Skip to content

Personal journals, not history books, inspire Theatre By The Bay production

TBTB hits the road to Shanty Bay to tell the tale of local pioneer, Mary O’Brien

Theatre By The Bay (TBTB) hits the road in less than two weeks to showcase a local woman who helped shape and name what is now Shanty Bay.

Mary of Shanty Bay will be performed at the St. Thomas Anglican Church at 28 Church St. in Shanty Bay from May 25 to June 10 and tells the story of Mary O’Brien, the woman who not only named the little village but helped build it. TBTB executive director Iain Moggach served as a producer for this 2018 play and is very excited at being part of an on-site production.

“It certainly adds a bit of authenticity to the performances and production itself,” said Moggach. “Mary actually helped build that church with her own hands and she and her family are buried there too so it is a real honour to be able to do this.”

The play focuses on O’Brien and her and husband Edward’s life in the very remote and undeveloped area she named Shanty Bay back in the early 19th century. While history books are filled with information on the local pioneering woman, it is from her journals that the TBTB crew got their motivation for the play that will kick-off the 2018 season for the company and honour a woman at a time when woman’s accomplishments are rightfully being more recognized than ever before.

“We poured through the Journals of Mary O’Brien and found such an unbelievable story of resilience and local history that we had to tell this story to those who don’t know it,” said Moggach. “Leah Holder wrote the play and she and our artistic director Alex Dault went over to the church to do some research and someone was there to point them to gravesites and fill them in on some really cool tidbits. Being there and performing near her final resting place and where she struggled to build a life gives the show an almost spiritual connection; I don’t think we’ve been so dedicated to making sure a story was done with such a respect as this.”

For more information on the play and other shows being performed by TBTB this season, head to their website.

Evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on May 25, 26 and 31; and June 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9

Matinee performances at 2 p.m. on May 27; and June 3 and 10

Tickets are $25 and may be purchased from the TBTB website.