Meet the Director of A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE – Lauren Boyd

Photo on 2015-05-30 at 3.22 PMWhat is your role on this production? I am the Director of A Man of No Importance. Ultimately I provide the lens or filter through which the entire team interprets the story- we have an amazing group of community artists and technicians who are collaborating to bring this musical to the Walterdale stage! I do my best to guide actors through a process of discovering their characters’ development and motivations, and provide a framework of blocking to ensure that the action on stage is clear and serves the story. I also drink a lot of coffee and attend a lot of meetings – all in a day’s work for every director

What is your background in theatre? With Walterdale? This is my first show at Walterdale and I am thrilled to finally be a part of this incredible theatre community! I began my training in the Edmonton area through the musicals at Paul Kane High school and intensive training through the Citadel Young Musical Company. I spent a year at Seacoast Theatre Centre under the guidance of Scott Swan where I learned the intensity of work involved in character development. I am currently in my third year at Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance, which is the most difficult and rewarding experience I’ve ever had! I have trained with Heather Inglis at the University of Alberta, which was a great opportunity to refine the directing process I’ve been developing through my years of directing for Fringe productions with No Tomatoes Theatre.

Why did you want to direct this show? This show has always appealed to me musically – it has such a strong sense of style and stays true to the storytelling at all times, which put it ahead of the curve as far as contemporary musicals go. It is almost more of a play set to music since the musical moments are integrated in such a natural way. Since I was applying to direct for a community theatre organization I thought A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE (which centers around the story of an amateur theatre group in 1964 Dublin) was the perfect opportunity to celebrate everything community theatre is about- friendship,artistic expression, escape from the mundane and finding a sense of belonging. Edmonton has always had massive support for arts at a community level that it seemed like a perfect way to honor and explore the importance of the arts at every level of experience and ability. Alfie’s personal journey of accepting his homosexuality despite the intense prejudice that surrounds him resonates particularly loud in this day and age, especially with the recent legislation on same sex marriage in Ireland. It is interesting when art and life intersect in such coincidental ways – something Alfie’s idol, Oscar Wilde, would definitely approve of!

What is the funnest thing about working on this show?  The biggest challenge? The most fun thing is working with our team! Our cast is super sharp and are always finding ways to keep scenes fresh, they are open to exploration and play. We make mistakes, we re-block, we make jokes, and we focus intensely for hours at a time. Everyone is dedicated and hardworking but also realize we are all here because we love to put on theatre and make new friends. The biggest challenge for me is figuring out the Walterdale’s unique stage- there are some tricky angles to work with and I am constantly roaming through the audience to make sure everything is visible to everyone most of the time.

Got any crazy community theatre stories yourself? I think everyone has crazy community theatre stories- rumors, wacky auditions, magical moments, miraculous last minute finishes, but they are always best shared over a beer or two at the cast party, so come find me then…

What do you think audiences will appreciate about this show? This show is relatively unknown, and to be cliche, I can say there is something for everyone. On its most basic level, the score is beautifully written and our musicians are professionals who give it true justice. If you have ever been involved in theatre in any way, every joke in the script and challenge faced by the characters will have a special meaning and bring up your own memories. But most importantly, the essence of the story is how important it is to stay true to what and who you love, and the joy of finding a community that accepts you unconditionally. I think that is something that everyone can appreciate, no matter what your background, sexuality or beliefs.

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