Get to know the team and purpose of STF


Superior Theatre Festival advances the appreciation of the arts by producing and presenting high-caliber contemporary work that celebrates our Northern Voice and by creating enriching opportunities through arts education and dialogue.  


Superior Theatre Festival aims to respond to the diversity of practice and culture that exists in Thunder Bay and to programming a variety of multi-disciplinary work from local and national companies.  It is committed to providing affordable, high-quality performances and to providing opportunities for collaborations between local and national artists to further artistic practices.  STF nurtures the creation of new work, encourages experimentation and creates opportunities for youth engagement. 


  • To provide affordable, high-quality artistic performances for the community of Thunder Bay and its surrounding area.

  • To produce and present multi-disciplinary work 

  • To present an annual event in the Spirit Garden that respects its heritage and natural surroundings.

  • To create a theatrical event that contributes in a meaningful way to the communities in Northwestern Ontario by helping to foster its unique Northern Voice

  • To develop partnerships with businesses and other local organizations to promote the Thunder Bay region and encourage tourism.

  • To develop collaborations between local and national artists to create an opportunity for growth in artistic practices and create opportunities for exchange and dialogue between festival artists and the local community.

  • To develop educational programming in the arts for young people and for audiences to engage with the work

  • To play a role in the national presenting ecology as a stop between the major centres of Sudbury and Winnipeg.


2020 STAFF


Artistic Director & Managing Director

Donna Marie Baratta is a Director, Choreographer, Producer, Educator and Performer who makes Toronto and Thunder Bay her home. She is the Artistic Producer and Co-Founder of Present Danger Productions and a core artist of [elephants] collective.  

Donna Marie’s career has taken her right across Canada, the United States and to Europe (Paris, Belgium and Luxembourg) working in dance, drama, musical theatre, industrials, opera, and film.  Selected credits include James and the Giant Peach Jr., Salt-Water Moon,  Night Wings (STF), girls! girls! girls! (SummerWorks 2013), Medea (Studio Theatre), Living with Henry (Best of Fringe, Next Stage  and NYMF 2012), The Murmuration of Starlings (New Works Festival), How I Learned to Drive (U of A), Death and the Maiden (U of A), Fool for Love (Playwright’s Project), Embedded (U of A), Low Level Panic (U of A), Strange Mary Strange (SummerWorks 2011), Aftershock (SummerWorks 2010),

Candide (U of T Opera MFA), Honk (DaCapo Productions), Footloose (Rose Theatre/BMT), Perfect Life (Poor Alex Theatre), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (DaCapo Productions), The Vagina Monologues (TBVPAC), Gone for a Dance (Samsa Films). 

She has performed in various mega-musicals: Crazy For You (Mirvish Productions), Sunset Boulevard (Live Entertainment) and in other productions at the Charlottetown Festival and Magnus Theatre. 

Donna Marie is a graduate of the MFA Directing program at the University of Alberta and a passionate Arts educator. She has taught for twenty years with both the Lakehead Public School Board and currently the TCDSB (Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts).  She has also taught at the University of Alberta, Randolph Academy and many other dance studios across Canada. 

She is a member of Actors Equity, a full member of C.D.T.A stage division (Tap and Jazz) and a Past-President of CODE. She is a member of the Lincoln Center's Directors Lab in NYC, Director's Lab West (LA), Director's Lab North (Toronto) and was nominated for the Gina Wilkinson Prize.  donnamariebaratta.com @directorhaven



Production Designer

Nancy is an inaugural member of the Creative Team of Superior Theatre Festival, and has designed all four seasons.  Recent design work includes Punk Rock (Howling Company), Dark Heart (Food for Thought), Othello (Driftwood), Deceitful Above all Things (Storefront), Of Human Bondage (Magnus), Desdemona (Three Sisters), Hamlet (Hart House), Waterfront: The Blessing, Shed & Rabbit Rabbit (Summerworks), Le Magicien d’Oz (Théâtre La Roulotte), Cabaret, Stop Heart, and Shouting (National Theatre School). Beyond designing independently she has been Assistant Designer at the Stratford Festival (4 Seasons), and recently completed a remount of Grease (Irregular Entertainment). Awards include a recent Dora Nomination for costume design, Ian and Molly Lindsay Young Design Fellowship, Tom Patterson Guthrie Award, & Peter Dwyer Scholarship. She is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada, and holds a BFA in Theatre Production & Design (University of Victoria), and a Diploma in Set & Costume Design (National Theatre School of Canada).



