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In June, 2011, I wrote a blog post about just how dynamic Durham Region, Ontario is, when it comes to writing. It’s really quite unbelievable, the amount of things going on! And we are just east of Toronto…close enough to make the trip, and SO worth it!

I wanted to revisit that, as there are about to be quite a few events of interest to writers AND readers alike. As well as the theatre crowd!

Click here if you want to read my past post about THE WRITING LIFE EAST OF TORONTO

The first thing I wanted to mention today is something I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of for the past 3 years, and something I will be a part of again in about a week’s time.

Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario

For those who did NOT know, there is an AMAZING castle in Whitby, Ontario, just east of downtown and just off Hwy #2. During the rest of the year, it is an all-girls school. BUT during one wonderful weekend every March it becomes the haunted castle in which TRAFALGAR 24 takes place. This year, that weekend is MARCH 8-9. Trafalgar is a play-creation festival. On Thursday night at 10pm, 7 playwrights will enter the castle. When they are released at 6am Friday morning, they will be leaving 6 brand new plays behind (one of the plays will be written by two playwrights, the other 5 plays will be written by individual playwrights).

At 6am, the directors and actors will enter the castle. They’ll have 8 hours to rehearse the new plays. Once they are finished, the castle will be prepared for the evening gala. This gala includes an audience of some 350 people (split up into 6 smaller audiences who will travel together throughout the castle to view each of the 6 plays), a silent auction filled with WONDERFUL items AND a mile-long dessert table that would make any bakeshop close in shame.

Trafalgar isn’t ONLY a wonderful yearly event that takes place in the thriving creative community of DURHAM REGION, it is also a fund-raising event that allows DRIFTWOOD THEATRE to bring its own unique brand of community to locations throughout Ontario during the summer months. Driftwood has THE BARD’S BUS. Every spring, the theatre group boards the bus and takes SHAKESPEARE to the people! Trafalgar 24 is one of the ways they can do this. Driftwood is a pay-what-you-can travelling theatre group. Watch for them in your Ontario community this coming summer. Make sure you catch their show when it hits your town. You will NOT regret it!

Jeremy Smith is the man behind DRIFTWOOD THEATRE. This morning, he appeared on local radio station CKDO to talk about the Trafalgar 24 event. You can listen in here:

JEREMY SMITH OF DRIFTWOOD THEATRE TALKING TO TERRY JOHNSTON ON CKDO – FRIDAY MARCH 2, 2012

To learn more about Trafalgar 24, including ticket information, visit the Trafalgar 24 page of the DRIFTWOOD THEATRE website here: T24

Event #2 – This is an ongoing event and all are welcome. The WCDR (Writers’ Community of Durham Region) has a monthly breakfast meeting for writers. This event takes place at AJAX CONVENTION CENTRE, which is located just off the 401…and minutes east of Toronto. You can watch a video that showcases these breakfast meetings on Youtube:

WCDR breakfast meeting have guest speakers who are from the spectrum of the writing world. Every meeting is a must see for writers at any stage of their writing path. They meet on the 2nd Saturday of the month. EXCEPT for this month! The March WCDR Meeting will be held on Saturday, March 17th. If you live WEST of Durham Region…it is WORTH the drive to Durham Region to take in this event!

For full information, visit the breakfast page of the WCDR website.

Event #3, #4 & #5 – These three events all have to do with the Ontario Writers’ Conference. I am a board member of the OWC. This year I am looking after conference registrations. We have an incredible line up for the 2012 Ontario Writers’ Conference, but we also have events happening ‘around’ the conference date.

The 1st OWC event, I’ve already featured today on my blog. I’ll just quickly cover it here. GET YOUR GAME FACE ON – Agent Pitch Workshop – This workshop is sponsored by the OWC and will take place Tuesday April 3rd at Trent University, Oshawa Campus. This is open to EVERYONE…not just conference attendees. Full details on the GET YOUR GAME FACE ON page of the Ontario Writers’ Conference

The 2nd OWC event is the FESTIVAL OF AUTHORS! We are taking this to a different location this year. This popular event will now take place on the evening prior to the Ontario Writers’ Conference. This years authors include; MARINA NEMAT, EVA STACHNIAK & BRAD SMITH. Friday May 4th, from 7PM -10PM at Al Dente Restaurant, 1305 Pickering Parkway, Pickering, Ontario. ALL CONFERENCE ATTENDEES CAN ATTEND THE FESTIVAL FREE OF CHARGE. If you are not coming to the Saturday conference, you can still attend the festival, but you MUST register ahead! You can pay the $20 fee at the OWC Paypal page. Click here for full FESTIVAL INFORMATION.

The 3rd OWC event is the conference itself. This takes place on Saturday May 5th at the beautiful DEER CREEK GOLF AND BANQUET FACILITY in Ajax, Ontario. You can check out ALL speakers and workshop presenters here. Workshop descriptions are here.

For REGISTRATION information, click HERE.

There is an EXCELLENT assortment of Ontario Writers’ Conference videos to be found at the OWC Youtube page here. For your immediate viewing pleasure, here’s a look at last year’s guest speaker Andrew Pyper:

So, if you live in Toronto…know that you are missing out on an AMAZING thriving artistic community just outside your doors. Don’t be afraid to make the trip east. We’re JUST OUTSIDE Scarborough.