a peek inside the fishbowl

06 Sep, 2011

Ottawa Giveaway alert: Be the Bard!

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Fishbowl patrons|Giveaways and product reviews

Last week I introduced a new Fishbowl patron; the Ottawa School of Speech & Drama. Did you take the opportunity to browse their website and look at all the amazing programs they are offering? If you didn’t, you might want to do it now. To celebrate back-to-school (and to show they know how to make a big entrance) the OSSD is giving away a single semester course in a class of your choice (to a maximum value of $450) to one lucky winner. And it could be you!


Read on for fine print:

  • This prize has no cash value and must be redeemed on a new class enrollment only. It can be used for a child, youth or adult course during the fall or winter term and is valid until May 1, 2012.
  • This giveaway is open to anyone residing in the Ottawa area (not just in Westboro), but it is void where prohibited in Quebec. (Sorry mes amis, here’s why.)
  • For your entry to qualify, use the comments below to tell us about your first – or your favourite – experience on the stage. Were you 3 or 93? Were you a tree in your second grade play? Did you perform Hamlet? Did you sing in a chorus? Tell us your story and how the experience affected you. OR – if you’ve never been in a play before, just tell us why you would want to win the course (and which one)!
  • The winner will have to pick up their prize (which will be in the form of a gift certificate) from the OSSD office at 294 Picton Avenue, Ottawa.
  • One entry per family please. We want lots of people to have the opportunity to win.
  • If you can’t post your comment here for whatever reason, you can email it to me for posting: andrea at quietfish dot com (however I cannot be responsible if your entry is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder!)
  • Good karma goes to those who tweet or post about this on their Facebook profiles. I bet you didn’t know this but it actually increases your odds of winning! ;)
  • I will do a random draw of all qualifying entries using Random.org at noon EST on Tuesday September 13, 2011.

Don’t forget! There’s an open house coming up on Saturday September 10. It’s a great opportunity to find out more about the Ottawa School of Speech & Drama and meet the people behind the scenes.

Thank you OSSD for hosting this amazing giveaway!

Over to you Fishies!

48 Responses to "Ottawa Giveaway alert: Be the Bard!"

1 | binki

September 6th, 2011 at 12:42 pm


My first play was in Grade 1. I recited a two person poem about being a weathervane. It was an active poem where we jumped around and did cartwheels like a weathervane during a storm. I can still recite the poem and do the actions. It’s a good memory.

2 | Miss Vicky

September 6th, 2011 at 1:06 pm


What a fantastic giveaway. My first play was the Teddy Bears’ Picnic; I played one of two kids who are lost in the forest and come across the bears… I remember being particularly chuffed because I got to wear my fancy orange taffeta party dress, which swished when I walked. And so began an acting career that lasted through university… Miss those days!

Wee G would love to take either the intro drama or maybe the kids’ choir. Fingers crossed!

3 | Misty

September 6th, 2011 at 1:19 pm


My favourite memory on-stage is when I was in Grade 8 and had to play a pregnant woman giving birth (I gave birth to a pillow). It’s slightly disturbing to me now that I was 13 and simulating a birth, but hey, you take whatever role you can get! And it’s ironic that I’m now a doula…. :o)

4 | Lorrie Douthwright

September 6th, 2011 at 1:38 pm


I would love this for my son!

I went to a Dramatic Arts program for a while in high school where we put on The Mad Woman of Chaillot & I was the professor. During one of my lines the audience began laughing during a part that I hadn’t really considered funny. Still don’t know if it was me, or some other action going on behind me that cracked them up. I’ve tried to find the script online a few time to solve this little mystery, but can you believe on this great vast interweb I cannot find it! Well, at least not for free. :)

5 | Tamaca

September 6th, 2011 at 1:44 pm


I was a vole, or something like that, in a grade school production of wind of the willows. We had to wear rubber animal noises (I think they were dogs, hard to find mass-produced vole masks) and they itched and smelled something terrible. I did theatre throughout school, but more for social reasons than because I was any good.

My eldest daughter, however, is a real drama queen and I’d love to channel that into something positive. Id’ register in “so dramatic” or even the choir.

6 | Charlene

September 6th, 2011 at 1:56 pm


Grade 6-and I took a lot of heat for it because it was a “male”part. The teacher took me aside during tryouts to convince me to try out for it. I did and I got it! But I insisted we change the character’s name from Captain Blowhard to anything else. Because when you’re in grade 6 anything with “blow” in it is NOT cool ;)

It was a great experience and gave me confidence to continue in theatre and public speaking.I’m a firm believer that performing arts give children life long skills.

