Un-hibernating the creative spirit

March 2024

While many of our woodland friends are emerging from winter hibernation, we also itch to get out of our caves to see what has been growing and brewing during the winter months. In terms of caves around Thunder Bay, here are a few events to check out this Spring before piling into cars to go to camp, travel, or wherever the road takes us.

The Spirit Horse Returns

After a very successful run last year, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra (TBSO) is thrilled to mark the return of the innovative and reflective presentation of The Spirit Horse Returns.

“On the surface, The Spirit Horse Returns is about the Ojibwe ponies of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario,” says Ryleigh Dupuis, Executive Director and Manager of TBSO. “However, it’s really a story about truth and reconciliation and the resilience of Indigenous Peoples of this land.”

With a script by Jodi Contin, Ken MacDonald and Rhonda Snow, music by Kevin Lau, original songs by Contin, and music and consultation by Andrew Balfour, The Spirit Horse Returns came to life from the ponies on MacDonald’s family farm in Manitoba and Snow’s passion and life work to save these ponies. With music, multimedia and visual arts, this experiential concert will feature conductor James Sommerville and the junior strings from the Thunder Bay Youth Symphony Orchestra (TBYSO) in a new longer format with even more music and stories audiences can enjoy.
MacDonald and Contin narrate this immersive experience that follows small stories crafting into one big story such as the ponies telling audiences about Tony stealing blueberries, Métis fiddling and discussion of residential schools.

“This show takes a subject that could be heartbreaking and makes it heartwarming,” says Dupuis.

The Spirit Horse Returns performs at the Community Auditorium on Sat. April 13th at 2 pm. For tickets, visit tbso.ca.

Spring Craft Revival

As the musical Camelot says the lusty month of May is the month where everyone goes astray. A place you can go astray with local artisans is at Thunder Bay’s Waterfront District for The Spring Craft Revival.

Perfectly timed before both the May long weekend and Mother’s Day, The Craft Revival presents the perfect opportunity to take the weekend to celebrate all the mothers and mother figures in our lives and give her some amazing local finds and creations.

“We’ve focused on curating a more intimate experience. It’s smaller in scale, which makes it much more walkable and conducive to connecting with the artisans,” says executive director Kara Pratt. “While it’s still bustling with activity, there’s this wonderful sense that everyone has a moment to catch their breath and truly appreciate the incredible work these artisans have poured their hearts into.”

As for where to start and what route to map, by following @craftrevivaltbay, you can prepare your starting point and map out your ideal journey into the wonders of our local artisans.
“We’re excited about soaking up all the incredible talent on display, whether it’s in a conventional or unconventional space,” says Pratt. “There’s something magical about connecting with both artisans and fellow shoppers, sharing in the creativity and passion that fills the air.”

The Spring Craft Revival is taking place on Sunday, May 5th in the Waterfront District. For more follow @craftrevivaltbay on Facebook and Instagram or visit www.craftrevival.ca


In the true nature of emerging from hibernation, local multi-disciplinary artist, Stefani Celine, will be marking her Cambrian Players directorial debut in their 74th season closing production, Sleuth.

Written by Anthony Shaffer, this classic suspense thriller follows mystery author Andrew Wyke bargaining a deal with his wife’s lover, Milo Tindle. However, once Tindle enters Wyke’s home, the authors obsession with mystery takes over as plot twists, games and thrills take over.

“I wanted to bring something a little different to the Cambrian Stage,” says Celine. “This show is basically a 2-hander and a thriller, a cast size and genre we do not see too often onstage. But it’s also a classic theatre piece with a lot to chew on.”

Sleuth will take audiences on a ride through the niches of classic mysteries, the suspense of thrillers, and the allure of games. With inspiration from the 1972 film Sleuth starring Michael Cain and Laurence Olivier. Celine is ready to combine this story with her many other talents into the show.

“I want to bring out that fun and joy that Wyke has for games and I hope my actors can really have some fun,” says Celine. “I’m a visual artist so I’ve spent a lot of time on the design process – designing the set and drawing out my vision for the costumes. I’m excited to see it all come together and to work with an awesome team who are going to add their own creativity to everything as well.”

Sleuth runs at the Cambrian Players Theatre (818 Spring Street) from May 22-25 and May 29-June 1. For more go to cambrianplayers.com or on Facebook or Instagram @cambrianplayers

Taylor Onski is a graduate of L.U. Master of Arts in English Literature, works in post-secondary education and is a freelance writer.

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