students speak with theatre professionalsActing students Aine Donnelly, Lauren Fields and Erika Downie draw on the experiences of alumni Philip Psutka, Lindsay Bellaire and Lindsay Sippel Eitzen (BFA 2008) of Theatre Arcturus.

Acting grads school students in show business realities

A key thing to remember about show business is that it is a business, drama students heard Friday from alumni who have founded their own theatre company.

Phillip Psutka and Lindsay Bellaire, both of whom graduated from the BFA acting program in 2010, are respectively the executive director and artistic director of Theatre Arcturus. The company presented Weïrd, an original retelling of the Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth from the perspective of the three witches, February 5 to 8 at the Olde Walkerville Theatre.

The show, which Psutka wrote and directs, combines his interest in stage combat with Bellaire’s training in aerial performance—the witches move through vertical space on ribbons of silk. It’s the sort of work that attracted them to forming their own company.

“We didn’t see a lot of companies doing what we wanted to see,” said Bellaire.

The two brought other members of their company to the Jackman Dramatic Art Centre to discuss the practical challenges of bringing artistry to the stage: financing, promotions, time management, and balancing professional and personal relationships.

“We trained here and the University has one of the best theatre programs in Canada,” Bellaire said. “We want to show the students that what they learn in school transfers to the professional world.”

Psutka called the presentation a good chance to connect with young actors.

“More likely than not, we will run into them again,” he said. “Canadian theatre is a pretty small community.”