My son has taken a course at OSSD & would like to continue this year… So c’mon random number generator! Great contest Andrea. Whoever the lucky winner is the are in for a treat!

7 | kaitlin

September 6th, 2011 at 2:13 pm


I don’t remember the first time that I was ‘on stage’; I started going to drama school when I was about six. My favourite on-stage/on camera moment came before that, though.

When I was five, I went to the local children’s museum for a teddy bear picnic. There were prizes for the cutest teddy bear, the best teddy name, and the best teddy roar. When the microphone was placed in front of me to ‘roar’, I gave ‘er! I’m told that a few children cried in response to my roar, but it made the six o’ clock news.

8 | Cari

September 6th, 2011 at 2:57 pm


The very first time I was on stage was our kindergarten Christmas play. The theme was nursery rhymes and I was one of the girls that Georgie Porgie had to kiss and make cry. I was so afraid that the boy playing Georgie Porgie was actually going to kiss me. He didn’t, he made a kissy face but stopped about an inch short of my lips. Whew!

9 | David

September 6th, 2011 at 3:02 pm


I will be more confidence after the program.

10 | milkfacemama

September 6th, 2011 at 3:39 pm


What an amazing prize! My aspiring thespian, Maryn, loves OSSD!

I remember the first time I was on stage – I played one of the wicked stepsisters in my grade 8 production of Cinderella. I twisted my ankle the day before the performance and had to perform on crutches!

It didn’t dampen my enthusiasm, though, as I went on to acting as a career!

11 | coffeewithjulie

September 6th, 2011 at 4:20 pm


I did countless ballet performances, but never had the stomach to audition for plays when I was younger. As an adult, I finally did it and it felt sooooo great to finally have the experience of being a main character in a play! :) I would LOVE for my DD to have this experience, but mostly the confidence to audition should she ever want to. An OSSD course will do the trick! :)

12 | tina

September 6th, 2011 at 5:19 pm


My first play was in kindergarden – French kindergarden, back in 1967/68. The French Catholic school system in my town was just beginning to allow anglophone students to enroll and my father thought it would be a good idea to send me there, that it would be helpful to me in the future (it did help me secure a Fed.govt job, many years later).

Imagine my fear, as a 5 1/2 yr old kid, not knowing the language at all, in a classroom full of francophones, being tought by a teacher I could not understand! Great idea dad!

At the end of the semester, the class had to do a Christmas pagent. Our story had to do with a rabbit looking for the manger of baby Jesus and asking directions from a variety of animals along the way.The teacher, who was quite kind to me (think she felt sorry for me), gave me the role of the cow. I hated that idea! I wanted to be a “cute” animal, not a cow. The reason she gave me that particular role was because my line would generate a laugh.

Thus the line, “Non merci, ça me chatouille mon nez.” was the beginning of my love for comedy. Hearing the laughter from the grown-ups in the auditorium gave me such a thrill, and it helped a little kid feel like not such an outsider in my school.

13 | Tim McGurrin

September 6th, 2011 at 7:37 pm


I played Larry Licorice in a summer camp production of “The Candy Man”. I have vague recollections of dancing down the aisles of Gloucester High School. I might’ve been 6 or 7.

30 years later, I played a cop in Arsenic and Old Lace and proba bly got fewer laughs.

14 | Finola

September 6th, 2011 at 7:44 pm


I was about 8 years old and our summer class was doing a production of Snow White. I auditioned, and won the title role. Once we started rehearsing, I thought Snow White was too boring and asked if I could be the wicked stepmother instead – it was a much more dramatic and exciting role to me, and so that is who I ended up playing.

But then I became insanely shy and self-conscious a few years later, and after that being on stage was incredibly anxiety-inducing. I would love for my girls to take some classes to be more comfortable in their own skins than I was.

Thanks for the chance!

15 | Chloe B

September 7th, 2011 at 10:04 am


Wow! That’s a great prize!

My first play was when I was 13 and I was Sosia in Amphitryon.
I forgot my lines in the middle of a scene where the slave Sosia keeps laughing at his master Amphitryon because he is upset at his wife. To help me my friend who was Amphytrion repeated his last line. Surprised but still in my role of Sosia I looked at him and laughed at him saying “You are losing your mind! stop repeating yourself!” My friend froze. I laughed as Sosia would do and finally was able to find my lines.
Backstage everybody was laughing and the audience didn’t even noticed anything!
This experience made me realize how much I liked the magic of the stage. Nowadays my friend and I still have a good laugh when we think about it, and I wish i could take some classes to go back on stage!

