Over the 23 years that the Gros Morne Theatre Festival has operated, many talented people have come through its doors and cut their teeth on great projects. Some have continued to work with the Festival over the years. Others have gone on to place their own mark on the national and international arts scene. Here is what remarkable talents have to say about their experiences with the Festival!
Berni Stapleton--Award-winning writer, actress and artistic director
"People want stories that they cannot find anywhere else. And TNL has made this their own particular mark upon the international theatre market. They connect with other rural communities globally, and therefore it is not uncommon to find a British playwright upon the beaches of Cow Head, or a TNL production in Tasmania. They have altered the trajectory of my own career, commissioning me consistently over the years to write such plays as The Double Axe Murders and Our Fanny, and they have produced other works of mine such as A Rum for the Money, and Brazil Square.
The play’s the thing with TNL, making them sought after by not only audiences, but by the crucial performers, playwrights, and designers from across the country who gravitate toward theatrical excellence. I could not imagine my life without TNL."
Robert Chafe--Governor General's Award-winning playwright
"I was first approached by Gaylene Buckle and Jeff Pitcher in 2000. And they pitched this idea they had for a show about Nurse Myra Bennett, who I knew nothing about. Within a couple of months I was rolling on writing what would become Tempting Providence. And that show went on to have a life with TNL, and still has a life with TNL, but it went on to tour all over the world for about twelve years. And that project and commission, that play and experience and that tour, truly changed my life as an artist and as a person.
What happened probably amazed me more than anyone else. To be sitting in a bar in Edinburgh and to have an artist from Ireland or Australia tell me that they saw their community in that play was ground-shaking for me. And it changed the way I work. All my work now is mining the local to find the universal, and it's been a tremendous gift.
I think the true weight and influence of companies like TNL in telling Newfoundland narratives and sharing Newfoundland culture will never be calculated."
Petrina Bromley--Broadway star, Come From Away
It's an incredible, one-of-a-kind place. I know that people say that about a lot of places in the world but Gros Morne is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's a very special place and the opportunity to create art and live in that environment for four or five months was just something unparalleled for me. It's like spending time in the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta because you're in this incredible natural environment that is just spectacular and cannot help but be inspiring for the work that is being done there.
TNL feels strongly about cultivating new work, and in that sense it's a wonderful place for writers because they are always looking for new material and they like to keep it relevant to the place and to our culture. So there are many amazing stories being created that would not be otherwise--if not for TNL.
It's also an incredible place for young actors who are coming directly out of the Theatre School in Corner Brook at Grenfell College. It's a step forward to move from a university experience to the professional world.