Outreach Manager

Jessica is a local artist who was born and raised in Thunder Bay.  A graduate of Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts her select performance credits include Sponge in STF’s James and the Giant Peach TYA, Mother and others in Miracle of 34th Street (Magnus Theatre), Vicki in The Full Monty (Cambrian Players), Opening Ceremonies 2012 London Paralympics and Jim Bett's Little Women (Bathurst St. Theatre).  She also works behind the scenes as 10x10’s Talent Manager. Somewhere in there she still manages to find time to run her own performing arts studio, Jkrasy’s Kreative Arts.


Communications Manager

Katherine is a performer, choreographer, and producer currently living in New York City. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Katherine is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch New Studio on Broadway with a BFA in Drama. Performance credits include Off-Broadway: ​Turkeys Go On Strike, Sleepy Hollow (Players Theatre).​ NYC: ​Anything Goes (​Riverside Theatre),​ Fun Home, Urinetown, Tuck Everlasting, Medusa (​NYU Tisch). Regional: Lola in ​Damn Yankees (BroadwayWorld Award), ​The Murder Room, The Music Man, La Cage Aux Folles ​(Woodstock Playhouse), ​Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, The Music Man​ (Berkshire Theatre Group). Toronto: ​Shevil (​Toronto Fringe), ​Chicago, The 39 Steps (Cardinal Carter Theatre), ​Thoroughly Modern Millie, Fame, Singin’ In The Rain ​(Theatre Passe Muraille)​, Les Miserables, The Drowsy Chaperone (​Berkeley Street Theatre). Choreography credits include: ​The Wives of Henry The Eighth (Off-Broadway),

 Defying Gravity, Despite The Dark ​(Berkshire Theatre Group), ​Lousie, Feelings: A song cycle (​ NYU Tisch), ​Chicago, Shevil, Annie, Fame ​(Toronto). Katherine is also the Assistant to the Artistic Producer of Eclipse Theatre Company, under Chilina Kennedy, as well as an assistant with The Verdon/Fosse Legacy LLC, and an assistant to Broadway choreographer Josh Prince’s at Dance Lab New York. Katherine is so excited to help STF grow and work alongside this fabulous team! katherine-winter.com. @katherine.winter




Award winning artist Eleanor Albanese has spent her life immersed in the arts through theatre, film-making, and arts education.  Her many plays for young audiences have toured nationally from coast to coast.  Eleanor's film, Under the Pearl Moon, co-directed with Sonja Obljubek, opened in 2014 in Zagreb, Croatia and won the Peoples Choice award at the Bay Street Film Festival. 

Eleanor has also presented at conferences from Vancouver to Toronto to Nova Scotia.   In her invitational style of teaching, Eleanor guides participants to connect with their own creativity through mixed media works, drama, collage, marionettes and a variety of other expressive art forms. In all of her work, Eleanor seeks to engage community and encourage others to find and explore their own unique creative voice.



Danny is a well-respected singer/songwriter who has performed at many venues and festivals around the world over the years. As a musician/musical director and multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, guitars, percussion), he has performed with such legendary artists as Bo Diddley, The Temptations, Bob Newhart, Paul Shaffer, Hal Linden, Red Skelton, Bob Hope, Tom “Bones” Malone, Theresa Tova, Jack de Keyzer, Detroit Women, Long John Baldry, The Lamont Cranston Blues Band, Tony “Little Sun” Glover, Sherman Robertson, Studebaker John, and Paul James.

An accomplished jazz pianist, Danny performs many solo gigs as well as those with his Trio, and is considered world -class as a jazz musician. His rock/ r& b band 21 Gun Fun has performed at hundreds of events over the past few years.

He has composed the music for many award winning films and Danny has worked as engineer/producer for dozens of album and film projects at his facility, Danalog Studio. Danny is also and actor, having performed in over fifty productions across the country.



Teacher Liaison - Drama Teacher at Hammarskjold High School

Sharon studied Music at the Univeristy of Windsor and Lakehead University,  and finished her education degree in Music and tTheatre Education at OISE at the University of Toronto.  She has been a Music and Drama Educator with Lakehead Public Schools for 15 years. She has performed in some school, community and local theatre productions and is passionate about getting kids involved in music and theatre. She believes that music and theatre changes lives! Aside from directing high school musicals, and music and theater school events, teaching private vocal lessons, and raising her own children she enjoys singing at local events in her hometown of Thunder Bay whenever she can.


