 36 companies performing over 80 performances across Stratford and Perth County to audiences reaching into the thousands!Want to hear about some of our favourite moments?


One of our mandates here at SpringWorks is to bring students to indie theatre, opening doors and broadening horizons these wonderful young people may have yet to know exist. And if they can’t come to us, we bring the theatre to them! This year, over 2000 students saw a multitude of performances and participated in several workshops at SpringWorks 2014.

54ology by ergo sum By Donna-Michelle St. Bernard & Pamela Gilmartin; Cindy + Mindy BFs 4EVR by Tapestry Opera; Cracked: A New Light On Dementia by Julia Gray; Shakespeare & the Alchemy of Gender‘s Lisa Wolpe interacting with a student from F.E. Madill; poet Wendy Morton in a poetry workshop with students; students from Elma Township and SCHOOL watching Torngat: On the Spine of the World.
*centre image by Jessica Seguin

Puppetology Workshop with SOAR students, led by actor/puppeteers Tyler Seguin & Bonnie Thomson and Handle With Care by Bonnie Thomson.
*workshop images by Jessica Seguin


SpringWorks strives to build strong and lasting community partnerships and this has been a record year for just that! Not only did we fill more venues in the Stratford and Perth County community than ever before, but we joined forces with the Perth County Alzheimer’s Society. Together, we helped open a meaningful dialogue about dementia with two of our productions – Cracked: A New Light on Dementia by Julia Gray and How I Became Invisible by Shawna Reiter and Kyla Read. We also welcomed Sheri Gilhula to give a short talk before each performance and have literature available before and after the shows.

Sheri Gilhula giving a short talk about Alzheimer’s prior to Cracked: A New Light on Dementia. The puppeteers of How I Became Invisible hold a question and answer session after their show. The cast of Cracked: A New Light on Dementia.


But not our last! From the awe-inspiring shadow puppets in The Sleeping Princewritten by Kristi Friday & Baptiste Neis (with music by Paul Shilton) to the tiny beautifully imperfect people-puppets of How I Became Invisible by Shawna Reiter & Kyla Read to the wonder and variety of found object, shadow, tabletop, and rod puppets of Handle With Care to the exquisite manipulations of hand and rod puppets in Rovero & Juliet by Allen Martin – we certainly want to be bringing the magic of puppets back year after year!

An eager audience member explores the shadows as Baptiste Neis and Kristi Friday tell the story of The Sleeping Prince. Baptiste Neis working the traveling scroll. Paul Shilton providing musical accompaniment with French flavour to the story.

Puppeteers of CLUNK Puppet Lab creating the world of How I Became Invisiblewith 12-year-old Fred reading one of her grandmother’s stories; 81-year-old Saija putting her stories to paper; and Fred’s Mother trying to put the stories away.

Tangled Web Theatre Puppeteers Kathleen Black, Bonnie Thomson and Tyler Seguin flying a kite during Handle With Care. Shadow puppet fish preparing to play a trick on the fisherman. A troll and a construction foreman learn to compromise.

The Manipulators‘ (Trish Leeper & Allan Martin) Rovero & Juliet getting to know each other at the party. Rovero with the new sword his mother Lady Muttague has given him. Rovero and Juliet getting married by Friar Lawrence.


Another new-founded tradition for SpringWorks, our 2014 Closing Cabaret was such a fun night! Emcee’d by the incomparable Christina Gordon and featuring excerpts from SpringWorks 2014 shows XOXO: The Relationship Show (Franny McCabe-Bennet & Meghan Chalmers) and Pickled Heart (Jessi Seguin), a new piece by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard & Clare Preuss, and special guests Eileen Smith, Ella Nafziger, Charlene Nafziger, and Tanya Abulnar. We also announced the 2014 People’s Choice Award and had a SpringWorks’ T-Shirts Through the Ages Fashion Show.

Emcee Christina Gordon kicking things off with some comedy. Tayna Abulnar & Christina Gordon seranading the audience. Donna-Michelle St. Bernard & Clare Preuss performing their newest piece Bag of Stones.

Eileen Smith, Tanya Abulnar, and Christina Gordon showing off their singer chops.

Ella Nafziger accompanying herself. Bronwyn Pel modelling the 2011 SpringWorks t-shirt. Jessi Seguin performing an excerpt from Pickled Heart.

Franny McCabe Bennet & Meghan Chalmers performing excerpts from their showXOXO: The Relationship Show. Christina Gordon & Jessica Seguin announcing the 2014 People’s Choice Award:

XOXO: The Relationship Show
Written & Performed By Franny McCabe-Bennet & Meghan Chalmers

We were delighted they were at the Cabaret to receive the honour! Congratulations Franny and Meghan!

It was eleven days that was equal parts inspiring, energizing, and exhausting. In honour our inaugural puppet festival, The Muppets said it best:

“Saying Goodbye, why is it sad?
Makes us remember the good time we’ve had!”
The Muppets Take Manhattan

But we’ll be back again in 12 short months and we hope to see you all there! Keep an eye on our website for when we are accepting new submissions for 2015 (around September) and for our 2015 line-up (around February).


SpringWorks would like to thank everybody who helped us make 2014 such a success, but especially:

Eileen Smith– who took this from a beautiful idea to what we are today. Without her, there would be no SpringWorks
Christina Gordon– performer, accountant, organizer, and all around wonder. When it goes without a hitch, that’s down to Christina
Wendy McNaughton – who brings the students to SpringWorks
Jessica Seguin – who looks after our performers and patrons alike
Stephen, Jeff, Kody, Scott, and Robert – our long suffering, hard working technicians who bring it all to life
SpringWorks’ Board of Directors – who keep us on track and say yes to our schemes
Mindy Gough – for her beautiful production photos
Keisha Williams, Claire Mastrangelo, Heather Debling, and Karin Chykaliuk – for your expertise and dedication in design, marketing, and social media
Bronwyn, Meghan, and Zoe – our Box Office staff who held the front line beautifully
Falstaff Family Centre, Factory163, Gallery Stratford, Perth County Welcome Centre, Revel Caffe, St. John’s United Church, & The Church Restaurant – and to all of your staff, we thank you for the wonderful venues you gave us to play in
All of our Sponsors – thank you for paving the way
All of our wonderful Volunteers – for all your generously given hours
Our Presenting Companies – without you and all your hard work, we would have nothing but empty stages.
Our Audiences – without you, we’d have nothing but empty seats
And to everyone who lent hands, time, and support, we appreciate and thank you for everything you do!

All photographs by Mindy Gough, unless otherwise stated. Please do not copy, edit, or print any of the images. If you wish to purchase any of the images for use on websites or promotional materials, please contact the photographer.

SpringWorks now has charitable status and can issue tax receipts! All levels of sponsorship are appreciated. Check out our website for how you can donate today!

Let’s get SpringWorks 2014 trending on Twitter!

From technicians to Front of House, SpringWorks can always handle more Volunteers for our 2015 Festival! For more information or to volunteer, check out our website.



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