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(Posted Nov. 11, 2018)

Artistic director’s granddaughter makes her theatrical debut
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

In a wonderful confluence of her professional and personal lives, Ottawa School of Theatre’s (OST) artistic director Kathi Langston is directing her granddaughter in the three-year-old’s first stage appearance.

Tilly Mackie is in the non-speaking role of fairy Rosina Bubbleshine in the Nov. 24 performance of the theatre’s school production of Fairy Tale Caravan.

Ottawa School of Theatre artistic director Kathi Langston with her granddaughter Tillie, 3, who will make her acting debut in the Fairy Tale Caravan. STAFF PHOTO

“She reminds me so much of her mother who was great on stage from a young age,” recalls Langston.

Tilly is the daughter of Langston’s eldest girl Jessica.

With a cast of close to 60 playing more than 100 characters, Fairy Tale Caravan is the latest of OST’s large cast all-ages plays. It tells the story of a band of young and old caravan fairies on a quest to recruit members and to find the famous Brothers Grimm, sharing stories along the way.

Langston took her first acting class in her hometown of Calgary when she was nine. After a career of more than five decades, the award-winning actor, director and community leader believes passionately in the value of theatre study.

“Theatre teaches so many life skills, including self-confidence, teamwork em-pathy and creative problem-solving. I really believe it is one of the best things you can do for your child,” she says.

Both of Langston's daughters participated in the arts as children.

“As adults, they are both caring and kind, and skilled in whatever they do,” she adds, confident that their theatre experiences helped them become successful adults.

That sentiment is echoed by Paula Folkes-Dallaire who, with her husband David and sons Felix, 4, and Liam, 7, are also first-timers in the OST production.

The family, who live in Findlay Creek, discovered OST on the internet after Felix “crashed the stage” this past summer during a performance of Twelfth Night at Strathcona Park.

“When Felix showed signs of being interested in acting, singing and being dramatic, I looked online to find a school and (OST) looked the most comprehensive to teach the basics of theatre and essentially give him a pathway if he wanted to continue,” Folkes-Dallaire says.

Her husband is taking a pre-school drama class on Saturday mornings and the whole family decided to participate in the school’s family play. While this is Folkes-Dallaire’s first time on stage, her father was a drama teacher in Toronto-area schools and she credits the influence of theatre with giving her self-confidence and strong oratory skills which are invaluable in her job as an executive in the public service.

Fairy Tale Caravan is suitable for all ages and runs under two hours, including an intermission. Performances are in the Richcraft Theatre, Shenkman Arts Centre, on Friday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 24 and 25 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. For more information call OST at 613-2764 or visit www.ost-eto.ca.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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