Where are you from?
I grew up in Elmworth, Alberta, which is located an hour southwest of Grande Prairie. After graduating from Beaverlodge Regional High School, I went to Grande Prairie Regional College for a year but my degree is from the U of L. I graduated in 1988 with a BFA in Technical Theatre. Then I went to Toronto on a hope and a prayer. I was in Toronto for almost a full year doing every kind of job before I worked in professional theatre with the Canadian production of Phantom of the Opera.
How long have you been at the U of L and what do you do here?
In 1993, I moved back to Lethbridge and became Costume Shop assistant. I kept working with Phantom and would leave my job here three times a year to go to the next tour stop for Phantom and help them set up. In 1995, the tour offered me a full-time job to go to Singapore and Hong Kong. I would do it all again. I learned a lot, I met a lot of people and I came to appreciate what I have here. It’s much more creative here because we build costumes from scratch. As Costume Shop manager, I do the budgets for costumes for each show. Once the budget is approved, then I have to make it happen. Lynn Hopkins (Costume Shop assistant) and I really do rely on each other. We do pattern drafting, tailoring, build footwear, dye and paint fabric, embellishing and millinery. We have students come in and help us construct costumes. After the show is built, then I go downstairs into the world of quick changes. I train a student crew to do what I basically did in Toronto, which was run a show.
What’s the best part of your job?
The students. At this point in my career, I do an introductory portion of a class we call Stagecraft. I do the sewing project. Out of eight students in the class this year, I’ve had two come back to learn more on their own time. That is what I love. If I get one student coming back every three years, I’m happy. Leslie Robison-Greene was my mentor. She ignited a spark in me and I like to do that for our students.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’m a potter. I am a member of the Oldman River Potters Guild and I’m a hand builder. I make all my own patterns and I’m starting to mix my own glazes now. I also design costumes for the LCI (Lethbridge Collegiate Institute) dance show and I have a sideline called This Old Bag. I take recycled fabrics and create functional bags which I sell at the Lethbridge Handmade Market.