Today’s “Spotlight” is on the sweet and spirited Laura Gillis!
Laura first became involved with QAAW back in 2014 after being introduced to our company by a family friend. “I first heard about Quick As A Wink through our close family friend, who's practically my aunt, Brenda Bailey,” she says. “The first show I saw was Oklahoma, and I was amazed! That summer, I was in the Quick As A Wink Musical Theatre Camp production of Aladdin Jr. as a Narrator. The next summer, we did a musical showcase for the camp. I guess you could say those were my two first shows, but my first actual big production was Annie in January.”
Most recently, Laura took the QAAW stage during our production of The Little Mermaid. “I have to say my favourite part about The Little Mermaid, other than the show in general, was the cast!” she says. “Everyone was so sweet and really supportive of each other, and especially of the younger kids in the cast. I know there were a few people - young and adult! – for whom this was their first theatre experience. I love how inclusive everyone was towards each other. Theatre really requires a lot of teamwork, and this cast definitely provided it.”
Of course, Laura was involved in theatre long before joining QAAW; she has been hooked on theatre since her very first show! “My favourite theatre memory was my first ever cold read,” Laura says. “I was one of the youngest in the group, and I was so impressed with the fact that it was the first time we had ever seen our script - it was an original musical, so we had no idea what the plot was like - and everyone was already developing their characters: the little quirks, the way they hold themselves, their tone of voice, everything coming along right away. I like that [in theatre] you can be whoever you want. It's like when I was a little kid and my cousin and I would write out little skits with our Barbie dolls, spending hours and hours acting them out and changing the story. You can acquire the mindset of anyone you want - from a ranting six year old to a catty princess who is really desperate to marry Prince Eric, both of which I have portrayed!”
During her time with QAAW, Laura has wowed audiences not only with her acting, but also with her dancing and singing talents! “In Annie I played a featured dancer-slash-maid, and in The Little Mermaid I was a contest singer, a tap dancing seagull, and a featured dancer,” she says. “I find being a featured dancer is a great experience because you get to have some extra challenges in the show, without the stress of being in the main cast. I also dance practically 24/7! I do tap, jazz, ballet, and contemporary. I've never done hip hop, but I'd really like to try it. I'm also training to become a dance teacher for the Children's Program. I'm also currently a member of Cantatrice Ensemble Girls Honour Choir and we're going to Niagra Falls to compete in a national music festival next May, which I think will be a really good musical experience for me.”
You don’t need to wait long to see Laura take the Quick As A Wink stage again; she is appearing as Sleeping Beauty later this year in our upcoming production of Into the Woods! “Into the Woods is actually my favourite musical, mostly because of the music,” Laura says. “It's so complex and very different than other Disney music, which is typically easier to learn and perform. I'm also really excited to be in the show with people I haven't met before. At my audition, I met some people who were really nice and are now part of the show, so I'm really looking forward to work with them!”
Thank you for all your contributions to Quick As A Wink, Laura! Your enthusiasm is catching, and we cannot wait to work with you again during Into the Woods!
Stay tuned for more “Spotlights” on the great members of our Quick As A Wink community! New “Spotlights” are posted every Tuesday and Saturday.
Do you know someone you believe deserves to be featured in our “Spotlight on …” segment? Shoot us a message! We are always accepting nominations!