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katherine_hill-3570_smWe continue our "Meet the Cast & Crew" blog series today with a conversation with Katherine Hill, who is playing Elinor in our current production of Sense and Sensibility. Katherine has been involved in Gallery 7 Theatre as a dialect coach over the past couple of years and she will be directing our next production of Mary's Wedding, but this is her first appearance on our stage. Grab a cup of coffee and a blanket, pull up the screen and enjoy...

 

Gallery 7 (G7) Tell us about your acting background – how did you get involved in theatre in the first place? What makes you continue with it?

 

Katherine Hill (KH) I fell in love with the stage when I saw my first opera at age 4. I was in Heidelberg, Germany watching in the castle under the stars. It was such a breathtaking experience that I knew in that moment I belonged there. From then on, I took part in school productions, joined local theatre companies performing on the main stage and made acting and theatre studies my sole direction for education. I have been blessed to play a number of roles ranging from a 'ventriloquist dummy' in Bugsy Malone to 'Lady Macbeth' in Macbeth. I continue to do this because of that feeling and moment as I was mesmerized at the age of 4. Those images stay with me forever and continually remind me what makes theatre so beautiful and has the ability to captivate its audience wondrously. If I can be any part of that beauty and experience, I am more than happy.

 

G7: What drew you to this play?

 

KH: Oh gosh...what wouldn't draw me to Jane Austen? I have been completely enamored by her work for many, many years. The themes and desires and lessons in Jane Austen's books will never grow old. I have always loved period pieces, particularly ones that feature such strong women and that is what Austen does so well. Add in some romance, passion and drama and well...you had me at "Mr. Darcy!"...or should I say "Mr. Ferrars!"

 

G7: Is it important to you to be involved with a faith-based theatre? If so, why?

 

KH: Honestly, being a part of any production is great and I don't make a preference one way or another. However, there is something very 'comforting' about being involved with a faith based theatre, knowing that they too share the same love for God and people. One great example was, during this process I have been very busy and had a hard time getting my schedule together. One of the production team told me that she had been praying for my situation and for the stress to be relieved. How wonderful! That's what makes the experience extra special.

 

G7: What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?

 

KH: I hope that they will be able to go on this journey with us....to feel as we feel, to hope as we hope, to learn as we have learned, to smile, to laugh, to cry and to have....even for just one night...allowed themselves to simply feel.

 

G7: Jane Austen is clearly popular with audiences and you! You'll have dedicated fans in the audience – how does that affect you as an actor?

 

KH: It is an honor. I too am one of those people so it is important to me that I do commit to who I believe Eleanor is and how she has been written. At the same time though, it has to be believable and all I can do is commit to the role and the words that I have been given. I can only hope my interpretation of her will do justice to the fans.

 

G7: What's your favourite way to relax?

 

KH: Listening to jazz music with my favorite drink in hand.

 

G7: If you were on death row, what would you request as your last meal?SS_pubilicity-3679_sm

 

KH: I'm not sure there's enough space...cheesecake, definitely New York Cheesecake...a cheese platter from around the world, an expensive bottle of an Argentinian Malbec wine, caprese salad with spagetti primavera, gelato imported from Italy, mushroom risotto, Belgium chocolates, chocolate covered strawberries, chips & salsa...actually could I have more of a feast? Or maybe just send me to Italy for the night!

 

G7: What's the best 5 bucks you ever spent?

 

KH: A hoody when I got trapped in a torrential downpour wearing a tank top and skirt. I only had $10 on me and needed to walk another hour to get home.

 

G7:  If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or living, who would it be and what is the first question you'd ask him/her?

 

KH: Meryl Streep - "How do you do it?"

 

G7: Best advice your mom or dad ever gave you?


KH: I'm paraphrasing here but essentially "stick to your guns. Do what you know is right and don't let anyone else walk over you."

 

G7: Anything else you want to share?

 

I feel that often, we as a society forget what makes art so integral to our everyday lives. We can place other academic subjects above drama, art, music, photography but what is forgotten is the long lasting effects that art has on the human being. Art allows for self-expression. When pain and fear and anxiety arises and we do not know what to do with all those feelings, we can express it on stage, sing a song, dance. The stage is an incredible place for children to gain a greater confidence in themselves, as it did for me. As an artist, I have the amazing opportunity to work with a variety of different people and learn never to judge because they always surprise me with just how wonderful they are. Art teaches us to love, to listen, to engage, to be personable and to be open.

 

 


 

Sense__SensibilitySense and Sensibility runs November 3, 8 - 10, 15 - 17, 2013 at 7:30 PM with discount matinees on November 3, 10 & 17 at 2:00 PM at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford. Tickets are on sale now at House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford or by calling 604-852-3701.

Last week, we started a new blog series to introduce you to some of the cast and crew of Sense and Sensibility. Amanada Thiessen is not new to Gallery 7 Theatre - you saw her make-up design talents at work in last year's The Fantasticks - but this is her first appearance on our stage. She is playing Marianne, and she took a few moments to answer some questions we had for her...

