John Burke High – Grand Bank

Hello, Internet, today is Wednesday, March 16th, and yesterday we performed for the senior high students at John Burke High School in Grand Bank.

GB set up

If you have been following closely, Internet, you may have noticed that the tour got substantially less busy after our two-show day in Stephenville. Since then, there has been multiple days with either nothing, or only a couple of hours of things to do.

The day we left Fogo Island, though, was not a day of little-to-nothing. We pulled ourselves out of bed at 7am the day that the clocks went forward (darn you, Daylight Savings Time!!), piled our belongings into the van, and went to catch the 9am ferry.

The Fogo Island ferry has been a subject of much pain and ire this winter, as their shiny new boat was pulled off its route, replaced by the old ferry, which then dropped a garbage truck in the ocean, etc etc. (See here, here, here, here and here for backstory if you like.) So it was with some trepidation that we approached the ferry terminal for the first trip after the new ferry’s return to service.

Other than a 45-minute delay for mechanical difficulties (not the best phrase to inspire confidence), we made it on board and crossed without incident. The new ferry is very snappy, with a coffee bar, cruise-ship style seating and, apparently, access to sunbathing on the roof.

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The rest of the day was spent driving. Nothing compared to the St. John’s-to-Stephenville snowstorm, but a bit of snow and a bit of rain accompanied us for 10 total hours of travel from (basically) the north end of the island to (basically) the south end of the island. We arrived in Grand Bank, ate supper and collapsed into our respective beds.

The next day was a day off, and also the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, so we bounced around Grand Bank a bit. A couple of us had grant applications due for March 15th, so there was some work done on other projects and the like.

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Yesterday morning, we woke up still a bit bleary from the time change, lugged ourselves to Sharon’s Nook for coffee and bagels, and then went into the school to set up.

With an army of student volunteers led by Ms. Blackwood, we had the show loaded into the gym, set up, and leveled in just over 2 hours – a new record for us! We had to go back to Sharon’s for lunch. We love it there.

GB audience

All set up and already relaxed. Around 10am.

Around 1pm, about 100 students finished lunch and filed into the gym class by class. Mr. Masters, the school principal, introduced us, saying that a survey held with students earlier in the year had indicated a desire to see more work with student wellness. The social worker dealing with Mental Health and Addictions at the local hospital came to see the show and to speak with the students afterwards.

The performance went over extraordinarily well. Students loved it, and Mr. Masters commented to me that it was lovely to tick both theatre and mental health boxes with our performance. The helpfulness continued into our load out, as we spoke with many students one on one about the show and then had them help us load the van (we’re sneaky like that).

We packed up and came to Clarenville last night, where we are set to do our final performance of this tour tomorrow afternoon.