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“Winter” contrasts with warmth of Shallow Bay beach

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“Winter” is a new play for Theatre Newfoundland Labrador for the 2011 season and was written by Nell Leyshon, who has the reputation of being the first female playwright to be commissioned and produced by the Globe Theatre in London, England. The play deals with a mother (Elizabeth)and her 2 daughters (Sarah and Mary) who have just arrived from southwest England as they prepare for their first winter in Newfoundland. While enroute to Newfoundland Elizabeth’s husband has died in a fishing accident and so they arrive only to be told they are on their own in a foreign land. Will they stay or return on the last sailing ship of the autumn to England? We liked this play for its cast of believable characters and fine staging. It also reminded us of our first winter here when it snowed nonstop and we were hit by vicious storm after storm. In fact, one particularly intense storm that winter sunk the Ocean Ranger. It begs the question -how did the early fishermen survive? For more information on TNL’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival schedule or to book tickets to a show see- or call 1-877-243-2899.

A scene from "Winter" which is a new play for TNL this summer in Cow Head.

After the play we had a chance to chat to Deidre Gillard Rowlings (Elizabeth) and Anna Wheeler (Mary) and we asked them about how they prepared for the play. “I chatted to some of my aunts and uncles who grew up on the Northern Peninsula and they had to deal with some pretty harsh winter conditions” Deidre told us. As well we asked Deidre and Anna what they did on their time off and they both chimed in that they usually headed for Shallow Bay beach. Shallow Bay is one of the few sandy beaches in Western Newfoundland and it is just a couple of kilometers north of Cow Head. It is also a good location for kite boarding when the wind is up as it often is along this part of the coast. The beach is 3-4 kilometers long and is great for beach walking or even a dip when it warms up. Parks Canada has a popular day use park near the beach with a picnic area and playground for kids. As well Parks Canada has a campground close by so this location is very convenient for anyone wanting to camp and see a play.

Shallow Bay beach is a great spot for beachwalking, swimming, or kiteboarding when the wind is up!