Hi <<First Name>>,

Well, 2021 has been quite the year! The holidays are a few weeks away, but the team at Theatre by the Bay continues to prepare for next season as the year winds down. Here's what we've been working on lately.

Vern Thiessen Announcement

Last week, we announced that Governor General's Award-winning playwright, Vern Thiessen, will be writing a new play for Theatre by the Bay's 2023 season. It will focus on the fascinating and wild world of Barrie's ice industry. Development on the play is already underway. Vern is working closely with local historian, Mary Harris, to learn about the history of the industry, the town at the time, and much more. I am already giddy with excitement over the conversations the two are having.  

This is an incredibly exciting moment for Barrie. Thiessen's works have been produced worldwide and widely acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been all these silver linings. One of the big ones was this commission. When we had to shift our Professional Workshop Series online, it opened up the doors for whom we could ask to instruct. Vern Thiessen is someone whose writings I have always deeply admired, so it made sense to ask him, despite him living in Edmonton. Vern gave a fantastic workshop and the two of us kept working together. Vern was able to assist as a Dramaturg on a play we have been developing for a future season. During one of our script development meetings, Vern offhandedly said, "You know, one of these days I am going to have to write a play about Simcoe County!" Of course, I asked if he was serious, and he said he was. "Well that is pretty cool," I thought to myself and I became determined to make this happen - recognizing what a huge opportunity this would be for TBTB and the community.

Because of the nature of my job, I have started creating a big list of stories, themes, books, etc. that I think could be a good launching point for a future TBTB show. I sent Vern this "menu" and both he and I were drawn to the story of Barrie's ice harvesting industry. With some help from our friends from the McGuire Trust, we were able to lock down Vern for this commission, and the rest, as they say, is history. Well, history in the making.
We're incredibly excited to have Vern Thiessen writing for Theatre by the Bay. 
Read the full announcement here.

Barrie Business Awards

A couple weeks ago, I was honoured to host the 2021 Barrie Business Awards for the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. And we are deeply grateful to the Barrie business community for recognizing Theatre by the Bay: we won Not-for-Profit Organization of the Year. 

This was a wonderful way to end a challenging year. TBTB is now the first arts organization to win this prestigious award. And, honestly, it felt right. Our artists and the whole TBTB team worked extremely hard to ensure that local artists were employed, and that unique theatrical experiences were produced. I am so delighted by what we have accomplished together and deeply humbled by this historic win.

However, it was not without fierce competition. Shak's World and Glowing Hearts are both FANTASTIC institutions that are doing extraordinary work in the community.

I would like to give a particular 'shout out' to Shak herself.

Recently, if you did not see the news, Shak was verbally assaulted outside of the Shak's World facility by a random racist who hurled disparaging comments at her. The video is out there, but be forewarned that it is truly shocking and upsetting. It speaks to the fact that racism is very real and very present in our community. However, it also speaks to the need and GIFT that is Shak's World - a space where Black members of our community can feel safe, connected, and empowered.

If you have the means, please consider making a donation to this wonderful and important group:
We are deeply honoured to be recognized by the Barrie business community with this award.

2022 Season Planning

To say we are deep into season planning for next year would be an understatement.  Major production roles have been filled, the scripts have been at least two years in development, and we are almost at the point of being able to make some (more) big announcements.

A lot of people might think that planning a season is something one does a year in advance, but in most cases, especially for a company like ours that focuses almost exclusively on new work, we try to think two or three years ahead. When the pandemic threw all of our 2020 programming out the window, however, it was another silver lining moment. We were given a chance to have a collective breath. This breath allowed us to slow down, focus on script development, and look at our practices overall.

While I cannot say much right now, I can say that I am ridiculously excited for you to see what we have in store next year. It is a year full of surprises, let me tell you.

I should also say how delighted I am by the reaction to our announcement of the Simcoe County Theatre Festival. This is something our community has needed for a long time and the enthusiastic response proves that our community is ready for the challenge and opportunity that it presents.

All this to say, stay safe and stay tuned.

To the road ahead!
If you'd like to hear more about what I'm up to or have questions about anything we're working on at Theatre by the Bay, I'd love to hear from you. Please email me at

Iain Moggach
Artistic Director of Theatre by the Bay
Email Iain
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