Wednesday, 09 October 2013 15:29

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Left to right: Amy Burks, Jesse Lynn Anderson, Natalie Gauthier, Laurie Gillespie Left to right: Amy Burks, Jesse Lynn Anderson, Natalie Gauthier, Laurie Gillespie Photo by Kelsey Krogman

 On Sunday, September 29, Rosebud School of the Arts inducted four new graduates as Fellows of the Rosebud School of the Arts Guild (FRSA) at the school’s annual graduation and scholarship event The ROSAs: Recognizing Outstanding Student Achievement.


This year’s guild inductees – Jesse Lynn Anderson, Amy Burks, Natalie Gauthier and Laura Gillespie – are graduating after four years of training in RSA’s Mentorship Programme. Also honoured at the event were 14 students receiving a Certificate in Theatre Foundations and five students receiving a Mentorship Level 1 Diploma. Over $41,000 in scholarships and bursaries were awarded to RSA students from new and longtime donors.
Education Director Paul Muir describes RSA’s unique mentorship approach to theatre training. “The programme is designed in such a way that as a student progresses towards their FRSA the instructor-student relationship transforms into a relationship of peers. By the time the student becomes a guild member, they are in fact colleagues. As part of their programme, each of these grads has had the opportunity to apprentice on the Opera House Stage in Rosebud Theatre productions.

“This year’s graduates are affectionately known as the ‘Final Four,’” Muir continues. “Out of a first-year class of 15 students, they were the ones who had the drive and passion to complete the program and commit themselves to a life in the theatre. They overcame incredible challenges discovering their true calling as theatre artists, becoming the storytellers they are today. We celebrate them and know that they will have a significant impact on the Alberta theatre community.”
Each of the four graduates has hit the ground running with all of them having professional work lined up for the 2013-2014 theatre season. Laura Gillespie will appear later in 2013 in Northern Light Theatre’s Fall show in Edmonton. Natalie Gauthier is set to appear in productions with Fire Exit Theatre, Sandbox Theatre, and Trickster Theatre, all in Calgary. Jesse Anderson will appear in Birnton Theatrical’s Stage West production in November. Amy Burks will appear in a new work by Red Deer playwright Andrew Kooman in November and a production with Calgary’s Theatre Basement in December.
Sunday’s graduate address was given by Judith Buchan Robinson, a film and stage actor and writer who currently appears in Rosebud Theatre’s Our Town. She noted that in her career she has been fortunate to work with Beau Bridges, Paul Gross, Jason Priestley and Gordon Pinsent among others. In her speech, she referenced an encounter with Steven Spielberg’s step-daughter that she felt would be of encouragement to this year’s four graduates. “While warming my hands around a fire with a bunch of Hollywood actors during a chilly all-night call in southern Alberta, I heard Jessica Capshaw say: ‘What I would really like to do is to live in a small community and be able to make a difference there!’ And I realized that I am in the midst of the kind of life that Jessica Capshaw wants! What a gift! And here you are, graduating from this tiny acting school in this small community where stories that make a difference are being told.”
Buchan Robinson went on to offer this advice for the graduates: “Improvise.  Live every, every minute, as much as you can, remembering that you in are in the midst of God’s Big Story. What’s going to happen?  Both your life and your work are going to have holiness and creativity. And this big beautiful broken world will be blessed by the truthful stories you tell. ”
The ROSAs ceremony took place from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in the Rosebud Opera house with a banquet for staff, families and friends following at the Rosebud Mercantile.
Jesse Anderson came to Rosebud from Edmonton and has been seen on the Rosebud Theatre stage in $38,000 for a friendly face. Other credits include The Elves and the Shoemaker (Birnton Theatricals), The Triumph of Love, and The Revenge of the Space Pandas (RSA). Stage management credits include The Selkie Wife (SeeingBlind Productions), The Canadian Badlands Passion Play (Jr ASM), The Little Prince (RSA) and Queen Milli of Galt (ASM, Rosebud Theatre). Anderson is also an avid painter, dancer, and aspiring stage manager.
Amy Burks hails from Springfield, Ontario. Along with fellow graduates Gauthier and Gillespie, she currently appears in Rosebud Theatre’s Our Town by Thornton Wilder, playing until October 19. Previous acting credits include Quilters, The Crucible, Triumph of Love (Rosebud School of the Arts), The Selkie Wife (SeeingBlind Productions), Cotton Patch Gospel, Anne of Green Gables, Jake and The Kid (Rosebud Theatre), Sound of Music (Kaleidoscopic Theatre), and Dream Within a Dream (Peregrin Productions).
Natalie Gauthier is excited to complete her Mentorship in Acting at Rosebud School of the Arts in 2013. Her Rosebud Theatre credits include Our Town, Anne of Green Gables and The Gifts of the Magi. RSA credits include The Crucible, Revenge of the Space Pandas, and Triumph of Love. In addition, you also may have heard Natalie singing around the tables at the Rosebud Mercantile. This little songwriter also loves riding her bike, eating bananas, and sipping earl grey tea.
Laura Gillespie grew up in Camrose, Alberta. She has always loved music and theatre which, after high school, led her to a summer volunteering as an actor with The Canadian Badlands Passion Play. It was there that she first heard about Rosebud School of the Arts. She has greatly enjoyed her time here as a student and is looking forward to graduation. Acting credits include The Revenge of the Space Pandas, The Triumph of Love, and The Crucible (Rosebud School of the Arts) Our Town, Anne of Green Gables, Jake and the Kid, and The Gifts of the Magi (Rosebud Theatre).

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