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A Glimpse into the Life of the Beautiful and Talented Sarah-Jane Redmond
WD: What make you decide to become an actress?
SJR: I don't remember ever making the decision to becoming an actress. It was just a thing that I was going to do. I remember my mom telling me that when I was five years old she came home from work to find me crying. I had the phone book open and couldn't find actress (laughs).
I studied dance for eight years in Toronto and made the transition of going to theatre school. I was going to go to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) in England and I actually made the trip over but ended up just travelling for the year and having a great time. I came back and went to the William Davis Centre for two years.
I think that everybody finds their teacher and Bill Davis for me really worked. He didn't have to say very much and just seemed to know how to help me find my way in terms of learning what it took.
The thing that wasn't in the schools in 1991, was film and television. So when you trained to be an actor you training was focused on relationships and listening; the fundamental things that are so important and which you miss a lot of when you're taking just film and television. With film and television a lot of times you start from external points and it can be difficult to work backwards, if that makes sense. So although there wasn't a lot of film and television technical aspects taught in the school, it gave me all the fundamentals.
Once I graduated I found myself just sitting around and it didn't feel right. I didn't want to just wait around to get a job, so I started a theatre company called the Holy Barbarians. We named ourselves after the Beat Generation, which were a group of writer in the fifties. Holy in our search for truth and self and Barbaric in our rejection of the so called standards of civilized success, morality, and neurosis (laughs). It was a lot to fulfill (laughs).
I had no idea what I was doing. It was one of those things where you jump into something and you think, looking back, had I known how much work it was going to be, but I threw myself into starting a theatre company and learned through trial and error. We did about three or four plays. There was a great group of actors; Lori Triolo, Ben Ratner, Frank Cassini, and I think John Cassini. I really wanted to work with these guys and so I found a great play called The Red Address, by David Ives, and it was fantastic. We did that for The Fringe Festival and I ended up getting Lisa Kirk as an agent.
I was signed up for film and television work and it was kind of a rough go for me the first couple of years because I didn't really know what I was selling. I thought “I'm an actress and I can do everything” and I didn't really have a specific look or package I was selling. I've discovered how important it is to fine tune what you're selling, and then you can branch off and people discover that you can do all sorts of things.