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North Bay theatre legend Hali Carlson has passed away

Outpouring of condolences for local arts ‘champion’

Hali Carlson contributed immensely to North Bay’s theatre and arts community and served as the executive director of Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre.

Earlier today, members of her family announced on Carlson’s Facebook page that she “passed away yesterday after a short but fierce fight with cancer.”

The notice, addressed “to all of Hali’s friends,” notes the “overwhelming sadness” the family is experiencing from the loss, but “were grateful to all be together with her, holding her hand in her last moments.”

News of her illness arrived in May, and despite that devasting diagnosis, “Hali decided she had too much left to do to just sit around waiting, and she tackled her treatment the same way she did everything else.”

Read the full obituary here.

She “organized, planned, made many, many lists and phone calls, and got people involved.”

Carlson’s work with Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre has had profound and lasting effects on many within the community, inspiring many youths to become more involved in theatre and the arts.

The theatre is a registered charitable organization that provided musical theatre experiences for the children and families in the North Bay Area.

The productions were grand and lavish, often showcasing large casts, and for those who took part, the experience forged lifelong memories.

“Theatre for children by children” remains the focus of the theatre, and the company produced up to four to five shows per year with youth aged five to fourteen.

Each production required well over 3,500 volunteer hours to stage, and Carlson helped ensure the show always went on, hence the family’s reference to her organization and planning prowess.

After the notification was posted, a steady steam of condolences from the community have flooded the page, and they continue to do so.

“She was an incredible woman,” and “one in a million—such a giving soul.”

“Hali was one of the most amazing and loving people I’ve ever known,” one post read, a person “loved by many,” who was “a true North Bay original and an essential part of the fabric of so many children’s and families’ lives.”

She was a “champion,” one person summarized.

The family thanked friends “so much for your calls, notes, and messages,” during Carlson’s fight with cancer.

“Your love and prayers meant a lot.”

A service is being planned in the late spring or early fall, “just in time for audition week.”

In the meantime, the family encourages loved ones and those whose lives have been touched by Hali to “continue to share messages, memories and stories” on her Facebook page.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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