100 Schools Tour continues with Juno's Reward

Written and Directed by Megan Watson

1 VAN, 3 ACTORS, 2450km, 33,000 STUDENTS

February 24 to May 15, 2020

March Break on the McManus Stage—March 16 to 21, 2020

February 24, 2020 - The Grand Theatre is proud to announce the continuation of their award-winning initiative, 100 Schools, that commences this week with JUNO’S REWARD, a brand new play written and directed by the Grand’s own Artistic Associate, Megan Watson. 100 Schools, a Grand Theatre program in its second year, tours professional theatre to elementary school gymnasiums across London and the surrounding area at no cost to the schools. By the end of this production, every elementary school within the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) and the London District Catholic School Board (LDCSB), as well as schools administered by the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, the Oneida Nation of the Thames, and many homeschool students will have benefitted from this incredible opportunity. This new play, developed through the COMPASS New Play Development Program, is a celebration of Canadian music and the brilliance and talent of our region’s students. The TVDSB, the LDCSB, and the Grand worked together to confirm a schedule that will take JUNO’S REWARD to 100 schools in the region, with cast and crew hitting the road the week of February 24.

“When we started this project two years ago, we realized that due to the vast number of schools in our region we couldn’t reach every elementary student in one year. 2020 marks the culmination of our project—by the end of this year’s tour, we will have reached out to every elementary school within the region. On our first tour, we became so inspired by the students. Listening to the children’s reactions and seeing what they responded to, really demonstrated the difference that live theatre can make,” said Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum. “This time around, we created a show with them in mind. We realized that writing and setting a show such as JUNO’S REWARD, here in London, Ontario, would have even more resonance than ever.”

The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of the sponsors and donors of the 100 Schools Project tour, including Presenting Sponsor 3M; Program Partners TVDSB, LDCSB, Libro Credit Union, Westminster College Foundation, CIBC Wood Gundy|Burnett Okanski Dale Financial Group , MacMaster Chevrolet, as well as the Grand Theatre’s London Proud Club.

There will be two performances each day, Monday through Friday, excluding weekends and holidays, with the first on Monday, February 24. Each morning, the tour starts with the cast and crew packing the set, props, and costumes into the official 100 Schools tour van donated by MacMaster Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC Ltd., departing to the first school, and loading in. The three-person cast performs a fun and energetic music-filled 60-minute performance, after which the crew strikes the set, packs the van, and heads off to the second school of the day. It’s a routine that will be repeated 52 times during the tour. In all, the cast and crew will perform 114 shows to over 33,000 elementary school students, and travel approximately 2,450 kilometres.

“The London District Catholic School Board is excited to be one of the 100 Schools tour sponsors,” said Kelly Holbrough, Superintendent of Education. “This is an excellent vehicle to provide students with an opportunity to experience the world of theatre and see it come alive in their own schools. We look forward to the celebration of Canadian music and seeing the work of a local talented Director and Writer.  The 100 Schools tour will support and enhance the music program in our schools.

“TVDSB values our relationship with the Grand Theatre,” said Mark Fisher, Director of Education for the Thames Valley District School Board, which supported the tour with a $10,000 sponsorship contribution. “We truly believe that experiences such as the 100 Schools tour have significant educational benefits and impact students’ academic, social, and emotional development. In such, we are committed to ensuring our students have ongoing opportunities to participate in the arts and we are happy to lend our support.”

“The Grand Theatre is incredibly grateful to both school boards for their continued commitment to the 100 Schools tour. Without their support, an undertaking of this size would not be possible,” said Executive Director Deb Harvey. “We would also like to acknowledge the extraordinary level of support we have received from our community and our many local partners, who help us bring this live theatre experience to so many students.”

JUNO’S REWARD is about Juno, a bright, young student, who is obsessed with all things social media, and is falling behind on her school work. She befriends her school’s new custodian, and they bond over their shared love of music. When a last minute school assignment results in Juno going viral online, her accidental fame has some unintended consequences, and she is confronted with a difficult choice. JUNO’S REWARD is filled with music, and features a cast of three performers: Natalia Gracious, Stephen Ingram, and Faly Mevamanana. The play also features an original song composed by London’s own Richard Gracious, and brother to actor Natalia.

In addition to the tour, the production has a limited March Break engagement on the McManus Stage from March16 to 21, 2020. Tickets are $15 and are available at grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street, London.

Recommended for ages 6+.

About the Grand Theatre –World Curious. London Proud.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through COMPASS New Play Development program. The Grand supports educational programming with The High School Project, the only program of its kind in North America, and 100 Schools, a community initiative that brings professional theatre to London-area schools at no cost. The Grand’s season runs from September to May.

For more information please contact:
Jennifer Matthews, Communications Manager, Grand Theatre
jmatthews [at] grandtheatre.com (jmatthews[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)
519-672-9030 ext. 411

Richard Hoffman, Public Affairs Coordinator, Thames Valley District School Board
r.hoffman [at] tvdsb.ca (r[dot]hoffman[at]tvdsb[dot]ca)
519-452-2000 x 20505
519-630-3846 (cell/text)

Mark Adkinson, Communication and Faith Liaison Officer, London District Catholic School Board
madkinson [at] ldcsb.ca (madkinson[at]ldcsb[dot]ca)
519-663-2088 x 40015


By Megan Watson
School Tour--February 24 to May 15, 2020
McManus Stage—March 16 to March 21, 2020


JUNO Natalia Gracious
MAC Stephen Ingram


SET & COSTUME DESIGNER Christine Urquhart
COMPOSER Richard Gracious