Thanks a lot for this opportunity

16 | wendy

September 7th, 2011 at 12:05 pm



My youngest daughter went to Canterbury HS, and my 8 yr old GRanddaughter is SO much like her it’s “scary”!
Always performing, we were just talking about how acting/drama classes would be a good idea.
She has been in plays at school, this past year played a Cowgirl in the musical at Uplands Catholic.
This would be a wonderful way to build self Esteem and confidence.
I had SO much fun running around Ottawa looking for costumes for everyone.
We just went on the pirate ship adventure at Mooney’s bay, the “pirates” inspired Alessa.
She wants to take acting classes so she can be a “pirate”!!!

Thanks so much Andrea (again) for this opportunity!!

17 | Liisa

September 7th, 2011 at 12:12 pm


Great giveaway! I have a 4 year-old who can’t seem to get a big enough audience and an almost 6 year-old who could use some practice feeling comfortable in front of one.

My first part in a play was as a flower in the Timberland Day Camp production of Little Rabbit Foofoo.

18 | Ross Brown

September 7th, 2011 at 12:20 pm


The last time I “acted” on stage was for the high-school talent show. I was with a group performing a Monty Python skit (Restaurant Sketch).

I performed a one-man show at a Toastmasters meeting a couple of years ago. Again, it was Monty Python: I performed the entire “Holy Grail” in 15 minutes, doing all parts.

I was told I should be an actor.

When my youngest was signed up for classes with the OSSD, I wanted to take classes too, but I was too busy at the time. Now would be a great time to do it.

19 | meg

September 7th, 2011 at 12:51 pm


I was in a play in grade 6 and had a wonderful experience playing the role of the Wizard of Woe. I was really proud of myself to get up there! Both my girls love acting and would benefit from a class at this great organization that I have heard such wonderful things about. Pick me! Pick me!

20 | Cathy

September 8th, 2011 at 12:07 am


When I was in university, I made a torture machine for A Man for All Seasons. It had spikes, chains and a big crank.

21 | Trish

September 8th, 2011 at 9:51 am


I participated in a play when I was in grade school and although i don’t remember it much, obviously I was not scared by it either. I watch many plays and always marvel at the ability to memorize those lines and/or ad-lib. As I get older, I consider more and more the notion of getting up on that stage myself. It would definitely be a hobby.

22 | KL

September 8th, 2011 at 1:53 pm


I cannot do any public speaking of any kind. I stuck to the sports. Would enrol my daughter in Exploring Drama with hopes that she will have enough confidence to break the cycle. We took Gotta Dance at OSSD when she was 1yr & 2yrs old…loved it!

23 | Nicolas

September 8th, 2011 at 11:50 pm


My favorite on stage experience was when I played Cogsworth in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The season before I was ASM.The head carpenter and I got along great so I was ecstatic to find out I was to be the Cogsworth to his Lumiere.

On stage our previous friendship blossomed into a complicité that pushed us and challenged to be better, funner, quicker and in the end better friends.

The only downside to this whole experience was that the run was only 4 days long.

24 | Tiana

September 9th, 2011 at 8:33 am


Not my ‘favorite’ memory but definitely my most vivid. Grade 3 Christmas play. We were rehearsing and I was being Mary (standing in front of a hockey net in the school gym as the manger). I wa standing and standing and standing as we rehearsed another part and I slowly sank to the floor and had a couple of gastroenteritis symptoms. My understudy (LOL) took over my role.

25 | Melissa

September 9th, 2011 at 8:48 am


I can’t remember my first, but my favorite was probably Sr High when my drama club buddies and I did an a capella performance of Suzanne Vega’s ‘Tom’s Diner”, acting it out as I sat at the counter and sang. It was a ton of fun. :)

26 | Siobhan

September 9th, 2011 at 9:15 am


I loved drama as a child, but ended up in an academic high school program that didn’t leave me with time for it.

I think my most memorable performance, at least in family lore, is that in grade 2 some parents came in and I did a lengthy improvised skit where I pretended to be drunk. I had learned all about being drunk from TV and cartoons (my mom doesn’t drink, and my dad would have one beer with dinner). After my performance, the teacher apparently turned to my mortified mother and asked, “And did she learn this at home?”

