Superior Theatre Festival advances the appreciation of the arts by showcasing high-caliber contemporary work, programming work that celebrates our Northern Voice and creating enriching opportunities through arts education and dialogue.
WHAT WE BELIEVE IN
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 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.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SUPERIOR THEATRE FESTIVAL
Superior Theatre Festival is a professional multi-disciplinary festival that officially launched in Thunder Bay, Ontario on August 4th - August 7th 2016, activating a variety of indoor and outdoor sites, including the Spirit Garden at Prince Arthur’s Landing. Superior Theatre Festival has contributed in meaningful ways to the communities in Northwestern Ontario by showcasing local, regional, National and International artists in a variety of theatrical options, providing workshops and post-show discussions and through mentoring a Young Company.
Our Launch Party included Susan Dunstan (Broadway company of Come from Away) and Danny Johnson. We then produced Night Wings by Eleanor Albanese (a Thunder Bay playwright), which involved actors from Thunder Bay and Edmonton speaking not only their text but also closed captioning within each performance. This was followed by a community art-making project by Betty Carpick (connected to Night Wings), Moez Surani (a celebrated poet from Toronto) and a presentation of Jon Lachlan Stewart’s show Big Shot from Montreal. Our inaaugeral festival also included Community Breakfast and talk-backs after the shows
In our second year, in our core programming we produced Salt-Water Moon by David French. Overall, we had a greater representation of disciplines in the Festival. We introduced dance into the festival along with our Indie Stream to showcase local and regional talent. This included: Rain (short play) by Cathi Grandfield, One for Norma (short play) by Cathi Grandfield, In Memory of Dane Gerrous (short play) by Carole Sauve, Golf Lessons (short play) by Jane Crossman, Scrabble (short play) by Susan Rogers, The Moose’s Ransom (short play) by Carole Sauve, A Family Story (short play) by Taina Chahal, Speechless (staged reading) by Cathi Grandfield, Maelstrom (Dance) by Mikaela Demers and Will Hamilton, Scratchlings by Mothlight, Stories and Songs (Sean Jesseau and Mario Potestio), The Angies (a Rolling Stones, all female, tribute band), and Sunday Wilde and Reno Jack (Beat poems and songs). Instead of a Young Company this year we had a full one-week intensive where a group of 16 youths devised their own show and presented it during the Festival. as part of our Youth Summer Theatre Program Initiative. We finished off with an extended program of events; 41/2 Ignoble Truths by Thomas McKechnie, and Eating With Lola by Catherine Hernandez.
This year, STF partnered with Lakehead University, the City of Thunder Bay, Fay Gleeson Dance Centre and the Urban Abbey. Our Core Program included; James and the Giant Peach with local actors and our STF Young Company, Between Two Breaths, A devised piece with Thunder Bay actors and directors from around the world - in collaboration with World Wide Lab., what it’s like with adelheid dance projects (Heidi Strauss), and TBSO with Raine Hamilton and Zachary Lucky - Live at the Waterfront. In addition, we had a series of talks, symposiums, workshops including: A post-show discussion with members of World Wide Lab, a post-show discussion with cast and creative team of James and the Giant Peach and a post-show discussion with cast of what it’s like, Actor/Dancer There were also workshops with World Wide Lab Members and Heidi Strauss..
Launched an Indie Stream to showcase local and regional artists
Created a unique opportunity for provincial and national artists to access a new audience
Developed an audience base and began to nurture that relationship
Developed a network of artists and presenters who are interested in participating in Superior Theatre Festival’s programming
Supported the work of culturally diverse artists
Developed new partnerships with the private sector to encourage greater participation between the arts and community and to encourage tourism.
Developed the organization’s capacity to present a clear and strong artistic vision
Created a theatrical event that contributes in a meaningful way to the communities in Northwestern Ontario by helping to foster its unique Northern Voice
Developed educational programming in the arts for young people and for audiences to engage in respectful dialogue around important themes and issues.
Play a role in the national presenting ecology as a stop between the major centres of Sudbury and Winnipeg.
WHO WE ARE
DONNA MARIE BARATTA
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 nineteen years with both the Lakehead Public School Board and currently 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.
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.
Aleksa is an award-winning dancer/choreographer, and a graduate of the Broadcast Television Program at Confederation College where she was chosen to receive the “Dougall Media Quest for Excellence Award”. In addition, she is a freelance media artist and Director/Editor for the award winning documentary “The Road to Ogoki”.
In 2012, Aleksa co-founded the Superior Living Arts Collective with her sister, and began to devise multi-disciplinary productions. For the past 6 years, she has been directing youth productions for Eleanor Drury Children’s Theatre. Additionally, as Co-Executive Director of a local non-profit arts organization (CAHEP), she works with artists to bring professional and inclusive arts programs to youth and community members.
Aleksa has been developing innovative programming, productions and events in Thunder Bay for over 10 years and was named one of Thunder Bay’s “Top 20 Under 40”, receiving a 2018 NOVA Award in the Business and Professional Achievement Category.
Aleksa is thrilled to be joining the Superior Theatre Festival team, and is excited to see the event grow and thrive!
Katherine is a performer, choreographer, and producer currently living in New York City. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Katherine is a 2019 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-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
2018 STF Board Members
DR. BATIA STOLAR
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.
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.
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”.
ARTISTIC ADVISORY TEAM
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.
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.
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.
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.
FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS
LIL BERGAMO - Chairperson
TINA ZUSSINO - Vice Chairperson
JOHN BERGAMO - Treasurer
CARLA WHITNEY - Secretary