The cast of the Importance of Being Earnest showcase the importance of good costumes. At a Costume Distressing Workshop in August, participants will be taught how to realistically create damaged costumes. Williams Lake Studio Theatre Society photo

Studio Theatre offering a wide range of summer workshops

The Williams Lake Studio Theatre Society is offering several exciting workshops

With Cherry Docs complete and preparations beginning for the 2019/2020 season, the Williams Lake Studio Theatre Society is offering several exciting workshops for the whole community.

While traditional stage acting automatically comes to mind when one thinks of the theatre, in truth, there are far more roles and ways to participate in community theatre and the planned workshops reflect this. Each one covers a different aspect of the theatre meaning there is a little something for everyone.

These events are being organized by a collection of longtime WLST Society members, including Kathleen MacDonald a born and raised lakecity local who has been involved in the theatre for the last 19 years, ever since she was 21. When not pursuing her great passion for the theatre, MacDonald works at the Cariboo Regional District in the community services department.

Throughout the last few years, MacDonald said the Studio Theatre tends to offer workshops in the summer, usually after attending Theatre BC’s Mainstage Festival as many members did in Port Alberni this year. At Mainstage Cherry Docs, which received critical acclaim at the regional festival, took home three awards in the technical side of theatre with Best Lighting Design going to Cathie Hamm, Best Sound Design to Alix Leary and Best Set Design going to Jamie Regier.

Read More: Cherry Docs takes home five awards at Zone Festival

The society sent out a survey via its Facebook group to get a sense of what people wanted for workshops this year, MacDonald said, with possible topics including script ‘mining’, lighting, acting, directing and other facets of theatre. They ultimately settled on five, the first of which occurred on Thursday, July 25, with the rest scheduled to take place throughout the month of August. This Actors Panel brought together a selection of the society’s most experienced actors to share their tips and secrets with those in attendance, likely requested MacDonald said due to the influx of new actors into the theatre in the last year.

“We do have a lot of new and younger members, which is super exciting we’re always such a dynamic and welcoming club, so it’s always great when we get new members,” MacDonald said.

Fees for each workshop are $5 for WLST Society members and $15 for non-members, with proceeds going to cover costs and fund future productions.

Following the actors panel, an Improv Workshop on Aug. 11 will be teaching people spontaneity and how to think on their feet. Longtime theatre member and director of Much Ado About Nothing, Sheryl-Lynn Lewis will be running this workshop MacDonald said. Improv is an acting style geared towards having fun and building confidence and is good for those looking to expand their acting toolkit.

Following it later that week is a Lighting Workshop on August 17 run by Jeff Rankin, who will be teaching people the best methods to light up the world of a play. MacDonald said this should be useful for aspiring backstage technicians or new directors and runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Directly after on August 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. is a Costume Distressing Workshop that will be run by professional breakdown costumer Lee Sollenberger, MacDonald said. The goal of this workshop is to show people how to convincingly create damaged costumes that look realistic. This includes burned items, bullet holes and bloodstains, to name but a few. This workshop will be a hands-on one and will require participants to register ahead of time so supplies can be secured.

Read More: Cherry Docs holding encore performances prior to Mainstage

Finishing the summer off will be a vocal workshop on August 23 run by Sandi Alaric and Kristen Lyons that MacDonald said is designed to “fine-tune” people’s singing voices by teaching them projection, breath control and other techniques. It will be valuable for both newcomers and old-timers to attend, she said.

“It’s always great to learn new skills and hone (your art). People who do this and continue to do it, it’s a passion and love. I think any hobby you’re really passionate about it’s great to fine-tune it and get better,” MacDonald said.

For any first time thespians or other newcomers, MacDonald advises giving the Improv Workshop a try as it encapsulates much of what the theatre is about. She hopes anyone with the slightest interest comes out and becomes a part of one of the most “vibrant and growing community theatres in B.C.”

Anyone looking to RSVP for any of these workshops can do so via MacDonald at

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Jeff Rankin balances a stage light on one hip similar to the ones he will be teaching people to use at a workshop hosted by the Williams Lake Studio Theatre Society. Williams Lake Studio Theatre Society photo

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