The shows must go on

Left, Walter Maskel and Andrea Emmerton of Gore Bay Theatre display one of the many provincial and regional awards the theatre group has won over the years.

Gore Bay Theatre duo did it all this season

GORE BAY—When you look at the program for Gore Bay Theatre’s latest summer productions, ‘Molly Sweeney’ and ‘On a First Name Basis,’ there are only two names listed for production staff, Andrea Emmerton and Walter Maskel. However, the many jobs required to produce one theatre production, let alone two, include a producer, director, stage manager, house manager, publicity manager, lighting and sound operator, set, lighting, sound, costume, poster, program design, set construction crew, and so forth.

As Mr. Maskel says, “we do it all because if we didn’t, there would be no theatre. On every program we note that if anyone is interested in helping on or off stage to please contact us.”

“It is a huge commitment, signing up for 12 performances in July, typically a vacation month,” said Ms. Emmerton.

Making it more challenging is the fact that they produce two shows and run them back-to-back so that audiences can see two different shows on consecutive nights. “No theatre group in the province offers this except Shaw and Stratford, which have multiple stages,” said Ms. Emmerton. “Given our small stage and small wing storage space, it requires a lot of imagination and thought to create two different sets that can be switched daily.”

The lighting and set designs created by Gore Bay Theatre have won numerous awards at the regional and provincial levels. Not only do they work tirelessly for Gore Bay Theatre, but also for the region, with Ms. Emmerton being the president of the Northern Ontario Drama Region (Quonta) and Mr. Maskel being the vice president. He is also a past president of the region.

People marvel abut how a small group can produce multiple shows, (in fact, some years the theatre has produced three summer productions), with such quality. “We are proud to say that Gore Bay Theatre has won more awards at theatre festivals than any other group in the province, and there are close to 100 competing groups.”

“It is a labour of love and a lot of hard work,” stated Ms. Emmerton.

That record of success and accomplishment is a fitting testament to their extraordinary talents and dedication to the art of theatre. Simply put, theatre is in their blood, and we are all inspired and fortunate for it.