She’s Truly Scrumptious

She is an actress with a degree in Music Performance (Voice) from Western Ontario, a music teacher at Dale Road Public School, a wife (married to Stacy Main – VOS THEATRE’s Caractacus Potts) and a valued talent in VOS THEATRE’s upcoming production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Angela and husband Stacy
Angela Main with her husband, Stacy

I caught up with Angela Main somewhere between costume fittings and a choreography session.

VOS THEATRE: You are a teacher at Dale Road Public School?

Angela Main: Yes. I am responsible for the music program there which includes instrumental music and extracurriculars including band, choir and ukulele club (her favourite). Teaching music to students that have such diverse music backgrounds has pushed me to go outside my comfort zone. I’m so lucky to have a great group of students that really love and appreciate their music education.

Angela rehearses a dance number with the cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Angela rehearses a dance number with the cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

VOS: You sing. You teach music. You’re an actress and you share your love of music with students and audience members. What can an education in music bring to an individual’s well being?

Angela: Music education contributes to learning and intelligence and is known to relieve stress and anxiety. It helps to create a well rounded individual. I feel as though music accepts and has a place for everyone.

VOS: Tell us about the first production you were ever in? What is the memory of that experience that stands out?

Angela: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. I saw it as a child in Toronto. Even thought my parents didn’t have an extensive background in music they always took us to see show, exposing us from a very young age to theatre. They do the same for my nieces and nephews, their grandchildren.

Then I had the pleasure of being in the female chorus and took on various roles in my high school production of the show. I learned that musical theatre and performing was a passion and would forever be a part of my life.

Angela pictured in a local production of Annie

VOS: tell us about shows that you have most loved working on. Annie, Mary Poppins?

Angela: Mary Poppins was a fabulous experience. Working with professionals and learning from them was a dream come true for me. I had always wanted to work in a professional production and never thought it would happen. Truly a dream brought to reality.

White Christmas was our (with husband Stacy) first production with the VOS and we fell in love with the people involved in this group. They are all so committed to the organization and it’s success. We instantly felt welcomed and a part of the family.

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Angela rehearses a scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Jenna LeFrancois (Jemima)

VOS: What’s your favourite part of the rehearsal process?

Angela: I love exploring the character, getting to know them, their background, what makes them who they are and what contributes to what they do.

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Angela rehearses a scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She’s spinning around and around… can you guess which scene this is from?

VOS: So Opening Night you’ll be sitting beside your husband in that amazing car. What are you most looking forward to?

Angela: The audience reaction. I can’t wait for them to see Chitty brought to life.

She’s a leader and valued talent in the cast of Chitty; a most focussed and studied pro. But the fun begins when you hear her incredible voice and glance her way to see a very special magic in her eyes; a magic audiences will fall in love with as we have… She is, indeed, Truly Scrumptious.

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Don’t miss your chance to see Angela as Truly Scrumptious in VOS Theatre’s production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! Opening Night is November 19, 2015 and the show runs for 2 weeks. Order your tickets by calling 905-372-2210 or online at vostheatre.com.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Poster

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Chitty Revealed!

Really? You thought we’d just come right out and show you Chitty from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang before Opening Night? Not a chance. The car is hidden away. But we have the next best thing for you; a chat with Robb Howells, the designer of VOS THEATRE’s fantasmagorical car!

VOS: We call you “our own Caractacus Potts”. You have an amazingly creative mind. It seems you can make everything out of anything and it all ends up being a glorious treat to the eyes. What’s your background?

Robb: My background is as a furniture maker, but I’ve been making props for about 15 years now. I’ve developed and built props for Jesus Christ Superstar, Sweeney Todd, The Woman in Black, Mary Poppins, Singin’ in the Rain, Shrek, Shout, The Elephant Man, The Putnam County Spelling Bee, and several others.

A prototype of Lord Farquaad's legs from Shrek the Musical.
A prototype of Lord Farquaad’s legs from Shrek the Musical.

VOS: What has presented the biggest challenge?

Robb: They’ve all presented their own challenges, but none more so than Chitty. I’ve never worked on such a complex, and large piece before!
We’re keeping Chitty top secret and plan to move her into Victoria Hall covered so that no one catches a glimpse until we open.

VOS: You’re the creator of VOS THEATRE’s Chitty. Without revealing too much what has your process been like?

Robb: The process has been totally engrossing, to the point where thoughts of it wakes me up in the morning. My workshop is currently a bit of a train wreck, and there are calipers, trammels, compasses and rulers everywhere. I’m taking most of the scaling and detail from the Corgi toy that came out with the movie in about 1968.

