Every season we gather a new group of new theatre graduates into our midst as season apprentices - you might know them as the people who process your subscription, answer the box office phone, and run the front of house, but that’s only a tiny portion of what they do! Our apprentices are all graduates from theatre training programs, on the verge of launching their professional careers. The apprenticeship program is part mentorship, part creative residency, allowing these fledgling artists a place to grow their craft, experiment, create, and try new roles in a professional environment, all while making valuable industry connections. Now is your chance to meet them! Up first, Jess Amy Shead.
Jess’ onstage experience includes playing Maria Elena in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, and Becky in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol at the Chemainus Theatre Festival. She also appeared in FIRE with Blue Bridge Reparatory Theatre, and as Una in Blackbird with Theatre Inconnu. She recently played Sam in Runaway with Theatre SKAM, and took her new solo show The Somewhere Cedar, an adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, to Intrepid Theatre’s UNO Festival. She has worked with companies such as Atomic Vaudeville, The Belfry Theatre, starstar theatre, NOW! Theatre, The Only Animal, the PuSh Festival, The Firehall Arts Centre, and many more. www.jessamyshead.com
Jess Amy Shead
What were you doing last year:
I was the Artist Services Coordinator for the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and spent the holiday season at the Chemainus Theatre Festival playing a little cockney misfit and the long lost love of the 'high functioning sociopath' Sherlock Holmes.
What are your favourite shows you've worked on so far?
BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY at the Chemainus Theatre Festival is definitely a memorable show for me. It was a thrill to do every single night, right through to the end of the remount run, and was challenging musically and character wise. Also, the cast and crew formed a very special bond, and we still keep in touch through a Facebook group called 'Buddy Love'!
Another one that sticks out for me is Blackbird by David Harrower with Theatre Inconnu. This play is shockingly beautiful, and really challenged me to be a completely open, vulnerable actor, while finding the strength in a character that could so easily be portrayed as a victim. It was also a very difficult process to get the show up and running, and we lost the actor playing opposite me not long after to brain cancer. The Director had to step in to play opposite me on opening night with a headpiece in his ear being fed the lines from backstage! It was eventful to say the least, but I learned that no matter what is going on behind the scenes, the work is the work. I am forever grateful to everyone involved in that show.
What is your non-theatrical specialty?
Healthy living – I put a lot of time and effort into what goes into my body, and how I treat my ‘instrument’.
What is the number one thing you are excited about doing during your apprenticeship?
This is such a hard question; there are so many viable options! I'll choose small - but impactful: I'm excited to work on creating a solid monologue repertoire!
Where did you train in theatre?
I did my post-secondary training at The Canadian College of Performing Arts.
What was your favourite part of your training?
Having a place to go to to do what I loved, what felt right, and what I truly wanted to be doing. I’m looking forward to having that place again through this apprenticeship!
Is there anything coming up in the apprenticeship that will be totally new to you?
I'm very excited to work with Cara in the Community Engagement Mentorship. I've always been fascinated by the idea of engaging audience members beyond their roles as audience members, and I cannot wait to delve in to facilitating talkbacks, the Theatre Club, and getting to know the Subscribers!
What would be your top three categories of Trivial Pursuit? (Invented or real)
Wes Anderson Movies, South Africa, and Nutritional Supplements.