The love of drama has brought students and staff together from Bow Valley and Cochrane High to jointly produce a play for the Zone 5 One Act Play Festival now underway at Cochrane High.

On the opening day of the festival, Apr. 11, the two combined forces to present the comedy "Conflict" to the roaring approval of the crowd.

Teachers Adrienne Fossheim of Bow Valley and Cochrane High's Dustin Whetton planted the seeds last spring when they discussed the idea of combining the talents at both schools. The festival was seen as a perfect time for the first-ever joint performance.

Fossheim's suggestion of performing "Conflicts" resonated with Whetton.

"It was so hilarious and so playful that we figured for a show for the first collaboration that something playful and something that you can just go crazy and let go of the proper theatre etiquette was a good way to blend the two schools," says Whetton.

There is no drama without conflict and playwright Wade Bradford playfully toys with this theme in the 25-minute comedy. The actors certainly didn't hold back in their tongue-in-cheek performance. Not only did they connect with each other, but they also captured the audience, who responded with loud, spontaneous laughter and ovation throughout.

Clearly, the cast and crew enjoyed the experience.

Jonah Walisser is in his fourth year of drama at Cochrane High and played the narrator. He says the two drama programs coming together like this was something he never expected but he's glad it did.

"It was really cool to go through and experience all of this"

"The real fun part was working with people I'd never worked with before. Working with people from a different school was new and exciting."

Bow Valley's Jacob Hill, who played the protagonist, says he'll treasure the moment.

"Oh wow! This experience was definitely one for me to remember in the long run because I am beyond honoured to be selected to be part of this group. I've only been in theatre for two years so to be able to go from year one to year two and all of a sudden in year two I'm doing all this cool stuff with everybody is super awesome."

Cochrane High principal Ed Polhill and Bow Valley principal Jim Reilly were both in attendance during the performance and saluted the two drama programs on their initiative  They believe it amplifies the community spirit so evident in Cochrane. 

"The adjudicator spoke of the idea of community which is perhaps one of our pillars," says Polhill. "The opportunity that we had to work with the staff and students from Bow Valley to bring the two public high schools together is pretty cool."

"Once the kids leave the building, they're just kids in Cochrane," says Reilly. "Our job is to make sure every kid in Cochrane has a great experience and the community as a whole benefits from that. This is just a great example."

Both Polhill and Reilly have worked at both schools during their teaching careers.

Also working on the joint production were: Alex Waterhouse (antagonist one), Jared Lamontagne (antagonist two), Megan Ogilvie (woman one) and Avery Matson (woman two). Toby Carter was on sound and Emily Niccolls did lights.

The festival continues until late Saturday afternoon with the final performance beginning at 3:15 p.m. Both local high school have been presenting a number of independent productions. Drama students from Strathmore, Springbank, High River and Airdrie are also participating.

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