Thunder Bay

Festival brings live theatre to north core

Thunder Bay theatre lovers have something to look forward to this summer.

Superior Theatre Festival debuts in August

Donna Marie Baratta, left, is the artistic director of the Superior Theatre Festival.

Thunder Bay theatre lovers have something to look forward to this summer.

In August, the Superior Theatre Festival will mark its debut season in Thunder Bay, Ont., bringing professional live theatre and other performance art to the city's north core.

"Our launch season is this year," said Donna Marie Baratta, the festival's artistic director and executive producer. "We're presenting the premiere of a new play by Eleanor Albanese that will be taking place in the Spirit Garden" at Marina Park.

"Around that, we have another component, which is our youth program. We have a one-week youth program that happens the last week of July."

Baratta said there's still room for more youth participants.

The festival will also bring in performers from out of town to showcase their one-act solo shows, Baratta said.

"We'll also do things like a community breakfast and ... improv games, and different things like that," she said.

Venues are still being booked, but Baratta said the festival will mainly happen in the city's north core.

"Community is sort of the big thing," she said. "I'm excited about people coming out."

"We want to make everything very accessible. We don't want to have really high ticket prices."

Community building

Baratta said live theatre plays a key role in building community.

"I think the arts has a special opportunity to open up conversations around family, around sometimes difficult topics," she said. "I think that that opens up a beautiful opportunity for compassion and empathy and just building of community around that."

"I think the arts, as a whole, can ... entertain, and educate, and challenge," Baratta said. "I think that's why I love it so much, and that's why I think it builds community."

The Superior Theatre Festival runs from Aug. 5-7.

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