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Spotlight

These individuals have played key roles in keeping the
Little Theatre With a Big Heart beating!

Ariah

Spotlight 2022

Aria (they/them)

Tell us a bit about your introduction to Beech Street and what you’re working on right now. 

I was first introduced to Beech Street by board member Thomas Payne, who asked me if I wanted to help design a logo for a local theatre company he was involved in. Being a digital artist with no real experience outside of schoolwork and hobby, I was more than happy to help. After making the first few drafts of the new logo, the idea came around to help modernize the website too. After some very long creative processes, both projects were completed. I am now working to create new banners, posters, and artwork for Beech Streets' digital media.

 

What have you gained from being involved with BSTC? 

I have gained a lot of experience as both a digital artist and a website designer during my time with Beech Street. I have also formed many connections with good people, one of whom has taught me a lot, and I look up to her very much. Beech Street has also inspired me to look into playwriting and opened up a lot of opportunities for me creativity wise.

 

What advice would you give to those just starting out in theatre? 

For someone newly joining a theatre program, I would simply suggest just being yourself. Go for it, take the opportunity ahead of you, and believe in yourself!

 

Do you have a favourite quote?  

“You make me lovely, and it is so lovely to be lovely to the one I love” -Jennifer Niven, All The Bright Places

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Spotlight 2021

Dr. Mark Terry (he/him)

Tell us a bit about your introduction to Beech Street and what you’re working on right now. 

I was introduced to Beech Street before it had its name by my longtime friend Michael Khashmanian. His passion for performance and creative writing dates back to our childhood days, so it was no surprise to me that he wanted to formalize his activities in this regard in his later years. Since I had my own experience in owning and operating a commercial theatre in Toronto (The Bayview Playhouse, 1989 to 1997) Michael saw a natural collaboration between us. I also produced plays on Broadway (Caged, 1991) and in London's West End (The Best of Times, 1992-1997) so my involvement in those early years of BSTC was as a producer. I eventually joined the board and expanded my involvement to playwriting (Interview with a Demon, 2017; The Four Seasons, 2021). Right now, I teach Documentary Film and Social Change at the Faculty of Arts at Wilfrid Laurier University. I also lead a research project called the Planetary Health Film Lab at York University and I am the Executive Director of the United Nations' Youth Climate Report, a digital database of youth-produced documentary films on the issue of climate change. I have also recently released two academic books on the relationship between digital media communication and social justice: Speaking Youth to Power: Influencing Climate Policy at the United Nations (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Emerging Role of Geomedia in the Environmental Humanities (Rowan and Littlefield).

 

What have you gained from being involved with BSTC? 

I have gained a strong sense of community not only among members of the board, but with the theatre-goers of Durham Region. The demographics of our audiences helped me better understand the context of the subject matter of theatre for the BSTC, namely, history and comedy. As a former theatre owner, I often evolved the themes of my theatre productions based on the demonstrated evolution of the consumers' preferences. I see this again in Whitby, in particular, and Durham Region, in general, that our audiences seem to support productions that are seasonal, uniquely historical to this area, and lighthearted comedies. As a result, many of the plays written by Mike Khashmanian follow these preferences (The First Miracle, Word of Honour, and The Sodfather to name just a few). Just as the community of volunteers who serve on the board of the BSTC are devoted and passionate about the theatre it produces, so too is the community of Durham Region devoted and passionate about the plays BSTC produces. This symbiotic relationship is wonderful to see in community theatre.
 

What advice would you give to those just starting out in theatre? 

Join a local theatre troupe and participate in as many ways as possible. The more you do, the more you will learn to which areas your skills and talents are best suited. This will make your participation in theatre most rewarding. It should also be mentioned that it is rare to succeed financially in the arts, so don't come into theatre with the intention of establishing a financially reliable career for yourself and your family. Enjoy it for what it is: an artistic expression of performance that is supported by a strong sense of community among your colleagues and appreciation by your audiences. Many in theatre refer to those they work with as their family. They say this because it is true and it's one of the best compensations available to those who choose a life in theatre.

 

Do you have a favourite quote?  

I have two favourite quotes, if I may.

One is my own as it represents a personal life philosophy I tend to live by: "The destination of discovery begins with the journey of exploration." The other is more related to theatre: "I believe that in a great city, or even in a small city or a village, a great theatre is the outward and visible sign of an inward and probable culture." -Laurence Olivier

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Spotlight 2020

Matt Godfrey (he/him)

 Tell us a bit about your introduction to Beech Street and what you’re working on right now. 

I first met Michael (Khashmanian) when he walked into BIAD (the Brain Injury Association of Durham) with the idea of having the people that attend BIAD do a short play.  It was suggested that I take a part. I loved it, and I have been involved with Michael's works' ever since. That was approximately five years ago. Now, I have progressed to doing the sound for BSTC and in our current dinner theatre, the Sodfather, I am doing the sound and a speaking part. 

 

What have you gained from being involved with BSTC? 

I have gained friendships, knowledge, and appreciation of the effort and work that goes into each performance AND that each performance is a new learning experience with a different outcome every show. I think that is what has fueled my appreciation of live theatre. The ever-changing scenario's and the quick on-their-feet actors that make the play 'flow'. 

 

What advice would you give to those just starting out in theatre? 

My advice for anyone starting out in live theatre is to work with a mentor. Someone that will help you with anything you would like do in theatre. Fortunately, I found in BSTC a group of actors and actresses that are amazing to work with and learn from. And whether he knows it or not, Michael is my mentor. 

 

Do you have a favourite quote?  

I used to be an avid reader and my favourite quote is from a Louis L'amour novel..."Forgiveness is the fragrance of the rose that clings fast to the heel" 

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Spotlight 2019

Sammy Ulrich-Steacy (she/her)

 Tell us a bit about your introduction to Beech Street and what you’re working on right now. 

Sammy was introduced to Beech Street Theatre Company when we ran the Build-A-Play program at the Abilities Centre. Since then, she has a consistent attendance record for productions, and most recently held the role of a shepherd in The First Miracle! 

 

I really like how friendly and fun the cast and crew are at every BSTC rehearsal and production.  We always get to wear interesting and sometimes weird costumes, need to learn some silly lines for the play and there are always yummy snacks in the green room.  And when my friends and family come to see me in the plays and clap.

 

What have you learned from being involved with BSTC? 

BSTC gives everyone a chance to be an actor.  Some people have been in lots of plays and some people are new to acting, but everyone has their own special talents.

 

What advice would you give to those just starting out in theatre? 

Practice makes perfect!  You have to go to all the rehearsals so the play will be great when you perform it in front of the audience.

 

Do you have a favourite Beech Street play?  

A tie between Christmas Goose, because my mom (Donna Ulrich) makes a funny crying face when she cooked the Goose wrong, and The Sodfather because I like Fat Lorenzo!
 

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