 

amanda_thiessen-3215smGallery 7 (G7): Tell us about your acting background – how did you get involved in theatre in the first place? What makes you continue with it?

 

Amanda (AT): I've been on stage in some way or another since I was about 3 when a friend of my grandmother placed me on the stage of our church Christmas party and told me to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star; since then it's where I've felt the most at home. The stage is a place where you can leave your school, work, bills, and life behind and become someone else, even if it's just for a short while. And once you experience the rush of that first moment being on stage opening night, there really is no going back...or there wasn't for me anyway.

 

G7: What drew you to this play?

 

AT: The characters in this play are so lively, even when they are close to death's door. As I was reading the novel, preparing for my audition, I couldn't help but put myself in the place of the characters. Their story pulled me in, made me feel for them, sympathise with them, and at the end I couldn't help but feel that the pieces were put together perfectly.

 

G7: What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?

 

AT: I hope audiences take the not so subtle hint that to fall in love all you have to do is be yourself, completely and utterly. Although the characters go through emotional roller coasters they stay true to themselves, well some of them do anyway. And those that don't do not find love, nor are they happy. It also helps to fall in love with someone who is your best friend.

 

G7: Jane Austen is clearly popular with audiences and you'll have dedicated fans in the audience – how does that affect you as an actor?

 

AT: Knowing that Jane Austen has such a huge following, and that some of the audience will have seen all three movies of Sense and Sensibility (none of which I have seen, although I have read the novel, and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters) is slightly intimidating. I just hope that they can see the truth in our characters and can appreciate the wonderful flow that the author, Jon Jory, and our director, Sarah Hu, have created.

 

G7: What's your favourite way to relax?SS_pubilicity-3705_sm

 

AT: My beanbag chair surrounded by a sea of pillows, my snuggie, and an amazing book. Or going to Introduction to Voice class and doing the Omega stretch...makes you drowsy and awake at the same time, SO GOOD!

 

G7: If you were on death row, what would you request as your last meal?

 

AT: My mom's Lasagne. Hands down. It's never the same way twice but it is always amazing! With my Oma's fluffed Jello for dessert, she never did get to share her secret with me so it would be nice to have it again.

 

G7: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or living, who would it be and what's the first question you'd ask him/her?

 

AT: I would have dinner with Grace Kelly, and ask her if she knew at the time that she was living the fairytale life that so many young girls would dream of, and if it was really as perfect as it seemed.

 

 


 

Sense__SensibilitySense and Sensibility runs November 2 & 3, 8 - 10, 15 - 17, 2013 at 7:30 PM with discount matinees on November 3, 10 & 17 at 2:00 PM at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford. Tickets are on sale now at House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford or by calling 604-852-3701.

Brochure_CoverWe're launching something new this year! It's called the Gallery 7 Theatre Club.

 

The Galley 7 Theatre Club is for those who love theatre and want to dig deeper into the themes and ideas that result from seeing a production. Here's how it will work:

 

G7Theatre Club members will attend the November 10th matinee of Sense and Sensibility. You purchase your own ticket and sit wherever you like. Immediately following the production, we'll leave the theatre and reconvene at House of James (2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford) where owner Lando Klassen will have reserved tables for us and where staff are preparing a unique drink just for G7 Theatre Club members! As we enjoy dinner together, we'll use the popular Gallery & Theatre Discussion Guide to guide us as we discuss the play itself, our experience of it, its themes and more.

 

The G7 Theatre Club is meant to enrich your enrich your theatre experience as you learn from the discussion and see how other patrons have seen the play.

 

The discussion will be led by Angelika Dawson, who is an avid theatre fan, a Gallery 7 Theater board member and who edits the Discussion Guide for each play. She is looking forward to meeting you and seeing the production through your eyes!

 

For more information and to register, email Dawson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. She will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Space is limited so don't delay, register today!

Welcome to a new blog series!  We'll call it Meet the Cast & Crew. Simple enough, eh? Over the next while, we'll introduce you to members of the cast and crew of Sense and Sensibility, opening in November. Today, we introduce (or re-introduce you as the case might be) to a familiar face, a man who's been our stage a bunch of times in such productions as God's Man in Texas, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Matchmaker and most recently, The Importance of Being Earnest...Mr. John Dawson.

 

John_Dawson-1361_smGallery 7 (G7): Tell us about your acting background – how did you get involved in theatre in the first place? What makes you continue with it?

 

Dawson (JD): I have always loved live theatre, and living in Vancouver for my years my wife and I frequented Pacific Theatre and Bard on the Beach. When we moved to Abbotsford in 1997 I realized the community theatre here was very good, and more importantly I realized it was something that someone like me could do. I did my first show in 2003 and have never looked back. I love the process of putting a show together; the character development, working with the cast. But mostly I love the immediacy of live theatre, where anything can happen and often does.

 

G7: What drew you to this play?

 

JD: I was a part of Pride and Prejudice several years back, another Jane Austen novel, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I love the period and the issues it deals with.

