Liam Cragg – Grandpa Potts, Regimental Genius!

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Hi Liam – VOS THEATRE is thrilled you found us when you moved to the area. Tell us about your journey in theatre. What were you up to before we met you before White Christmas last year (Liam played “Snoring Man” and “Scooter”).

Liam Cragg: My current journey in theatre began in 1999 when I auditioned for ‘Pirates of Penzace’ and got cast as a Pirate (Act 1) and a Policeman (Act 2). The Rotary Club of Bracebridge quarterbacks an annual musical as part of their Community and Vocational Service. Something they have been doing for over 40 years.

I had so much fun that I volunteered to produce ‘Anything Goes’ the following year and had the role of Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (and proved to myself I had bitten off more than I could chew as I was also in Rotary and on their Board). A spin off of that experience was getting involved with a cabaret troupe and working with some incredibly talented writers and performers from Broadway, Television and Recording Studios. From them I learned that no actor is complete unless they have put in time off stage as you need to see a production from different angles to really appreciate the scope of what goes on.

I could list the shows I’ve been involved with but would rather discuss the big picture. My favourite ‘Show Biz’ expression is ‘Leave Your Ego At The Door’ as decisions are based on the whole team: the director’s vision, the producer’s budget, the orchestra, the stage and the size of the wings / off stage area and the technical crew (without whom an actor is naked, on an unadorned platform, in the dark – emoting). It is an amazing balancing act. What makes each production special is the time, energy and devotion everyone pours into a show to bring it to life.

Liam Cragg with Jenna and Sarag - Jemima and Jeremy

VOS: Were you a fan of the movie before you auditioned . Had you even seen it?

Liam: ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ is a movie I have seen many, many times as it is my wife’s favourite, something she made sure our daughters grew to appreciate as well.

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VOS: You’re the quintessential Grandpa in Chitty. What do you love about the guy?

Liam: The role of Grandpa is one I felt I could pull off. He’s wonderfully eccentric and has songs that reflect that (POSH and Roses of Success). Throw in a questionable British accent (not so low as Cockney but not officer material either) fabulous ‘mutton chops’ and you have a dream character to work with. Thankfully I have a very tolerant wife and a family that encourages each metamorphosis.

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VOS: The walking stick you’re using in the show has a history all of it’s own doesn’t it?

Liam: Grandpa’s ‘swagger stick’ came courtesy of a friend, whose father (‘Tim’ Gordon Charles Lloyd Clark) wielded it during WWII in England, Italy, Sicily and Holland as a Captain with the 48th Highlanders, serving with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. It is a treat to pay tribute to Captain Clark as he got a kick out of some of my escapades when I was younger. If anyone wants to hear research on the swagger stick, pull up a chair and we can have a chat.

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VOS: Tell us about the farm and Rebecca (Becky?). What’s home after Grandpa is all packed away until another rehearsal?

Liam: After the show closes and the character of Grandpa is put to bed you’ll find me in Grafton in a very old farm house with my wife Rebecca, two high energy Vizslas, a cat with a dark side, twenty-two chickens and a motorcycle with a yellow sidecar.

Thank you VOS for letting me live the life of Grandpa.

Don’t miss your chance to see Liam Cragg as Grandpa in VOS Theatre’s production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! Opening Night is November 19, 2015 and the show runs for 2 weeks. Order your tickets by calling 905-372-2210 or online at vostheatre.com.

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The Great Chitty Sewing Bee of 2015

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Lee Wakelin, Nelly VanVeldhuisen, Pat Crimmins, Marg Kropf, & Florence Fletcher at work.

Two designers, two producers, several actors, and a slew of volunteers showed on Halloween to build or alter some of the more than 200 costumes needed for the VOS Theatre production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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Florence, Lise, Erin Welsh, Lee Wakelin, & Elizabeth Gordon running their machines at top speed.

For co-director Joel Varty it was a sight to behold.  “It’s amazing to be part of something where people are willing to give up their Saturday.  Seeing Truly Scrumptious pull wig duty was especially fun!”

Some of the volunteers worked for more than 12 hours, indicative of the spirit of community that lives in VOS Theatre.

THANK YOU TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS WHO CONTRIBUTED THEIR TIME!

Don’t miss your chance to see all these wonderful creations in VOS Theatre’s production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! Opening Night is November 19, 2015 and the show runs for 2 weeks. Order your tickets by calling 905-372-2210 or online at vostheatre.com.

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She’s Truly Scrumptious

She is an actress with a degree in Music Performance (Voice) from Western Ontario, a music teacher at Dale Road Public School, a wife (married to Stacy Main – VOS THEATRE’s Caractacus Potts) and a valued talent in VOS THEATRE’s upcoming production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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Angela Main with her husband, Stacy

I caught up with Angela Main somewhere between costume fittings and a choreography session.

VOS THEATRE: You are a teacher at Dale Road Public School?

Angela Main: Yes. I am responsible for the music program there which includes instrumental music and extracurriculars including band, choir and ukulele club (her favourite). Teaching music to students that have such diverse music backgrounds has pushed me to go outside my comfort zone. I’m so lucky to have a great group of students that really love and appreciate their music education.

Angela rehearses a dance number with the cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Angela rehearses a dance number with the cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

VOS: You sing. You teach music. You’re an actress and you share your love of music with students and audience members. What can an education in music bring to an individual’s well being?

Angela: Music education contributes to learning and intelligence and is known to relieve stress and anxiety. It helps to create a well rounded individual. I feel as though music accepts and has a place for everyone.

VOS: Tell us about the first production you were ever in? What is the memory of that experience that stands out?

Angela: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. I saw it as a child in Toronto. Even thought my parents didn’t have an extensive background in music they always took us to see show, exposing us from a very young age to theatre. They do the same for my nieces and nephews, their grandchildren.

Then I had the pleasure of being in the female chorus and took on various roles in my high school production of the show. I learned that musical theatre and performing was a passion and would forever be a part of my life.

Angela pictured in a local production of Annie

VOS: tell us about shows that you have most loved working on. Annie, Mary Poppins?

Angela: Mary Poppins was a fabulous experience. Working with professionals and learning from them was a dream come true for me. I had always wanted to work in a professional production and never thought it would happen. Truly a dream brought to reality.

White Christmas was our (with husband Stacy) first production with the VOS and we fell in love with the people involved in this group. They are all so committed to the organization and it’s success. We instantly felt welcomed and a part of the family.

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Angela rehearses a scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Jenna LeFrancois (Jemima)

VOS: What’s your favourite part of the rehearsal process?

Angela: I love exploring the character, getting to know them, their background, what makes them who they are and what contributes to what they do.

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Angela rehearses a scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She’s spinning around and around… can you guess which scene this is from?

VOS: So Opening Night you’ll be sitting beside your husband in that amazing car. What are you most looking forward to?

Angela: The audience reaction. I can’t wait for them to see Chitty brought to life.

She’s a leader and valued talent in the cast of Chitty; a most focussed and studied pro. But the fun begins when you hear her incredible voice and glance her way to see a very special magic in her eyes; a magic audiences will fall in love with as we have… She is, indeed, Truly Scrumptious.

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Don’t miss your chance to see Angela as Truly Scrumptious in VOS Theatre’s production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! Opening Night is November 19, 2015 and the show runs for 2 weeks. Order your tickets by calling 905-372-2210 or online at vostheatre.com.

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Don’t Miss It!