Ever wonder how people got their start in the theatre? For some, they knew right away they had a calling. For others, they kind of stumbled into it. Either way, for most it's been a complete enjoyment (which is why they keep coming back). Read a few of our member's stories, and see if you can relate. It might even encourage you to get involved!
From Elizabeth Williams:
One day after being at Matheson's grocery story, I actually read the village newsletter that Anne M. so faithfully put together. It had been my habit to put it aside, (Dinner being formost at that time of day). Anyway, I saw an audition notice for "Out of Order" for our community theatre. I said to my husband, Hey honey, I'm part of this community, the notice doesn't say you need previous experience, so.... Well, here I am, now a veteran of the Thistle Theatre Stage. I'm proud of this, it's been an exciting accomplishment! I was fascinated and dazzled by the cooperation and expertise of this talented theatre group. They referred to themselves as "a Little Theatre Group". There was nothing little about their craft, or their devotion to their audience. It's been more than ten years now, and they are still what I found them to be.... Only more so. We are a theatre group with a big heart, and we are there for you.
From Joan Veldman:
A friend asked if I'd be interested in helping out with make-up for one of Thistle's shows. It had only been a few months since my husband had died, but she knew I should be getting out into the community rather than wallowing at home. I was captivated during that show. The cast and crew made me feel so welcome. After that I stage managed, then acted. Now I'm directing and writing, and loving every single minute of it. So many thanks to Carol for getting me started on this path. It's nice to have an outlet for creativity, and let's face it... just some "good ole fun".
From Chris Cockle:
When I was four years old I used to help my father build sets at the Drama Club in England where he used to Direct, Act, build sets and props. This would be 1946 and the sets would be constructed with horse glue and canvas, and I would carry the glue pot or nails.
When I was in high school I formed a drama club between the neighbouring boys school and girls school (1959 )…unheard of then. We entered plays in the local Drama Festivals. I appeared in shows at the Theatre Guild, Masque Theatre and Park Avenue Players all in Northampton, England.
When I emigrated to Canada in 1970, I appeared in a show in Simcoe Little Theatre called “ Waiting for Lefty “ directed by John Brown and Gail Tisdale. Nancy and I stage managed three shows for the Embro Dinner Theatre…Never too Late, Garrisons Garage and His Own Boss, all directed by Terry Todd.
The next show was “Two for the Show” and Keith Garner persuaded me to audition for Murphy the lazy, woman-ogling Irish, apartment superintendant. Mel West called me Murphy from that day on.
My favourite shows were “Arsenic and Old Lace” where I played Dr. Einstein alongside Hank Hazeleger, “Out of Order” where I played Harold the waiter with John and Hank Hazeleger, Sue Garner, Ralph Flood and Liz Williams.
The musicals have been amazing… Annie where I trained the dog Sandy, who became our dog Rusty, and Mayor Shinn in The Music Man.
I have been fortunate to win a WODL award for the best supporting actor for my portrayal of King Pellinore in Camelot, and Fagin in Oliver.
My most moving theatre experience was to stage manage Thistle Theatre’s production of Dancing in Poppies directed by Sue Garner and her incredible technical team of Tim Cockle (lighting), Evan Meek (slide coordinator), Doug Turvey (computer logistics) and Ed Williams (sound). The cast of Abby Cockle, Rory DeBrouwer and Lawrence Marshall were outstanding.
I was on the founding board of Thistle Theatre, and was Treasurer for the first 6 years. I have recently returned to the board as Facilities Co-ordinator.
From Ann Parker:
Ann's experience as a member of Festival Sounds Chapter of Sweet Adelines for the past 36 years was an asset when asked to help out at the Embro Ag Society's Dinner Theatre many years ago. She was thrilled, back in 1995 when the name she and her husband Dave put forward in the "Name Embro's New Little Theater Group" contest was selected. Over the past years you may have seen her helping out painting sets, working on front of house or various jobs that needed to be done. She is honoured to have been one of the costume "hunter, gatherer, seam ripper's" for many of Thistles productions in recent years, often with the sage guidance of Sue Langlois . Thistle's "All for One, and One for All, No Prima Donas Here" attitude provides fertile ground for lasting friendships and wonderful camaraderie. If you not aThistle Theatre member, join today & have some great fun".
From Harold Arbuckle:
My start in theatre was a fluke. Back in 1994 auditions were being held upstairs in the town hall just after one of my Cub Scout meetings of which I was a leader. Keith Garner was auditioning people for the fair board dinner theatre – a play called “The Tomorrow Box”. As I was leaving after my meeting Keith said “Here come and read this for us will you?” And I said “I don’t do that kind of sh….stuff”. But I did do it – as a joke. A week later I get a phone call asking me to do the part of Jack and again I said “I don’t do that kind of sh…stuff”. I thought seriously about it for a day and finally said OK. The character Jack was a stubborn old farmer and my wife said that I was typecast. I had a blast doing that show and have been hooked ever since. My most favorite character played was Teddy in arsenic and Old Lace and my most favorite shoe was being involved in Fiddler on the Roof and taking that show on to compete in the Theatre Ontario festival in Sault Saint Marie. Over the last years I have done many of the jobs associated with putting on a show, including acting on stage, building sets, designing hanging and running lights, being stage manager and I have directed a few shows. I was part of the steering committee to form Thistle Theatre and have been, except for 2 years, an active board member since its inception and have held the position of treasure for the last 5 years.