During the pandemic, people either couldn’t or didn’t want to go to the theatres so Barrie’s Theatre by the Bay brought plays to them.
The Ghost Watchers, a play produced by Theatre by the Bay in collaboration with Tourism Barrie, gave people pleasure of watching the play while roaming around the city. Both were awarded last year’s Mayor’s Innovation Award for “Creative Collaboration”.
“The show was essentially a combination of live theater and augmented reality technology that told the story of different ghosts around downtown Barrie,” said Iain Moggach, Artistic Director of Theatre by the Bay. He said some ghosts were fictional while some were based on historical figures. He was talking to Deepak B., Local Journalism Initiative reporter.
“Theater by the Bay was actually founded in 2001. It had its first season in 2002,” said Moggach. “Back in the day Theatre by the Bay did Shakespeare productions and shows for young audiences in a big tent by the water.”
Since then it has evolved into an innovative organization. The first ever Simcoe County Theatre Festival to be held in the second half of June will feature six original plays by local artists.
One particular play Moggach is excited about is focused around municipal politics in Barrie and a fictional mayor named Bev Worthington. Up for reelection, Worthington “turns to these two socialite ladies with super mansions along the bay for support and his reelection and ultimately, it turns into a battle between the two women to see who can seduce this mayor.” Moggach is also directing the play.
Theater by the Bay produces plays in collaboration with local organizations. Last fall it produced a play titled Mno Bimaadiziwin written by local Indigenous playwright Ziigwen Mixemong. “It told stories of indigenous experiences in Orillia. And that was very, very significant,” Moggach said.
Every month it runs an event at Barrie Public Library called Barrie Theatre Lab. “This is a space where people can submit their works in progress, like the scripts that they’ve been working on. And, and we, as a group, read them out loud and give feedback.” Moggach also invited Barrie residents to send their scripts or volunteer.