Youth Ambassador

Derek is an actor, singer and performer who was born and raised in Thunder Bay. He is a student of Hammarskjold High School and is a proud Hammarskjold Viking. He has been performing since he was 9 years old, and has performed in over 45 musicals, plays and theatrical productions. Select performance credits include Matilda, 9 to 5, Disney’s Newsies, Anything Goes, The Sound of Music, Hairspray Jr, Bye Bye Birdie, Grease (Paramount Live), Bring it On the Musical, Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde (Applauze Productions), Disney’s Frozen Jr, The Wedding Singer (Hammarskjold High School), Migration Paths (Magnus Theatre), Alex the Artist (STF).  Derek was recognized in 2018 as TBShows’s Favourite Actor, as well as being voted in the “Best Actor” category in the Walleye Magazine in 2017 and 2018. Instagram: @derekro.y


Youth Ambassador

Eliza Goodwin is 16 years old and born and raised in Thunder Bay. From a young age Eliza has been involved in local theatre, starting with her participation in the production “Clowns” when she was 6 years old. Through this experience she discovered her love for the stage and the many aspects of theatre arts. Since her very first production Eliza has adventured out into our local theatre community. For the past 6 years she has been part of Eleanor Drury Children’s Theatre group and has also participated in the Superior Theatre Festival since it’s launch in 2016.

Eliza’s involvement in local theatre has crossed over into school experiences where she has directed and performed in several different plays. Most recently she was Snow White in her school’s production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. To further enhance her theatre experience she has participated in vocal lessons. Eliza would like to personally thank Donna Marie Baratta (Artistic Director) for this amazing opportunity as a youth ambassador for the Superior Theater Festival.




Batia is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Associate Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies at Lakehead University.  Her research areas include Canadian and American Literatures and Film with an emphasis on immigrant narratives, the gothic in literature and film, photography, and dance studies. In her poetry, she explores themes of isolation and acculturation. In photography, she explores the abstraction of everyday life. Batia, born in Mexico City, moved to Oakville, Ontario, in 1982. She holds a B.A. Hons. from Carleton University, an M.A. from Concordia University, and a Ph.D. from Memorial University.


Vice-Chairperson and Treasurer

Fiona graduated from Lakehead University with a degree in H.B. Commerce as a Marketing Major with First Class Standing in 1995.  Her career in media began at Dougall Media in television writing and producing commercials before she added radio and print work to her portfolio.  For the last 16 years she has been the Host for Around Town (community interviews) and various news segments, a Weather Anchor for the News Hour and worked in the Promotions Department producing content for seasonal promotions and web content (writing and editing news features, television programs, and special projects).

She produced the Mother’s Day Telethon multiple times and she has also written an editorial column Fi-TV for The Source weekly paper for the last 12 years.  In her spare time, she has volunteered with Shelter House, the Humane Society, Child Find and the United Way.


Krista Willson graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from Lakehead University in 2008. Krista has worked within the Healthcare sector for over six years beginning with the First Nations Inuit Health Branch at Health Canada and most recently working in procurement within the Northwest Supply Chain at St. Joseph’s Care Group. She excels at budgeting and procurement management. Since joining the Northwest Health Alliance in 2015, Krista has obtained her Certified Associate in Project Management designation and also completed the Rotman School of Management Health System Leadership Training Level 1 & 2.


Board Member

Chris is a born and raised Thunder Bay performer. He is a newcomer to the world of acting but has experience with musical theatre and performing live. Chris brings his creativity and energy on any project including his career as a musician. He has worked on several projects over the last couple of years including Broadway on Bay, Broadway on Bay the Magic of Musicals, “Hand in Hand” a college thesis film and his debut EP, “All In”.


Board Member

Jean-Paul is currently a Superintendent with the Lakehead District Catholic School Board.  Over the past 20 years he has worked as a High School teacher, Vice Principal, Principal and now Superintendent.  During this time, he has volunteered to support several sports teams and arts productions at the schools.  He is committed to supporting Art and theatrical presentations in the region and believes this years Festival will be a great success. 


Board Member

Andrea is currently the General Manager of Indigo Thunder Bay. She has been in retail leadership for over 20 years where she has excelled at supporting the growth of high performance teams and engaging with the community. With an educational background in psychology, Andrea enjoys finding out what makes people passionate about, and engaged with, the world around them. Having cut her theatre teeth on the stage of the White Rock Playhouse in British Columbia, Andrea has now worked with a number of theatre groups in Thunder Bay and is excited to help STF become an important facet of the Thunder Bay arts community. 


Board Member

Born and raised outside of Hamilton, Joel came to Thunder Bay in a roundabout way following a career as a Correctional Officer. Since then, he has graduated from Lakehead University’s Honours Bachelor of Commerce program as an Accounting Major. Currently employed at MNP in Thunder Bay, he is pursuing his Chartered Professional Accountant designation. As an advocate for community involvement, Joel has previously volunteered with the Martin Family Initiative, WBSC U18 Baseball World Cup, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Joel and his wife Kayla are looking forward to starting a family and enjoying the burgeoning arts and cultural scene in Thunder Bay.


LIL BERGAMO Chairperson

DAVE SHANNON - Vice Chairperson




Other subsequent Board Members: