With summer upon us, Owen Sound Little Theatre is rounding out its 2022/23 season with the fitting Gorgeous Gallivanting Goddesses, written by local resident Sheilah Spurr. The story follows four friends across three decades during their annual camping excursions to Killarney. It’s the first play that Spurr has written, and after 13 years in the making, she’s thrilled to be able to share it with audiences.

Spurr discovered her love of writing in her 40s, when she went back to school for her nursing degree and took an introductory creative writing course. She experimented with different styles over the years, but playwriting wasn’t one of them. Although Spurr has acted on stage many times (most recently appearing in OSLT’s You, Me and a Bit of Driftwood last winter), she didn’t intend to write a play. However, as an avid hiker and nature enthusiast, inspiration struck following a trip into the wilderness with her own friends, and GGG began to take on a life of its own.

“It just seemed so unreal,” Spurr recalls of the early days of writing GGG. “But the momentum was there enough so that I was able to continue with it in a more playful way. Just leave the critic and just see where it goes.” She allowed the words to flow and found joy in that process. Spurr also connected with other writers in a local playwright group and sought feedback from Bill Murphy, who has ended up directing the production. GGG was workshopped in 2012 with OSLT, but life got busy and the play took a back seat until just a few years ago.

When Spurr picked it up again, she jumped head first into seeking guidance from writers around her, and editing and adjusting until it was ready to submit to OSLT. The encouragement she received from the theatre community along the way has made all the difference in the play’s success. “I’m so glad to have found [OSLT] in my latter years, to be able to play in a place that puts on fabulous things and supports.”


As a first-time playwright, Spurr has loved being able to watch the production come to life from her new vantage point. “I have been really excited, blessed, curious with the way things have progressed. The cast and crew that are part of this!… All these talented people focused on this play that I wrote and giving it their all!” From the work-of-art set to immersive sound design, detailed props and costumes to clockwork stage managing, the OSLT volunteers have once more put together a show that raises the bar for community theatre.

“What a wonderful thing, to have it co-created with other individuals. To step back from the assertion of your written material… and give the freedom to others to interpret your words,” says Spurr. Just as she enjoyed writing the characters, so too has she savoured the process of seeing the cast and director add new dimensions to their development. “I’m just so full of appreciation for everybody. I’m actively laughing at people’s interpretation of my words that I’ve written. I’ve also had the privilege of watching this talented, beautiful human being, Bill Murphy, guide these actors in such a very specific, personal way.”

Throughout GGG, we witness the characters’ growth as they face milestones and challenges both on-stage and off. Played by Carrie Cathrae-Keeling, Stevie Lyons, Karina McKerroll, and Chelsey Tam (and Hank Visscher as the omnipresent park ranger), their interwoven stories unfold with humour and sincerity while set against the remote and sometimes unpredictable backdrop of Killarney Provincial Park. “I’ve used [nature] as a mirror for wherever the women are in their lives,” Spurr explains. It’s not only a matter of the characters weathering storms and mosquitos, but also of grappling with the disparity between who they are in their day to day lives versus out in the wilderness. Ultimately, this play is about hope, relationships, honouring oneself, and – above all – the power of nature.

GGG is already part-way through its run, and audiences are loving it. You can still catch it until June 24th at the Roxy Theatre, but grab your tickets before they sell out. Filled with laughter, nostalgia, and optimism, this show will inspire you to kick-start summer with a journey of your own.

Words by Sarah Goldman

Photos by John Fearnall (Good Noise)