27 | Stefania

September 9th, 2011 at 9:43 am


I would love to win this for my oldest. She has a real flair for drama and enjoys being on stage. I think this is a prize she would really enjoy and I would be so happy to win it for her. Great contest!

28 | Kim O

September 9th, 2011 at 10:05 am


I would love to win this so I could enroll my 9 year old in Drama Sensations. He has a really hard time reading body language & tone of voice. I think this would help him immensely.

29 | Amanda

September 9th, 2011 at 10:24 am


I would love to win… I have a 5 year old who is destined to be an actress I believe, so we could definitely take advantage of it!

30 | Cleo

September 9th, 2011 at 10:33 am


My first stage experience came when I was in grade six and I wrote and acted in a skit about a mad scientist and his quirky assistant (a take off of Dr. Bunsen Honeydoo and Beaker on the Muppet Show). I was beyond scared… until we delivered the first joke… and we got our first laugh. I was instantly a stage hog. Sadly, I have shied away from the spotlight in my adult life.

If I won this fabulous contest, I would choose to try the Yoga for Artists class! It sounds like a perfect fit me!

31 | Emeline

September 9th, 2011 at 10:48 am



My son Didier had his first 2-week Improv course at OSSD this summer (2011) with Nick. This experience completely changed him. he will turn 11 this October.

Althought we are a francophone household and my sons goes to a French school in Aylmer (Quebec) , he just dived into this English speaking course with gusto.

I would love for him to continue doing this for years to come and I could see the pure, naked joy on his face while he was onstage.

I knew he loved to act because he talks non stop at home and he is always play-acting. But seeing him on stage gave me a glimpse of the talents and desires God has put in his heart.

I do not know the odds of winning, but I pray against all hopes for God to allow him to get this course. I can’t afford to register him this Fall and it is breaking his heart. I am a single mom just trying to help my sons flourish with their natural talent.


32 | Valerie S.C.

September 9th, 2011 at 10:19 pm


Thanks for introducing me to the OSSD. They have a really great range of programs. I would love to try my hand at musical theatre!

I have a lot of great “on stage” memories, but most are from my early childhood. From singing on stage about snowflakes in kindergarden, to playing the main role in an eighth grade production of “Punkerella” (yes, a punk version of Cinderella, haha! We were so creative! You should have seen our costumes!). I think everyone should have the chance to be on stage at least once in their lives… it’s always great to step out of your comfort zone. It makes you feel alive!


33 | Jen

September 10th, 2011 at 11:28 am


My favourite stage performance was in Grade 7 when I was 12. Our school was doing a Cabaret type performance, and I got to dance the Can-Can with five of my friends. It is a hard and demanding dance and we practiced hard, but in the end our favourite part was wearing the big poufy skirts and getting tarted up with WAY too much make-up!

Here’s hoping the random number generator shows me some loooove…

34 | Lou

September 10th, 2011 at 12:58 pm


Great giveaway – I love OSSD. My most memorable stage experience was in Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore in grade 6. Loads of fun singing and wearing hoop skirts. I was the wife of Sir Joseph Porter, lord of the admiralty. My friend Barb played Sir Joseph; Barb was as tiny as I was tall. We got laughs just walking onto the stage together!

35 | Tina

September 10th, 2011 at 3:56 pm


I was about 5 or 6 when I was a mouse in a ballet production of ‘The Pied Piper’. I loved my tail and mouse ears so much that I wore them whenever I could get away with it.

36 | Burke Household

September 10th, 2011 at 5:57 pm


We just came back from the open house at OSSD and signed our three kids up for fall programming. Their first organized acting experience…I say ‘organized’ because children are natural performers, always present and following their impulses…they just don’t know how amazing that will be later in life.

I have lots of amazing theatrically related experiences…although I often find the hair raising on the back of my arms more often via musicals and opera…the talent of a great vocalist is mezmerizing, even for people who have no appreciation for theatrical arts.

That being said, my wife and I met on set of a small independent film here in Ottawa, both of us as performers. It’s as a result of that meeting, that experience, that our brood exists today and is signed up and registered for these great intro classes. So, that would have to be my greatest experience to date, although I’m confident the best is yet to come.

37 | Denise

September 10th, 2011 at 6:29 pm


I was always a shy kid. However, when I was in grade 6, I wrote and delivered a speech for a public speaking contest. The topic was about “being short”. I came in 1st place at my school. I then went on to represent my school in the city-wide public speaking contest. I ended up winning 3rd place.

