LF Press: Screen luminaries found spark in London troupe

LF Press
Published: November 12, 2010

They’re beautiful leading ladies of the silver screen and television and they got their start in acting right here in London.

Members of the Original Kids Theatre Company when young, Rachel McAdams, Amber Marshall and Megan Park are shining a spotlight back on the children’s theatre program through their fame, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary this season.

McAdams, receiving high praises for her portrayal of an ambitious TV producer in Morning Glory (which opens Friday in theatres across North America), joined Original Kids when she was 12.

She told The Free Press in an earlier interview that she didn’t have an acting career in mind then.

“I was absolutely terrified when I started that course. I was a shy, little turtle who would run home crying to my parents,” the St. Thomas native said.

That’s not how she is remembered by Original Kids director Jim Schaefer.

“There was no hesitation for her to tackle difficult subjects,” he said.

She grasped difficult roles, he added, and it was apparent she had talent.

But Hollywood?

“You’re always happily surprised when someones shoots off like a shooting star like she has. I think that’s wonderful.”

Schaefer led OKTC summer camps and that was where he met McAdams.

Those camps included roles from Shakespeare and Greek play that McAdams took on.

He would gather the young actors and go over the background of the scenes that they’d be performing in so they could better grasp their characters.

“(McAdams) understood that innately. There are actors like that who just understand.”

He also mentioned Kathy Quayle, an alumni who is still acting.

“(Quayle’s) belief in the character never wavered so there was always that sense of you believing it too.”

McAdams also had that ability.

He said despite their talent, McAdams and Quayle didn’t have egos.

“They’re group people. They believe in the group and they believe in sharing the magic and the joy.”

That enchantment and delight is something Original Kids tries to pass on to each child that comes through their doors.

“When we’re working with young people … you always have hopes that no matter what happens, their lives … will somehow go in the places that they dream of going,” Schaefer said.

The magic continues. OKTC’s next production is Lies and Legends: The Musical Stories of Harry Chapin. It runs from Nov. 19 to 21. For more information, visit www.oktc.ca.

© 2014 LF Press | Written by Kathy Rumleski | No copyright infringment intended.

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