On May 24th, The Grand Theatre will host the 44th Annual Grand Gala by Sterling Marking Products, and honour Marc Hall at a sold-out event. Over fifteen years ago, Hall was the Oshawa high school student whose simple wish to take his boyfriend to the prom, ignited the media, started a successful legal battle against the Durham Catholic District School Board, and became one of the biggest news stories in the country. His story inspired a documentary Prom Fight: The Marc Hall Story, a TV movie Prom Queen and most recently, Prom Queen: The Musical.
The Gala has been themed as a ‘come WHO you are event’ and guests have been encouraged to come in their best Prom attire. Co-chairs Peter Markvoort and Collin Johnstone have spent months planning a night to remember, for both attendees, and for Hall.
Marc will be joined at the Gala by his partner Jerrod, as well as his mother and father, his brother, his sister-in-law, and his nephew.
“I can’t wait to share this special evening with my family at the Grand and am humbled by London’s support of my story. It was almost 16 years ago to the day that I successfully won the right to take my boyfriend to Prom. The support from my friends, my family, and my teachers helped me find my voice,” said Hall. “I know the High School Project, through theatre and the arts, gives students the very same opportunity to find their voice.”
The Grand announced in February, that Prom Queen: The Musical had been chosen for their 2018 High School Project, their acclaimed mentorship program unique in North America. The Project offers an opportunity for students to receive education and training in the working environment of a professional theatre. Students are mentored by professional artists in acting, stage management, props, wardrobe, scenic art, sound, lighting, orchestra, and photography – all culminating in a production on the Grand’s Spriet Stage – in this instance, from September 18th to 29th, 2018.
It will be the first time the project brings a new Canadian musical to stage. Originally developed through Sheridan College’s Canadian Music Theatre Project (Come From Away), the production premiered at Montreal’s Segal Centre for the Performing Arts in a held-over run. It was also presented at New York’s National Alliance of Musical Theater’s New Musical Festival. The award-winning production is a celebration of young people standing proudly for themselves, and will feature 50 students onstage and another 30 backstage, to bring an authentic voice to the remarkable story.
“Our stage will overflow with high school students playing high school students – how perfect. Come join us as we celebrate these young people – the hope and promise of our future.” -Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum
Proceeds from the Gala, will support the Make a Difference youth programs, which include the High School Project, as well as the Grand’s 100 Schools Program that tours a professional theatre production to 100 schools at no charge. This year, the Gala’s goal is to raise $200,000. They will kick off the Gala with Libro Credit Union’s announcement of its continued support as the Lead Community Partner of the Grand’s Make A Difference programs, and a commitment of $30,000
Visit The Grand’s website for more information.