Gore Bay Theatre takes QUONTA gold

QUONTA 2019 adjudicator Bea Quarrie, right, joins the cast and crew of Gore Bay Theatre’s production of ‘This Is How We Got Here’ as she awards the ensemble with the 2019 QUONTA Outstanding Production Award.

Brings home largest-ever number of award recognitions and will go on to represent the North in provincial drama event

SAULT STE. MARIE—The cast and crew of the Gore Bay Theatre (GBT) production of the Keith Barker play ‘This is How We Got Here’ will be heading to Richmond Hill on May 16 to perform at the Theatre Ontario Festival following their Outstanding Production Award win at this year’s QUONTA Festival held in Sault Ste. Marie March 13 through 17. In fact, this year’s QUONTA award haul is the largest on record, with six awards and 13 nominations.

“The adjudicator (Bea Quarrie) was very positive of the whole production,” said GBT co-director Walter Maskel. The GBT team were pretty much at least nominated in every category in which they were eligible—they missed out on the supporting actor/actress awards, but then they didn’t have any supporting cast. Each of the four cast members were nominated in their respective categories, Will Smith and John Robertson were both nominated for outstanding male in a leading role, while Tara Bernatchez and Shannon McMullan were both nominated for outstanding female in a leading role.

In addition to the top ensemble award and aforementioned awards, the folks at GBT hauled home another bushel of accolades.

Co-directors Andrea Emmerton and Walter Maskel won the Outstanding Directors Award as well as being nominated for an Adjudicator’s Award for Risk Taking. Mr. Maskel also can lay claim to a significant role in the GBT’s success in bringing home the Outstanding Visual Presentation and Outstanding Technical Presentation category awards.

“The adjudicator said that the set ‘looked magical’,” said Mr. Maskel. “She said it reflected the ‘beauty of the Northern landscape’.” Mr. Maskel designed the set to evoke the majesty of the Northern forests and the larger 40-foot-deep QUONTA stage highlighted the set layout’s strengths with near perfection.

The set design for ‘This Is How We Got Here’ combined with the lighting at the QUONTA 40-foot deep stage in Sault Ste. Marie to create a magical representation of the majesty and wonder of a Northern Ontario forest.

The GBT stage team also won the Adjudicator’s Award for Outstanding Ensemble thanks to their collective efforts and the Adjudicator’s Award for Special Achievement in Original Music was won by GBT composer Vern Dorge.

“That is one of the most wonderful awards at the festival,” said Mr. Maskel. “The Outstanding Ensemble Award illustrates how the actors worked together to really bring the production to life.”

The GBT crew were nominated for the Adjudicator’s Award for Special Achievement in Stage Management and Bill Viertelhausen was nominated for an Adjudicator’s Award for Festival Hero—an award that specifically recognizes the efforts of those “unsung heroes” whose work behind the scenes plays such a critical role in the success of a stage production.

All-in-all, it is a pretty impressive haul in anyone’s calculation. The good news is that the production is planned for the GBT summer theatre stage this season, so those who missed the three-day run earlier this month will get an opportunity to check it out when the warm weather returns with our summer visitors.

In other reports from QUONTA, when it comes to heroic efforts in the realm of the tradition of the “show must go on,” the efforts of Elliot Lake’s ELATE troupe drew accolades from all corners. ELATE cast members took to the stage and presented an outstanding and credible production, despite their set and costumes (not to mention their home stage, theatre and nearly a trio of cast members) being trapped in the recent collapse of the Pearson Centre roof.

“They managed to suspend the audience’s disbelief despite all of those challenges,” said long-time Espanola Little Theatre alum Dario Laurenti. “When they bent over to tie their ‘skates,’ you believed they were getting ready for a hockey game. They were truly amazing.”