A Word from the Director: Kerri Norris

Theatre is ephemeral. You can never replicate it and even if you record it you cannot capture the essence of what it is. That’s what makes it distinct from film, even though they share so many elements of storytelling. I also believe people enjoy theatre because the unexpected can happen at any moment. I love re-watching my favourite films and while I may discover new things as my perspective changes over the years, those visuals cannot be altered or changed. But live theatre is transformed by the very make-up of whomever is in the audience that particular performance. No audience laughs at the same moment the same way. No audience member has the exact same experience. Sometimes an actor’s impulse changes. And, of course, sometimes mistakes are made. It is always amazing to watch how actors handle those mistakes and the more facile they are at dealing with them, the more exciting it is to an audience. Get a bunch of theatre people together and there are endless stories of the mishaps and craziness that can happen in the theatre. So what better to open our season than with a small dramatic society trying to put on a play and handle the inevitable when things go wrong. There are a whole series of Farndale plays, where the Townswomen’s Guild try and try again to get it right each night and where we, the audience, get to laugh when they get it wrong. So join us on this trip back to the 80’s, to the community hall, in a little place called Farndale and let us entertain you.

Meet the Cast

Justine Jones - Mrs. Reece

While growing up in San Francisco, Justine studied and performed with the American Conservatory Theatre before pursuing her BA in Dramatic Arts at UC Davis. Her husband’s football career brought them to Canada where they have lived for 21 years raising their two daughters in Winnipeg, Calgary, Hamilton and Regina before landing in Surrey nine years ago.  After a 12 year hiatus from performing, Justine happily joined The Sidekick Player’s Club for The Sweet Delilah Swim Club this spring. Past memorable productions include Amy’s View, Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii, Lend Me a Tenor and most recently participating in The Chair Lab.

Alice Battista - Felicity

Alice is thrilled to be involved with this production of The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery. Some of her previous credits include The Rocky Horror Show (Dr. Scott/Phantom), Pippin (Ensemble), Marry Me a Little (Featured Vocalist), and a new Canadian musical called Red Letter Day (Principal Lee), all through the St. Lawrence College musical theatre program. As well, she has performed in multiple pantomimes over the years with The Deep Cove Stage Society. Alice would like to thank her family and friends for their constant love and support, and the cast and crew for making this show awesome!

Rebecca Trotzuk - Audrey

Rebecca is so excited to be a part of The Farndale… Murder Mystery. She has most recently performed in Fraser Valley Stage’s production of 9 to 5: The Musical as Roz Keith. Rebecca has also been seen on stage with Royal Canadian Theatere Company’s winter pantomime and will be involved in this year’s production of Cinderella. She would like to thank you all for coming out and helping to make shows like this possible. And a special thanks to her family, friends, and colleagues who have been endlessly supportive of her exuberant extracurriculars.

Natalie Gifford - Thelma

Natalie is an actor, creator and comedian who has returned to Vancouver after receiving her BFA in Drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Since graduating she has performed stand up and co-founded the comedy troupe Women Stand Up in NYC. Some of her most recent theatre credits include playing Rosella Stoley in Thy Neighbours Wife (United Players), and Emma in MotherF**king Girl Scouts that premiered at the Wild Project in NYC. When Natalie is not on stage she is either staring at her computer screen trying to write the next best sitcom, or eating cheese.

Amanda Haggett - O'Reilly

Amanda (she/her) is so thrilled to be back on stage with RCTC in yet another hilarious production. Pre-pandemic, Amanda received her BFA in Acting as well as took part in bringing to life many shows in different creative roles: including acting, directing, playwriting and hot-glue gun extraordinaire. Previously for RCTC, she played Crystal in Ghost of a Chance. Other select acting credits include: Rosalind in As You Like It (Shadows & Dreams), Gerda in The Snow Queen (SAMC Theatre) and Diana Barry in Anne of Green Gables: The Musical (SAMC Theatre). A massive thank you to the wonderful cast and crew, Kerri, and my incredible partner Tiff for supporting me endlessly. Enjoy the show!

