Friday, 18 May 2018

ONstage Tonight at Festival: Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble

ELATE's production of Tempting Providence
The representative from QUONTA—the northeastern Ontario community theatre region—is making their Theatre Ontario Festival debut.  Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble (ELATE) represents the province’s north with their production of Tempting Providence by Robert Chafe.

Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble (ELATE) was formed in the late 1990s. The uranium mines in Elliot Lake were closing and to survive, the community was re-purposing itself as a retirement community. A group of young retirees brought new energy to the community; a group of seasoned locals were just waiting. Since then, ELATE has become a group of dedicated to presenting live theatre as a form of recreation and entertainment for the community. Participation in QUONTA has spurred the company to achieve even greater goals. ELATE operates in the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre which is maintained by the City of Elliot Lake as a cultural centre. We share a storage/rehearsal space with another group that presents lip-sync presentations and a group of printmakers. The centre has a comfortable 300-seat theatre having a 40-foot  stage. It regularly hosts travelling professional musicians and performers, and 2018 was the fourth time it has hosted the QUONTA Festival.

Tempting Providence tells the story of Nurse Myra Bennett. Myra came in the early 1920s to serve as district nurse for out port communities along the west coast of Newfoundland. She was hired for two years. When that was done, she married and stayed. For the next 40 years, she for the most part did the job for free. The community of Daniel’s Harbour holds Myra in high esteem. The Nurse Myra Bennett Foundation maintains her home as a museum. They continue to raise funds to support young people entering the medical profession and they commissioned this play, written by Robert Chafe. The play has toured Newfoundland and across Canada. It is performed regularly in nearby Cow’s Head as a tourist attraction. ELATE is proud to honour Myra and nurses like her who contribute so much to our communities.

At QUONTA Festival 2018 in Elliot Lake, ELATE won Outstanding Production, Outstanding Director (Murray Finn), Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role (Kim Arnold as Myra), Outstanding Technical Achievement (Doug Robinson for Lighting Design), and an Adjudicator’s Award for Outstanding Original Composition (Ponto Paparo), with nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role (Jim Graham as Angus), Outstanding Supporting Actress (Fran Perkins as Woman), Outstanding Supporting Actor (David Black as Man), and Outstanding Visual Presentation (Murray Finn for innovative staging).

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