Gore Bay Theatre ‘best in the North’

Kayla Greenman (Agnes), Tara Bernatchez and Shannon McMullan ponder the mysteries explored by the Gore Bay Theatre production of John Peilmeier’s ‘Agnes of God.’

Wins at QUONTA with ‘Agnes of God,’ Theatre Ontario competition is next

SAULT STE. MARIE—The Gore Bay Theatre (GBT) has done it again—winning several awards at the annual QUONTA Festival for its production ‘Agnes of God’ including Outstanding Visual Presentation, Outstanding Supporting Actress (Shannon McMullan for her role as Mother Superior), Outstanding Production, Outstanding Original Music with actor Kayla Greenman receiving an Adjudicator Award for “her passion and willingness to grow.”

“We were thrilled,” said GBT ‘Agnes of God’ co-director Andrea Emmerton of the production’s success at QUONTA. “You never know the quality of the other shows or the adjudicator, but we knew going into the festival we had a strong production.”

Ms. Emmerton exclaimed that the overall festival was “wonderful,” noting the calibre of the workshop and the work of the Sault hosts.

“Adjudicator Maja Ardal had an amazing workshop on movement and direction,” said Ms. Emmerton. “It was nice to be in the Sault. They (organizers) did a great job with the festival.”

Winning Outstanding Production means that the GBT now advances to represent Northeastern Ontario at the Theatre Ontario Festival in Oshawa in mid-May.

The Gore Bay Theatre’s ‘Agnes of God’ company with their QUONTA awards including, from right, co-director Andrea Emmerton, co-director Walter Maskel and actresses Shannon McMullan, Kayla Greenman and Tara Bernatchez.
The Gore Bay Theatre’s ‘Agnes of God’ company with their QUONTA awards including, from right, co-director Andrea Emmerton, co-director Walter Maskel and actresses Shannon McMullan, Kayla Greenman and Tara Bernatchez.

“It is a real feather in our cap, being a theatre company from a small community and to be representing Manitoulin and Northeastern Ontario against much larger companies from larger towns and cities who have larger pools of actors and more resources,” Ms. Emmerton told The Expositor. “The competition is always fierce and we are really looking forward to it.”

GBT’s production of John Pielmeier’s ‘Agnes of God’ stars Tara Bernatchez, Shannon McMullan and Kayla Greenman and is directed by Andrea Emmerton and Walter Maskel.

In the production, a young nun, Agnes, played by Ms. Greenman, is charged with manslaughter after the death of an infant. The court appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Livingstone, played by Ms. Bernatchez, tries to evaluate the sanity of Agnes, while Mother Superior, played by Shannon McMullan, tries to shield Agnes from the probing psychiatrist.

Ms. McMullan was also happy with the production’s overall success at QUONTA this year, and her award.

“This is not my first theatre festival award, but it is my first award with the GBT,” explained Ms. McMullan. “I was very honoured. The adjudicator prefaced presenting the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress by saying that she didn’t see any of the roles in ‘Agnes of God’ as supporting.”

“I knew we had a good show with song content and a very talented cast,” continued Ms. McMullan. “We (the GBT) all worked very hard as a team.”

“We also received the award for Outstanding Original Music,” said Ms. McMullan, noting that she wrote and performed (on flute) one of the tracks. “The other artists on the original soundtrack include the late Bob Sproule and Jean Lavalle.”

The GBT has an impressive past, winning QUONTA four of the last five times the company has entered the festival.

In addition to taking ‘Agnes of God’ to the Theatre Ontario Festival in Oshawa later this spring, the GBT has also added it to its summer schedule in Gore Bay this July and August. The other productions this summer will be Joe DiPietro’s romantic comedy ‘The Last Romance’ and Robert Munsch’s ‘Murmel, Murmel, Murmel,’ a GBT Young Company production.