GORE BAY – There are three theatre companies in Ontario that offer repertory theatre, that’s more than one production at a time in season, that would be the famed Stratford Festival, the almost as venerable Shaw Festival and… Gore Bay Theatre.
“We don’t talk about it all that much, but it is a very unusual thing for a theatre company to offer repertory theatre,” admitted Gore Bay Theatre co-director Walter Maskel. “It just isn’t done and for good reasons. It’s very challenging.”
Changing the sets on stage, moving the scenery from one production on one night to a completely different layout and set design on the next. Co-ordinating the players, even casting the players, presents immense challenges in such a small and rural company. But Gore Bay Theatre pulls it off. Not only pulls it off, but does so with award winning productions time and again.
“Another thing we don’t talk as much about as perhaps we should is that, as a group in the last 14 years, we have won more awards than any other company in the province both at QUONTA (the Northern Ontario theatre competition) and Theatre Ontario (the province-wide competition). “We have won more awards at QUONTA than any other company, we have won more awards than any other company at Theatre Ontario and we have won more awards than any other company competing in the province—we have been down south at Theatre Ontario than any other company.” That is stacked up against literally hundreds of other companies performing live theatre in the province.
“We offer repertory because it allows theatre goers on Manitoulin to take in two nights of theatre, something you just can’t get anywhere else in such a small community as ours,” said Mr. Maskel. “We think it is worth the extra effort involved.”
This year’s offerings are again a repertory effort, with a drama—‘This is How We Got Here’ by Keith Barker that took top honours at QUONTA this spring—and a series of five one acts and two monologues encompassing eight actors brought together for a delightful and light-hearted live theatre experience entitled ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine.’ Both productions co-directed by the impressive tag team of Mr. Maskel and Andrea Emmerton.
The drama has been performed before QUONTA, at QUONTA, at Theatre Ontario and, according to Mr. Maskel has gotten stronger with each showing. “We have tweaked it after each session and it is really, really strong,” he said. “We are all very proud of what we have created.”
The productions are not only Canadian theatre—they are theatre by Canadians and stand can stand toe-to-toe with anything offered anywhere.
‘This is How We Got Here’ takes to the stage at the Gore Bay Community Hall on July 10, 17, 23 and 31, 7:30 pm with tickets $20 in advance and $22 at the door.
‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’ runs in the same venue July 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26 August 1 and 2. Again at the Gore Bay Community Hall 7:30 pm with tickets $20 in advance and $22 at the door with the exception of the July 12 show, which is sponsored by the Gore Bay Rotary and features Burt Farm barbecue beef, baked potato, carrots, Caesar salad, dinner roll and dessert and costs $40.
Call (705) 282-2420 for reservations.