Barrel organ from Mary Poppins
Barrel organ from Mary Poppins.

VOS: Coolest thing about the car?

Robb: The coolest thing about the car is its complexity and our efforts at making all the contraptions work. It is pretty stylish too.

VOS: Tell us about some of your other creations? Which projects have really fueled you?

Robb: Although I’ve had fun challenging myself on all my projects, my favourite was probably Sweeney Todd, which was done as a steampunk version. I love contemplating an alternate version of the world where everything is cog and steam driven with lots of brass, copper and mahogany. The entire show was up for grabs, design-wise, so we let our minds go with our only restriction being what things we could source. So much fun!

Beadle Bamford's staff from Sweeney Todd
Beadle Bamford’s staff from Sweeney Todd

You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate Robb’s craftsmanship. Your first chance to see his creative genius live and onstage is Opening Night, November 19, 2015. Order your tickets by calling 905-372-2210 or online at vostheatre.com.

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Poster

Grandpa & the Inventors Limber Up

The Inventors of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang were at a different bar than most sports fans tonight.

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Grandpa Liam Cragg lends a helping hand

Sporting their new wigs to assist with characterization (not yet styled completely for the Vulgarian stage), they got a leg up on the choreography.

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Dance Captain Courtney Cameron works with an Inventor

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By the end of the night, they hit their number (Roses of Success) out of the park!

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Clockwise from left: Courtney Cameron, Susanne Pacey, Liam Cragg, Lee Wakelin, Erin Welsh, Heather Town

Tickets for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are going fast. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get a seat. Call the Box Office at 905-372-2210 or purchase them online at vostheatre.com.

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They’re Quite a Pair – Bea Quarrie & Joel Varty – Co-Directors of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

They are an insanely busy pair but they’re every producer’s dream to work with. I ask questions. They answer them.

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Liz Clark: You two have worked together on projects before as director and cast member. It’s obvious that you have a pretty great give and take. How are you making it work – the co-directing thing?

Joel Varty: Right from day one Bea has been a great mentor to me. From casting, to planning things out scene by scene, to watching each other work, we’ve been able to connect creatively and meet in the middle. The word “collaborate” is one that get’s bandied about too lazily, in my opinion. Collaboration is much harder than just doing something yourself, however, with Bea it’s what has made this experience so fulfilling creatively. The things we’ve tossed about in conversation have worked their way into the work that folks are doing onstage in a really natural way.  I want to thank her for her patience and all that she’s done for VOS and for me personally.  It’s a gift to have someone with so much talent and experience who’s willing to give of themselves.

Bea Quarrie: Directing is experiential. You can read all the books, but you have make the daily decisions on the go all the time. It is in being respectful of what every member has to offer that is important. Joel knows that his actions inspire others to dream more, learn more and do more. Marshaling the collective’s forces in a cohesive vision is a tricky thing to manage and directors must learn by making mistakes. Humility is an essential attribute for a good director, and because we trust each other to make informed choices, we move forward in concert by empowering everyone on and backstage to contribute and innovate.

Bea Quarrie & Joel Varty

Liz: Joel, you’re tacking the role of artistic director for the first time but you’ve been a part of a lot of community theatre productions. What has come as the greatest surprise?

Joel: I didn’t know I’d like it this much. I didn’t know how much satisfaction I’d get from seeing an actor making the progression from a first cold reading to creating a character out of thin air. I also didn’t know what it would mean to be so consumed by the job, mentally and emotionally. I spend hours drawing scene layouts, or pictures of set pieces, or talking to the folks building costumes, or considering how to make something work technically. The amount of time spent collectively by a production team in putting on a show of this magnitude is staggering, and it can’t be done alone. We all have to give our time and our care to each other.

All that being said, though, the sheer amount of talent that has gathered for this project is really huge.  I can’t wait for folks to see Stacy and Angela Main onstage together – they are spectacular – but it goes right down to every member of the cast, right through the band, assembled by Jill Baker, and through our production team.  There are more great moments to look forward to than I could have ever hoped for.

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Bea works with the “Spies” – Ewan Mireault and Steven Lara Jimenez

Liz: What has been the greatest challenge with this production?

Bea: Chitty is a huge undertaking. Aside from the number of characters in the show, there are choreographic challenges, which means training singers/actors to move as dancers- thankfully we have a fabulous choreographer in MacKenzie Russell ! Actors have to share the space with a huge car, flying loos, life sized dolls- it is a logistical challenge too. This show is a spectacle that challenges every team member to find creative solutions, from those inventing the set pieces, to stage management who have to organize the backstage shenanigans. It’s all hands on deck while singing and dancing effortlessly.

