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Mummer graduation awards honour dedication to arts

The Marysburgh Mummers presented Mummer Graduation Award Winners with cheques for $200 each in appreciation of their hard work and dedication to the arts and their communities. On the steps of Mt. Tabor are winners (from left) Brianna Gorsline, Hugh Cameron, and Julie Lane. Not pictured is winner Daniel McGill.

The Marysburgh Mummers, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, are an ever changing group of volunteers of all ages.  People come and go.  Children start young and grow up on the Mt. Tabor stage. When they graduate, they move on to different experiences.  In the past, the Mummers have honoured high school graduates by handing out PECI Graduation Scholarships for students who have excelled in the arts in their community.  This year, they have decided to make some changes.
“For the past 10 years, we have been privileged to be part of the PECI Awards Night.  However, when we took a look at the Mummers who graduated high school, several of them had not attended PECI.  Some lived outside the County.  Others chose to take the Theatre program at Centennial and some of our Mummer families have recently left the area all together.  Many of these young people contributed a great deal to past Mummer shows. We decided to change our awards criteria to enable us to recognize their achievements,” said Mummer Chairperson, Bruce Dowdell.
Those changes have been made and a call for applications was circulated.  “We are very happy with the applications we received.  It was a pleasure to read them and make our selections.  It really reinforced our decision to make changes since one of our recipients is now living in Hamilton and another attended St. Theresa’s in Belleville,” says Lori Farrington, Mummer Vice-Chair and Chair of the Mummer Graduation Awards Committee.  “The other change we made was to award graduating Mummers whether they are moving on to post-secondary education or not.  We felt that we wanted to honour the work that these kids put into the arts and the Mummers during their high school years.  Theatre is all about thinking outside the box, and some of our kids are moving in different directions, including work and travel.
For the inaugural Mummer Graduation Award, four graduating Mummers were chosen:  Brianna Gorsline, Hugh Cameron, Daniel McGill, and Julie Lane.  “I am extremely thankful for receiving the graduation award.  The Mummers have changed my life in so many different ways.  They broke me out of my shell at age seven and taught me so many life and theatre lessons that I know I will never forget.  I have met some pretty fantastic people who have also taught me so much.  I am truly going to miss the Mummers; they’re my home away from home and I don’t know what I am going to do without them,” says Brianna Gorsline.  Julie Lane adds, “I will really miss the atmosphere of the Mummers, and doing community plays in general.  Drama has helped me be so much more confident and I really hope that by going off to school I can help others in the same way that drama, and the Mummers, have helped me.”
All four of these young people are intensely interested in the arts and worked hard throughout their high school years in community theatre, not only the Mummers, but in other groups as well.  Each will receive $200.  They move on in a variety of directions, but all will be missed by the Mummer family and audiences alike.

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