 

G7: Is it important to you to be involved with a faith-based theatre? If so, why?

 

JD: Having experienced live theatre, I would probably do it regardless. Having experienced G7, I am grateful that they believe in exploring life issues from a faith based perspective. I know that the leadership works hard to identify plays that both entertain and explore life issues.

 

G7: Jane Austen is clearly popular with audiences and you'll have dedicated fans in the audience – how does that affect you as an actor?

Matchmaker_-_rehearsal-0697sm

 

JD: At this point in my acting career at G7 I know that the theatre is committed to excellence, and that the key is to put a good product on the stage. My part in that is preparing well for my role, and trusting my fellow actors to do the same. I know if we do that, the story will take care of itself, and people will be entertained.

 

G7: If you were on death row, what would you request as your last meal?

 

JD: A medium rare NY steak from Rempel's Meats and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from Mt. Lehman Winery. How's that for local advertising?

 

G7: What's the best 5 bucks you ever spent?

 

JD: Buying my wife's engagement ring. I'm just kidding. That was at least 10 times that amount. Probably a great meal Angelika and I had in Budapest Hungary. Great place, great memory, great company.

 

G7: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or living, who would it be and what's the first question you'd ask him/her?

 

JD: My dad, and I would ask him how he's being treated up there.

 


 

Sense__SensibilitySense and Sensibility runs November 2 & 3, 8 - 10, 15 - 17, 2013 at 7:30 PM with discount matinees on November 3, 10 & 17 at 2:00 PM at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford. Tickets are on sale now at House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford or by calling 604-852-3701.

The_ForeignerToday, we conclude our series, Why I Chose the Plays I Chose, with Ken Hildebrandt's thoughts on our final production of the 2012/2013 Theatre for Life! season, Larry Shue's hilarious comedy, The Foreigner. Enjoy!

 

The Foreigner is another one of those plays that's been on the list for a long, LONG time that had to wait for just the right year to be included in the season. I first became acquainted with Larry Shue's adventure/comedy around the time that our friends at Pacific Theatre produced it in Vancouver, featuring Erla Faye Forsyth as Betty Meeks. It was a delight to watch her in that role, and I believe that performance was one of the few shows I remember laughing at...and I mean really laughing in a good, out-loud, boisterous kind of way.

 

This play has had a lot of stage time in our community. We've seen it on school, amateur, college and professional stages through-out the Lower Mainland. Like The Importance of Being Earnest, it seems like every theatre at some point in its history produces this gem of a show. It's almost like a theatre's rite of passage.

 

So why The Foreigner now at Gallery 7? Good question. I always look for something light for the end of the season – a comedy that will lift people's spirits. June is traditionally a bit of a tough month – it's not quite spring but not quite summer. The weather can be quite unpredictable and everyone is hunkered down, finishing off the school year. It seems only fitting that we help people through this grueling month and celebrate the approaching summer season with a comedy! This play fits the bill perfectly.

 

The Foreigner is pure fun, filled with adventure, intrigue and even a touch of romance. It's about a pathologically shy gentleman named Charlie who is quite down on his luck of late. To lift his spirits, his good friend, Froggy, a munitions expert in the British army, treats him to a retreat at a run-down fishing lodge in rural Georgia, run by the beloved Betty Meeks. To help Charlie, Froggy announces to everyone at the lodge that his friend is from an exotic foreign country and can't speak a lick of English. The lodge's entrepreneur and fellow guests embrace Charlie, but it seems that treachery is afoot and all is not as it seems. That's where the fun begins as Charlie becomes the unwitting witness to a plot to have the fishing lodge condemned and to put Betty out of business forever.

 

Sounds like fun doesn't it? It is! And for those looking for a little spiritual and intellectual nourishment, there's a few food-for-thought things sprinkled in too about relationships, racism and truth verses lies. It's a perfect fit for our theatre, and for our final production of the season.

 

It's been fun sharing with you some of my thoughts on the 2012/2013 season and I hope you'll join us for an amazing adventure in theatre. As you've heard me say so many times before, there's nothing quite like the live theatre experience. So get your friends and family together, get some tickets (or better yet, season passes) and do something out of the ordinary. See you at the shows!

 

About Ken Hildebrandt, Executive/Artistic Director

 

ken_hildebrandt0650_-_sm

Ken is the founding Executive/Artistic Director of Gallery 7 Theatre and is thrilled to be celebrating 22 years with the theatre. Select acting credits include Macbeth, Beau Jest,  Cotton Patch Gospel and most recently, Tuesdays with Morrie, which played at both Gallery 7 Theatre and at Pacific Theatre in Vancouver. Directing credits include Lost in Yonkers, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Importance of Being Earnest and the award-winning Driving Miss Daisy. Behind the scenes, Ken enjoys lighting up the stage, and has many lighting design credits to his name.  When not doing theatre, Ken enjoys announcing at airshows through-out Western Canada and Washington State, flying around the Fraser Valley in a Cessna, and relaxing at home with friends, TV and video games.