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Being an actor is hard. Hard enough that many people just stop doing it, because for some it can mean significant sacrifice. Missing a friends wedding. Missing a family get together. Missing Christmas in your home town. Not getting to hang out with your niece or nephew as regularly as you’d like. Etcetera.
I’m from Vancouver and while there is more work there than Ottawa (maybe even enough to make a fulltime living from) the hustle and financial costs of the city often inhibit actors from focusing on the work at hand. It is often necessary for actors to work multiple day jobs (many of which they end up being unceremoniously terminated from), as well as audition almost daily and performing at night. It’s easy to find yourself in a state of perpetual exhaustion and stress. It can be hard to find focus and create the work you want to create because you’re too bogged down with trying to “make it” in a city filled with American film and television series’ and unfathomably corrupt politicians without so much as a pinky finger on the pulse of the arts community! Though hopefully the new provincial government has a better handle on the economic ROI for arts spending – that’d be the day…
Ahem. I digress.
Ottawa is different. While it may be just as a hard to be an actor exclusively as anywhere else (maybe even harder given the smaller number of jobs), the community is tight. Here I have been able to pursue a secondary career as a cabinet maker, while at the same time creating, performing in and producing original theatre works. I feel surrounded by dedicated collaborators and friends. I really am living the dream. I feel overjoyed and truly privileged to be a part of such a rich and hard working theatre community here in Ottawa – a community in which the GCTC plays a vital role. As an employer of dozens of theatre professionals, their commitment to the local scene is a testament to their passion for theatre in Ottawa. That is why playing on the mainstage of the GCTC is truly a privilege, because I get to be a representative of that culture and that promise to local theatre.
It is with that thought in mind that I throw out a huge thank you to the Great Canadian Theatre Company for including me in this – sure to be – fantastic production of Rebecca Deraspe’s You Are Happy. Being involved in a production like this demonstrates a culmination of hard work and dedication to what I am most passionate about. This will be my debut on the mainstage at the GCTC, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.