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Teens from Nanaimo bring home Joey Awards for performing arts

Brook DeSchutter, Avari Dodd and Abigail McCorquodale combine to win four awards
Brook DeSchutter, left, Avari Dodd and Abigail McCorquodale on the red carpet at the ninth annual Joey Awards, held Nov. 19, in Richmond. (Leslie DeSchutter Photo)

Three young Nanaimo women represented the city well at a prestigious performing arts awards gala this month.

Brook DeSchutter, Avari Dodd and Abigail McCorquodale were celebrated at the ninth annual Joey Awards in Richmond on Nov. 19, bringing home four awards between them.

The Joey Awards honour young performers across the country who are dedicated to their craft and includes categories for film and television, voice-over, competitive dance, and theatre and live performance. This year’s gala celebrated achievements for both 2021 and 2022 winners.

Dodd, 16, took home the Best Senior Ballet Solo as well as the Best Senior Tap Solo.

McCorquodale, 17, won Best Performer Portraying a Female in Musical Theatre for her role of Elle Woods in Dover Bay Secondary’s Legally Blonde, the Musical last December.

“I was really, really excited to do that show. It has been one of my favourites for a long time, and that was my first big leading role in a musical,” she said. “While it was very exciting, I did feel a little bit of anxiety with all of the pressure of having to carry something that big, but it was an amazing experience. I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.”

At the gala, she said she was very thankful for all the support her school has given her, especially that of drama teacher Alex Brennan.

DeSchutter, 16, won the Best Performer Portraying a Female in a Student Short Film in the 15 and over category for her lead role in Operation 16, a six-minute dark comedy about a crime family and a 16th birthday initiation rite.

In June this year, she was also awarded Best Young Actor from the New Jersey Film Awards for the same short film.

DeSchutter was also a Joey Award Best Young Host nominee in 2020 for her podcast, Brook’s Scoop, but due to COVID safety restrictions, the ceremony was held online that year.

Having won this year, she said she is inspired to do more work and was excited to attend the gala in-person.

McCorquodale said this year’s Joeys were held in a large ball room at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel where attendees could walk the red carpet with professional photographers.

“You feel like you’re almost going to the Oscars or something, but it’s just a bunch of kids,” she said. “So even though everybody’s in all these crazy dresses and suits … you’re also eating chicken fingers and fries at the dinner. It was a cool experience because it combines that specific feeling of how you’re definitely still a kid within this really professional art form.”

READ MORE: Teen actress from Nanaimo wins award for role in Lifetime channel TV movie

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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