Meet Macbeth: Brieanna McCutcheon

Brieanna McCutcheon

Playing First Witch in the upcoming Theatre; Just Because production of Macbeth is Brieanna McCutheon! Brieanna was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and grew up loving soccer and track. She always enjoyed competitive sports but never did anything with it for a career or post-secondary. For college, she went to school at NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) and received her Diploma in TV Broadcasting. It was near the end of getting this diploma that she thought that she would like to pursue acting.

What's your experience with community theatre in Fort McMurray?

“Time flies, so while answering this it makes me both surprised and happy with how much I have done in two years! My first taste of theatre here in Fort McMurray was this ‘one-act’ type play that Justin Shaw wrote and Directed about grief and losing someone. It was very powerful and forced you to reach into those dark places one has hidden. We haven’t done anything more with that piece, but I would love to revisit it. As for Keyano Theatre, I was one of the Assistant Stage Manager’s for A Christmas Carol, and performed in The Drowsy Chaperone, Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii, and most recently Mamma Mia!.”

Why did you audition for Macbeth?

Brieanna as Billie Dwyer

“I am a firm believer in challenging myself and always seek to learn from my experiences. I knew nothing of Macbeth or Shakespeare going into this, and knew our Director Justin would be able to hold my hand through this process which is what I needed. So basically, I did this to challenge myself and to keep my acting muscle flexed. If you don’t use it, you lose it” she says with a laugh.

“I am really excited I have been cast… why wouldn’t I be! After leaving the audition, I felt charged up and knew something good happened. When I get that feeling, I am always 95% sure I got the part I went for. You must understand, sometimes you might want a certain part but it’s just not for you. With this play, I didn’t have that bad feeling, so I knew something great was on the horizon. This opportunity is another chance to hang out with like-minded people and to make something entertaining for the Fort McMurray community.”

You play the First Witch, what inspires you in this role?

Brieanna McCutcheon Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii Keyano Theatre Company

“Prior to the auditions I was leaning towards wanting to play Lady Macbeth since she is this twisted, dark, and complex villain-like character. I liked the challenge of her. But after I read the play in more detail, First Witch really stood out to me. It was while I was reading the First Witch words, I found the voice for the character and had a big connection to them. My mom would always joke that she was a witch when I was younger. I knew she wasn’t, but I guess that inspired me, along with Meryl Streep (Into The Woods), Mitchelle Pfeiffer (Stardust), and Anjelica Huston (The Witches).

What are you looking forward to the most with this production?

“I am looking forward to personal growth and taking on a challenge. There’s something refreshing and freeing about being something that doesn’t care about appearances. If you have never read Macbeth maybe read the SparkNotes of it before coming to see it or read a quick Synopsis of the characters so you’re more invested in the story.”

We are thrilled to work with Brieanna on our upcoming production of Macbeth! Playing at the Keyano Recital Theatre May 23-25, 2019. For more information, click HERE.

Macbeth_Event Header

Empowered Voices: The Life and Times of Theatre Kids

By Justin Shaw
Originally submitted for YMM Parent Magazine

In February 2018, Emma Gonzalez captured the world’s attention when she spoke out about a recent mass-shooting at a school in Florida. Her words were spoke with clarity, passion, and conviction as a crowd of people stood behind her and supported her every word. Her words reached a global audience, going viral overnight. The world was listening.

Who is Emma Gonzalez?

She is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And she’s a theatre kid.

Being comfortable being seen by millions of people and being outspoken has nothing to do with being “dramatic.” Well, perhaps a little – but the two virtues are not mutually exclusive.

“A theatre class is more than an artistic distraction for students,” writes Stephen Sachs, of American Theatre. “It can serve as a lightning rod of empowerment for young people. For many teens, the experience of standing in a spotlight on a stage in a play or musical, galvanizing the attention of adults in the audience, is the first time a young person discovers that what they say matters. They learn that words have power, that their voice can move and inspire others.”

Youth Production “A Kidsummer Night’s Dream” directed by Justin Shaw, Fort McMurray 2018.

Youth Production “A Kidsummer Night’s Dream” directed by Justin Shaw, Fort McMurray 2018.

What does that mean for the rest of the world? Will all drama students find themselves in front of a camera campaigning to save Western civilization? Or headlining Broadway shows next in line for a Tony award? Realistically – probably not.

What a drama student will discover is that, with practice of their skills, they will have acquired a sense of empowerment that you may not be found in any other extracurriculars.

In a traditional theatre production, rehearsal takes place in the interest of refining a piece of theatre until it satisfies authenticity. In a theatre-based program for youth however – education is at stake. Basic theatre values are instilled in these programs that transcend the medium entirely. Virtues such as valuing your peers’ time by not being late for rehearsal, respecting stage managers and technicians with words like ‘thank you’ and ‘please’, being accountable to complete your work, and, perhaps most importantly, sharing your ideas, thoughts and creativity in the interest of working as a company.

Youth Production “Fantastic Mr Fox” directed by Michelle Thorne, 2017.

Youth Production “Fantastic Mr Fox” directed by Michelle Thorne, 2017.

While some programs are focused at creating a full-length production complete with costumes, props, and (hopefully) an audience, the heart of an educational theatre program for youth is to instill a sense of empowerment, and ownership of their craft. Whether that empowerment takes them to Broadway centre stage, in front of a camera before an audience of millions, or to, what is considered by many students to be the most painful form of punishment, giving a presentation in front of your class about something you wrote yourself – the growth is unmistakable.

Empowerment conquers fear.

A work of art may not change the world, but an artist might.

Theatre Just Because Fantastic Mr Fox

For more about Theatre; Just Because, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.