Fiona Reid bares all

15 Apr

Fiona Reid sat down on a couch in the drama council office of her alma matter, Lawrence Park in uptown Toronto.   Wearing a sensible blouse and trousers, it’s hard to believe Reid will be starring in Toronto’s production of Calendar Girls, based on the major motion picture.  Reid was at her old high school a couple of months ago to teach an acting workshop to senior-level drama students.

Fiona Reid stars in Calendar Girls.

Reid’s childhood and personality was a major factor in her development from an awkward girl who liked to show off and imitate people into an actress. “I thought in a way my awkwardness would militate against me becoming an actress because I felt somewhat socially awkward and I thought that I was a bit too loud and voluble to be an actress, but I did enjoy performing,” said Reid.

Reid regarded acting as a way to compliment her personality and insecurities. “When I was growing up, we moved a lot to different countries in the world because my father was a doctor in the British military.  I had a lively imagination because I didn’t have that kind of security or underpinnings that you have when you live in the same place for a long time,” says Reid.  Born in Kent, England, her family didn’t settle down in Canada till she was 12.

When Reid was in high school at Lawrence Park, there were no drama classes. She wanted to be part of the Drama Club and the school productions badly, but ironically never made it.  Her teachers saw her penchant to perform and supplied her with oral essays and debates to express her dramatic creativity.  She admits to mimicking her teachers in high school, and was applauded by a her teacher for imitating the teacher’s mannerisms so precisely.

Reid was inspired to become an actress by numerous factors.  “I remember being quite young and there being a pantomime and they asked people at the end to go up on stage and I remember of just thinking of it as such a magic place.  I really wanted to go up on stage and be on that side of the lights, but I didn’t have the nerve,” says Reid with a chuckle.

Reid went on to study at McGill University, and was finally was able to perform.  “I felt that I had found a family when I did finally get into a play.  I never really looked back after that,” says Reid, and her film credits are proof of that.  She starred as Cathy King in the television series, King of Kensington, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and numerous other television series and films.

Reid is a permanent fixture in Canadian theatre, having performed at every stage in Canada under the sun as well as the Shaw and Stratford Festivals.

“I have a need to act and be in plays.  I am still somewhat afraid of it and need to develop that aspect of myself,” said Reid.  Looking back on an extremely successful theatrical career, Fiona Reid proves that one can find success in a career in the arts.  Having never had to sacrifice her passions and desire to act on stage, she appreciates the fact that she has the opportunity to inspire the next generation of actors through the classes she teaches and continues to act on stage.  She adds, “I just feel really lucky that I earn a living doing something I love.”

Calendar Girls premieres on Friday, April 15 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.


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