38 | Marie-Hélène

September 11th, 2011 at 12:57 pm


When I was eight, in a small town near Montreal, I was in a choir and we sang a French traditional song about a princess and three soldiers. I sang the princess part and started acting out the role as I sang just for the fun of it. The other kids laughed, which was really my intent, but the teacher actually liked what I did and suggested we keep acting for the final show. A pretty good teacher she was!


39 | Trish

September 12th, 2011 at 8:57 am


Well, I stumbled across this site and I went reading – I am so thrilled to say that I have taken the giant leap and signed up for the Improv! What have I done!! LOL Seriously, I am psyched! Now I cannot wait till October 3rd. Well, I can cause it’s a Mondays but MY Mondays are about to get a whole lot betta! :-)

Thanks for being a promoter.

40 | Bob LeDrew (@bobledrew)

September 12th, 2011 at 10:04 am


First theatrical experience — a bit part in a high-school production of “Finian’s Rainbow”, in which I had to play harmonica at the start of the play and, later, tango. Not sure which I carried off with less incompetence, but the play, as the Simpsons episode would say, was enjoyed by ALL.

41 | sara

September 12th, 2011 at 1:06 pm


A memorable early stage experience for me was my 5 year old ballet recital. Me and my good friend were hedgehogs. The choreography included a leap frog move, where we each took turns jumping over the other. Well, I guess I took a little long to complete my jump so my friend din’t have time to complete hers. While all the other little hedgehogs went on with the dance she demanded I crouch back down so she could have her turn!! I’m not sure we ever got back on track but we did get a good laugh:) I’ve always loved dance and theatre and would love for my little guy to enjoy it too. Thanks for the chance to win a creative gift for him!

42 | Carolyn

September 12th, 2011 at 2:03 pm


I played Colonel John By in our Grade 6 play and I had the only soliloquy. I remember it being super long and I had to pretend I was writing a letter while talking but it was a great experience and I remember it to this day as well as all the history I learned along with it. I have 3 kids who are drama queens so I’m sure this would be a geat camp or after school experience for them.

43 | Kathleen

September 12th, 2011 at 8:01 pm


I remember being in the chorus in a production of A Christmas Carol. I was eight and I’m pretty sure our entire school was involved in some way. I can still sing Jacob Marley’s warning song.

My daughter would love the musical theatre classes. She and her friends are always putting on performances for us.


44 | Suzy Fraser

September 13th, 2011 at 11:08 am


In Gr. 2, I played Evangeline in a play about the expulsion of the Acadians. I’m afraid it was an unremarkable performance, and the little outfit did nothing for my self-esteem. But I remember drama class very fondly!

45 | Shelley

September 13th, 2011 at 11:33 am


As a child I was terrified of being on stage — I froze during my piano recital, in the school choir I was voiceless, and in the school band I was happy to blend into the background. Then, in Grade 10, I was suddenly elevated to lead alto sax, which meant I would have to stand in front of the entire gymnasium during the Christmas pageant and play the sax solo from Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.” I practiced for weeks….and there were no flubs. Just a fantastic feel of accomplishment. Still, it didn’t transform me into someone who wants to be on stage, but still showed me the value of giving difficult things a real shot. I want to win this because my younger daughter really wants to take the Get Ready To Act course at the OSSD, and winning this would make it possible.

46 | Cassandra

September 13th, 2011 at 11:51 am


My first experience was in grade 1 and I was selected to partake in a special production of Anne of Green Gables to commemorate the opening of a new school: Lucy Maud Montgomery of course.

All was fun and dandy until the afternoon school performance when while running on stage in front of the school. I slipped and fell! I’ve always been clumsy :op I think I got more praise for getting right back up and carrying on then anything else I did that year.

I would have to sign up for one of the hobby courses if I won.

47 | andrea

September 13th, 2011 at 12:02 pm


Comments are officially closed to new entries. I’ll be posting the winner here ASAP! Stay tuned.

48 | andrea

September 13th, 2011 at 12:16 pm


We have a winner. Commenter #1 – binki – is the winner!

Binki wrote:

“My first play was in Grade 1. I recited a two person poem about being a weathervane. It was an active poem where we jumped around and did cartwheels like a weathervane during a storm. I can still recite the poem and do the actions. It’s a good memory.”

Binki, I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist upon seeing a performance of your weathervane poem. WITH ACTIONS. ;)

Congratulations! I’m so happy to be able to give this to you. :)

A big thank you as well to our friends at OSSD for this wonderful prize!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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