Meet the Crew

Kerri Norris - Director

Kerri is an Actor, Director, Costumer, Producer and sometime Dramaturg as well as being an Instructor at SAMC Theatre.. She has an MFA in Acting from CalArts in Los Angeles. Recent Directing credits include You Can’t Take It With You (SAMC Theatre), Blithe Spirit (RCTC) and Henry V, (Pacific Theatre – Stones Throw). Up next she’ll be appearing in Blue Stockings (SAMC Theatre)  and directing Cinderella for RCTC.

Coe Gillis - Stage Manager

Coe Gillis is thrilled to make their official debut as a Stage Manager with Royal Canadian Theatre Company. Previously, they were the Assistant Stage Manager for The Last of the Red Lovers at RCTC, stepping up to the role of Stage Manager on two shows. They have also been the ASM for White Christmas and Murder on the Orient Express at Theatre in the Country. Coe would like to thank Crystal and Kerri for this opportunity and Stage Managers Cathy and Amber for their help and support.

Nigel Brooke

Nigel Brooke - Lighting Design

Nigel began his theatrical career with a critically-acclaimed turn as ‘Tree’ and ‘Candy Cane’ in Hansel and Gretel at age five. More recently (and relevantly), he has designed lights for dozens of productions around the Lower Mainland, including Screwball Comedy, Ghost of a Chance and The Snow Queen for the Royal Canadian Theatre Company, where he is the resident lighting designer, Holy Mo and Spew Boy and Murder on the Orient Express for Gallery 7 Productions, Henry V for Stone’s Throw Productions / Pacific Theatre, and many more. He also occasional performs and directs, appearing recently as ‘Adam Lucas’ in Ghost of a Chance for RCTC, ‘Sir Rupert’ in Jeeves Intervenes for Gallery 7, and directing As You Like It for Shadows and Dreams, which he is a founding member of. In real life, Nigel is a computer programmer, and, oddly enough, does this for “fun”.

Sam Brooke - Assistant Lighting Design

Despite having always had an interest in technical theater, Samuel has not pursued it seriously until recently. After thoroughly enjoying his work last year on Ghost of a Chance and The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, he looks forward to working more and more and creating better and better designs with RCTC.

Mac Blackburn - Front of House

After many years working in the ‘outside’ world, Mac became part of the Royal Canadian Theatre Company in its infancy. As Front of House Manager she loves greeting old friends and new, and raising funds through 50/50 (which benefit our mentorship programme so buy them now!). She also works behind the scenes to bring you wonderful shows such as you are about to see tonight. So sit back, relax, flex your chuckle muscles and enjoy the show.

Patricia Brooke - Costume Design

When not working as a high school drama teacher, I am the co-founder of Shadows and Dreams Theatre Company, where I’ve directed Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour’s Lost. For RCTC, director of Ghost of a Chance and assistant director for The Last of the Red Hot Lovers. As a writer I adapted “The Snow Queen” for the stage and wrote an original play “The House” for Trinity Western University. I am the recipient of the Betty Lambert Playwright Award and made the longlist for the Voyage YA First Chapters contest.

Stephanie Bruce - Technical Director, Sound Design & Prop Design

This season, Stephanie has properly moved into the position of Technical Director, and Sound Designer, as well as continuing as Company Stage Manager. So is therefore far too busy building the sets, sourcing props, gathering various comedy noises, and wrangling the rest of the Stage Management team, various casts, and assorted production staff, to write a highly detailed bio, for whichever program is before you. Not even quite sure which month, or even day, it currently is. But, whenever you’re reading this, the show you’re about to see is incredibly hilarious. So sit back, relax (not that much!), and enjoy!

*And remember to breathe!*

Emily Walker - Scenic Artist

Emily Walker is a recent TWU Art and Design graduate. A visual artist, usually working in graphite and acrylic, Emily began working in the theatre world in the role of assistant stage manager in Trinity Western University’s The Miracle Worker, her first production. Currently, Emily works as the Theatre Assistant Technical Director at TWU.

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