Joel: The inventions. The car. Scheduling.  The amount of technical expertise needed to simply make a decision on something and the sheer number of hours needed in the planning phases before work can even start. Trying to sleep after rehearsals. Trying to get this great music out of my head.

Liz: Bea, you’re directing VIMY in Peterborough at the same time you’re co-directing Chitty. Two so very different productions. How do they both have a place in Community Theatre?

Bea: Vimy is a dark, brooding piece that can bore into the soul for those who have an open heart. Chitty is a child’s escape fantasy. Both need a delicate yet firm directorial touch, both have different rewards that need to be earned with hard work. Both challenge amateur companies to their maximum capacity in different ways. As directors, the trick is to find the balance, always.  

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Joel works with children’s chorus members Anika Parks, Ethan Gagne, Harry Varty, Max Battersby, and Aidhana Howells while rehearsal pianist Sonya Guingona accompanies.

Liz: Joel, tell us two important things you’ve learned during the process of getting Chitty on the stage in six words or less.

Joel: Do you job, trust your team.

Tickets for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are going fast. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get a seat. Call the Box Office at 905-372-2210 or purchase them online at vostheatre.com.

VIMY runs at the Peterborough Theatre Guild from Oct 30-November 14. For tickets call: 705-745-4211

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What We’re Thankful For

What We're Thankful For: From the Cast & Crew of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

As the team of VOS Theatre’s Production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (opening November 19 in Cobourg, Ontario), takes a rare breather from rehearsals to celebrate Thanksgiving Day here in Canada, we asked some folks to tell us what they are thankful for on this gorgeously sunny fall day in beautiful Northumberland County.

Marg: I am thankful for family and friends and for the VOS.

Gwen: I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends who are always there for me and that we have local theatre that allows me to pursue my love of acting and being involved in theatre.

Justin & The Bombi Samba Girls

Ethan – I am thankful for my happy family and the time we get to spend together.

Bea: Thankful for the freedom to congregate without political restrictions, to create, to dream, to laugh and to follow one’s bliss!

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Sarah: I’m ‘Truly’ thankful for my family and my friends.

Liam: I’m thankful that my family could gather for a harvest meal.

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Angela: I am thankful for my husband, family, and friends. I am also thankful to have the opportunity to work with such a wonderful and supportive group of people that are the whole cast and crew of Chitty!

Pat: I am thankful for today and for my wonderful husband and son. I feel blessed. Also for all my great friends in VOS for accepting me into your group. Love you all… Love Canada.

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Steven R.: A chance to work with talented people on a fun project.

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Erin: I’m thankful for my family and friends.  I’m thankful also for my theatre family – life’s adventures just wouldn’t be the same without my VOS family.

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Courtney: I am thankful for the freedom of expression.

Jenna: I’m thankful we have food, like whipped cream. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful we have enough of everything we need. I’m thankful to be part of this great cast and crew!

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Alan: I am thankful for my loving wife and family who allow me to be who I am.

Susanne: I’m thankful that I live in Canada. Not only is it a beautiful country with 4 seasons to enjoy, but it is a safe place in which to live where we have so many opportunities to live a happy, healthy, free life.  I hope everyone who can will exercise their right to vote on October 19th. So many people around the world would die (and have died) to live in a democratic society.

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Lannette: I am thankful for the people in my life that are part of my happy soul!

Our attentive Stage Management team of Alan Fletcher and Lannette Donnelly taking notes and keeping track of every detail. (Co-director Bea Quarrie to the left)

Lee: I am thankful to be safely home with my friends and family after an amazing trip to Turkey!

Sonya: I am thankful for the beauty of nature, interesting conversation, and good music.

Liz: I’m thankful for the things that most folks with sense acknowledge as blessings. A wonderful daughter and family, a roof over my head, loyal friends and the good health to truly enjoy them.

But if we’re talking artistically I’m most thankful to live in a country where I am free to participate in theatre as a hobby without fear of censorship or punishment; where as a woman I am not discriminated against but, in fact, given the gift of the responsibility to produce these shows and where my greatest problem might be making a car fly or costuming 32 actors on budget not how I’ll feed my children tomorrow or whether I will stoned for having an opinion.

I am also thankful for stuffing.

From Joel:

Chitty takes flight November 19th

Get your tickets today!

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