Stratford Secondary School dedication on November 26

Stratford Central Secondary School’s new James C. Reaney Auditorium

Thank you all for coming to Friday night’s ceremony at Stratford Central Secondary School to dedicate its old auditorium, now the school’s drama centre, in honour of alumnus James Reaney.

The students gave a wonderful performance of Mimi Lights the Candle, a 1926 Christmas play by Edith Isham Coulter that James Reaney and his classmates put on at the school in 1943. As well as the carols in Mimi, students also sang “The Girls at Swift’s,” a song from King Whistle!, a play James Reaney wrote for the school’s centennial in 1979.

Special thanks to Stephanie Nescier for her excellent direction, and to Anne Swerdfager and the other members of the original 1979 cast of King Whistle! for singing along.

Thanks also to Ron Dodson for organizing this event, and to Lois Tarr, James Reaney’s classmate, for keeping her copy of Mimi Lights the Candle all these years. We know Dad would have been thrilled to be honoured in this way and to see you all enjoying the play.

James Stewart Reaney (James Reaney’s son) and his wife Susan Wallace

James Stewart Reaney with Lois Tarr

November 26: The play was performed on the main floor and the audience was seated on the stage and around the performers. (Photo by Leith Peterson)

A scene from the play:

On Christmas Eve, Laura, Mimi’s long-absent mother, returns home.

Mimi:      But you came!

Laura:     Yes, because it was Christmas. My money was nearly gone,
but I managed to pay my fare here. And then Mimi’s candle drew me.

November 26, 2010: Stratford Central Secondary School students in a scene from Mimi Lights the Candle. Photo by Wilma McCaig.
November 26, 2010: Carollers from Mimi Lights the Candle, Stratford Central Secondary School. Photo by Wilma McCaig.