Ever since Laura Jacobsson was in Grade 6 she knew theatre would be a major part of her life.
She just didn’t know how much.
It is still a question the Barrhead native is asking herself as she prepares to be in her first professional production at the Edmonton Fringe Festival called Ever After, a musical adaptation of a French folk tale, the Little Glass Slipper, made famous by Walt Disney animated classic Cinderella. Jacobsson plays one of the evil step-sisters.
Ever After runs from Aug. 17 to Aug. 24 at Edmonton’s Holy Trinity Anglican Church Sanctuary Stage. Depending on the day performances start at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.
“Theatre and acting is something that has been part of me. I just need something to help me realize that,” she said, adding after Ever After wraps, she plans to continue her acting career.
In Jacobsson’s case, the catalyst turned out to be a tour of Barrhead Composite High School, which every Barrhead Elementary School Grade 6 takes as a right of passage.
As part of the tour, Jacobsson visited the drama theatre.
“We saw at the drama theatre snippets of all these plays put on by the senior high school drama theatre and it just seemed something I was drawn too,” she said.
Jacobsson’s love of acting and the theatre was also enhanced by her experience in Barrhead Composite High School’s (BCHS) drama program, which she participated in from Grade 8 to 12.
However, she said the event which cemented her goal to become a professional actor happened in Grade 12, when she played Scar, in the school’s musical production The Lion King. Scar is the antagonist who competes, often through devious means for the throne of the Pride Lions.
“It was just a lot of fun and I knew it is something I wanted to continue to do,” she said.
After graduating BCHS in 2015 Jacobsson followed a friend to Vancouver who was auditioning for a position in VanArts Institute of Media Arts’ Film and TV acting program.
“She wanted help with monologues and things like that and suggested that I come along,” she said, adding when she got there she decided to audition as well.
Jacobsson was accepted and in September she enrolled in the one-year intensive program, saying it lived up to its name.
Most days she would begin at 9 a.m. and would end at midnight or whenever security decided to kick her out.
After finishing the program in September 2016, Jacobsson took a couple of months off before starting to look for work in the industry.
“I just needed some time to recuperate,” she said.
Originally Jacobsson planned to remain in Vancouver, but circumstances demanded her return to Barrhead, where she continued to pursue her goal of acting professionally by scrolling the Theatre Alberta website looking for productions and roles she felt she was right for when she saw the Sherard Musical Theatre Association’s musical-comedy.
“It isn’t necessarily in my comfort zone. I really don’t have a lot of experience with musicals except for The Lion King in high school but my training at VanArts included dancing and that helped me a lot,” she said.
As for what people can expect when seeing Ever After it is a parody of Cinderella, using the world of daytime TV to move the story along.
TV host Sally Lizzie Jesse Donatello-Griffin wonders if time truly heals all wounds so she invites Cinderella and middle-aged ‘beauty-impaired’ stepsisters to reconcile.
“The character of Cinderella and a lot of her mannerisms is very much from the classic Disney adaptation, but the stepsisters are not at all like Anastasia and Drizella, especially in appearance. We look very weird; we wear heavy makeup, wigs, and wear very crazy colours. I think everyone will be surprised by our interpretation and totally entertained.