Barbara Bell has been with the Festival since the very first meeting in 2009. Now she acts as Artistic Director.
“I love my job,” she says. “I love working in the arts, and offering writers and readers a place to come together to celebrate literature. I’m a detail person, so I enjoy the complexities of putting everything together in a way that appears as seamless as possible to the writers and the public who attend.”
Besides being a brilliant organizer, she is also a gifted actor, theatrical and film producer, television host, editor, and writer.
Barbara won the Eastern Ontario Drama League’s Award for Best Actress in a leading role for her part in Dacia Maraini’s Mary Stuart, and she has appeared to rave reviews in many other plays.
Valerie Robertson, co-founder of Kingston’s Domino Theatre, said that in the role of Gertrude in Hamlet, Barbara was “flawless.” Her performance as Patsy in the King’s Town Players production of Judith Thompson’s Perfect Pie brought audiences to tears.
Barbara’s one-woman play, Dreams and Desires, was staged at the Rankin Gallery, the Domino One-Act Play Festival in Kingston, fringe festivals in Saskatoon, Victoria, and Vancouver, and on Gabriola Island in 2008. In 2011, her production company, Shiny Object Creative, presented the one-act play Pretty Pieces at the Victoria Fringe Festival. Since then she has co-produced a 28-minute film version of Pretty Pieces, which was screened at the 2013 Reel Heart International Film Festival, among others; several shorts including the award-winning Digging Up Plato; and a feature – Fault – which debuted this year at Kingston Canadian Film Festival.
As co-producer and host of TVCogeco’s Pageturners: Kingston’s Book Club Barbara regularly interviewed local authors; among her many talents is a decided flair for sparking lively conversation about books.
Barbara sits on the Community Arts Advisory Committee for the City of Kingston, as well as on the Arts Advocacy Committee of Kingston Arts Council.