Saturday, 20 May 2017

ONstage Tonight at Festival: Sault Theatre Workshop

Sault Theatre Workshop—a frequent Theatre Ontario Festival participant in the 1970s and 1980s—returns to Festival for the first time since 1998, representing QUONTA (the northeastern Ontario community theatre association) with their production of Lucy, written by Damien Atkins (our recent Playwright-in-Person at Theatre Ontario Festival 2015 in Oshawa.)

The Sault Theatre Workshop is a non-profit organization devoted to the production and promotion of live theatre in and around Sault Ste. Marie with almost 100 members. The group was founded in 1948 and as they present their 68th season of quality productions, they look back with pride on their accomplishments. They have their own building, the Studio Theatre, which is their rehearsal hall, performance space, and teaching centre. It is an intimate little theatre with a usual set-up of table and chairs with candles on the table. The table set up allows the audience the comfort to enjoy beverages and delicious homemade treats during the show. The building seats 90 with a table-and-chair set-up, or 130 with just chairs. They currently present four productions a year and host a regional festival of one-act plays at the Studio Theatre. In addition, their studio is home to their young company, Stage1, who also present several events over the year including weekly drama classes.

Sault Theatre Workshop's production of Lucy
A world-renowned and much-respected anthropologist, Vivian is most comfortable in her world of quiet solitude, balking at even the idea of interaction with the outside world. Her life is abruptly changed, however, when her ex-husband shows up and asks Vivian to take their thirteen-year-old autistic daughter, Lucy, Reluctantly, Vivian agrees, although motherhood is something that she never desired. Overwhelmed by the particulars of Lucy’s care and unable to connect with her daughter at first, Vivian soon realizes that Lucy isn’t that different from her—socially awkward, emotionally withholding, and reclusive—and slowly comes to believe that she and Lucy are the next step in the evolutionary chain. A powerful play about the relationship between mother and daughter, the power of love, and the rare moments in life when something, or someone, comes along and forces us to re-evaluate our own lives and the way we respond to the world around us.

At QUONTA Festival 2017 in Timmins, Sault Theatre Workshop won Outstanding Production, Outstanding Direction (Randi Mraud), Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role (Calista Jones as Lucy), Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role (Mark Daniher as Gavin), Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Haggerman as Morris), and Adjudicator’s Awards for Sound Design (Michael Cuthbertson) and Set Design and Execution (Phil Jones, Fred McKey, and Rick Mooney), with nominations for Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role (Catharina Warren as Vivian) and Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role (Wendylynn Levoskin as Julia.)

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