Carly Chamberlain (a.k.a. Jack-of-all-Theatre-Trades) is taking on yet another role withNeoteny Theatre, and fortunately for us, her boldness overcomes her fear.
1. Where do you work? Can you sum it up in 3 sentences or less?
I am an independent actor, director, Outreach Coordinator for Driftwood Theatre, and Founding Artistic Producer for Neoteny Theatre. Basically, I do a whole lot of stuff that I really love.
2. Why the arts? What’s made you focus your extra energy on theatre?
When I went off to the University of Windsor to join the BFA Acting Program at 17, I don’t think I had the foggiest idea why I wanted to act or even what acting really meant. I was driven by a guttural sense of purpose and probably a desire for attention. Four years in theatre school and five years in the “real world” later, I think I finally figured out “Why theatre?” – shared experience of evocative storytelling. For sure my taste gravitates toward heightened realities: Shakespeare, physical theatre, etc…but all that is grounded in the collective experience that only theatre can provide. Actor to audience, actor to actor, audience to audience: no other art form interacts live with its audience in the same way. I love that. And now that I’ve honed in on a focus that is more comprehensive than solely acting, I have so many different avenues to pursue it through.
3. The arts have a reputation for being lots of work and little pay – true or false? Care to elaborate?
True. No one should go into the arts for the money. Not just because it’s unrealistic, but because if that’s your focus, your work is probably not going to be very good. In all seriousness, I would choose the life I have now over a corporate job and house in the suburbs any day of the week.
4. What’s the best thing about working in theatre in Toronto?
This is a really exciting time to be in theatre in Toronto. There’s a real hunger among my generation to redefine our spaces, our work, and how we engage our audience.
5. What’s the worst thing about working in theatre in Toronto?
The flip side of that hunger is a resistance to change. Which is human nature, I know. I think all of us (indie artists and bigger guys) could do a better job connecting to one another and challenging ourselves and each other to take biggers risks.
6. What’s an adjective that can describe most of your days at your job?
7. Describe (in 3 sentences or less) what your favourite memory is from your current job.
After months of anxious preparation for Neoteny Theatre’s debut production, Overruled by George Bernard Shaw and Romance by Neil LaBute, we sat down for a first read and I felt a tremendous sense of relief. I thought, “Oh right, I picked these plays for reason – I picked these actors because I love and trust them, and everything is going to be okay.” There’s still lots of fear mixed in with excitement as we get close to opening, but I remind myself of that moment every time I feel overwhelmed.
8. What’s the last play that you saw that really made an impression on you?
Sleep No More. Hands down. Whether you’re interested in creating immersive theatre or not, I think there is a lot to take away from it as far as a complete audience experience and engaging with a public outside your typical theatre crowd. Plus getting locked in a room alone with Lady Macduff was pretty awesome.
9. If you could do any other job, arts professional or not, what would it be?
Realistic choice: probably a theatre professor of some kind.
Unrealistic choice: Zoologist (ala Jane Goodall)
10. If the Toronto theatre scene was a woman, what advice would you offer her?
No one got anywhere interesting without being bold.