Gore Bay Theatre wins QUONTA Northern Ontario Drama Festival

Gore Bay Theatre won a total of six awards, including the Outstanding Production award, at the annual QUONTA (Northern Ontario Drama Festival) competition. From left are Gore Bay Theatre co-directors Walter Maskel and Andrea Emmerton, actors Will Smith and Tara Bernatchez, adjudicator Annette G. Procunier and actor John Robertson at the awards ceremony held this past Sunday in Espanola.

Will represent the North at Theatre Ontario in May

GORE BAY – Gore Bay Theatre has done it again! At the annual QUONTA (Northern Ontario Drama Festival) awards brunch held this past Sunday in Espanola, Gore Bay Theatre’s production of ‘Molly Sweeney’ by Brian Friel swept up six awards, including the Outstanding Production award, competing against groups from North Bay who received three awards as well as Espanola and Sault Ste. Marie that also received two awards.

Gore Bay Theatre’s production of ‘Molly Sweeney’ was one of the most powerful and compelling productions the Recorder has witnessed, so it was not surprising that the group did so well.

This matches the amount of awards, six, won by Gore Bay Theatre last year, including Outstanding Production for ‘This Is How We Got Here.’ 

Along with the Outstanding Production for ‘Molly Sweeney,’ Gore Bay Theatre also received the Outstanding Director Award for Andrea Emmerton and Walter Maskel, the Outstanding Visual Presentation award, the Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role for Tara Bernatchez (who played the role of Molly Sweeney), a special adjudicator’s award for Mary Anderson for composing and performing original music, and a special Adjudicator’s award for ensemble acting for Tara Bernatchez, John Robertson (in the role of Molly’s husband Frank), and Will Smith (in the role of ophthalmologist Dr. Rice). John and Will were also nominated for Outstanding Actor in a leading role, as well as the whole crew for Outstanding Technical Achievement.

Co-Directors Andrea Emmerton and Walter Maskel were thrilled at the results. Mr. Maskel said, “we were extremely pleased with the reception the play received in Gore Bay and the positive comments by the adjudicator (Annette G. Procunier) as well as the individual awards received by our company. It was particularly wonderful to receive the ensemble acting award. The adjudicator said that the acting was brilliant, working as a true ensemble with such believability that the audience was transfixed on the powerful story. That kind of teamwork, with all the actors working at the highest levels, is what we strive for.”

Ms. Emmerton added, “we have now been invited to represent Northern Ontario at the Theatre Ontario Festival in May, which features the top productions from the various regions in Ontario. The festival will be held in Sault Ste. Marie at a state of the art theatre, so it will be a challenge to adapt to the larger space. We will be busy over the next two months preparing for the trip. The hard work will be worth it because we are honoured to be representing our community, the Island and Northern Ontario.”

Gore Bay Theatre is the smallest community to compete at the Theatre Ontario Festival and is known throughout the province for its commitment to a high standard of excellence.Smith (in the role of ophthalmologist Dr. Rice). John and Will were also nominated for Outstanding Actor in a leading role, as well as the whole crew for Outstanding Technical Achievement.

Co-Directors Andrea Emmerton and Walter Maskel were thrilled at the results. Mr. Maskel said, “we were extremely pleased with the reception the play received in Gore Bay and the positive comments by the adjudicator (Annette G. Procunier) as well as the individual awards received by our company. It was particularly wonderful to receive the ensemble acting award. The adjudicator said that the acting was brilliant, working as a true ensemble with such believability that the audience was transfixed on the powerful story. That kind of teamwork, with all the actors working at the highest levels, is what we strive for.”

Ms. Emmerton added, “we have now been invited to represent Northern Ontario at the Theatre Ontario Festival in May, which features the top productions from the various regions in Ontario. The festival will be held in Sault Ste. Marie at a state of the art theatre, so it will be a challenge to adapt to the larger space. We will be busy over the next two months preparing for the trip. The hard work will be worth it because we are honoured to be representing our community, the Island and Northern Ontario.”

Gore Bay Theatre is the smallest community to compete at the Theatre Ontario Festival and is known throughout the province for its commitment to a high standard of excellence.