Artist Spotlight: Sarah Quick

Theatre isn’t supposed to be elitist.

So says playwright and actor Sarah Quick when talking about Globus Theatre at the Lakeview Arts Barn (LAB), located outside Bobcaygeon ON. “We are accessible, geographically; people don’t have to travel to Toronto to see the best performers in Canada. They are here on our stage, performing shows written mainly by Canadian playwrights. We are accessible, cost-wise; going to see a live show shouldn’t break the bank. And we are accessible to kids; they can experience live theatre, and sometimes even participate in it,” she goes on to say.

In fact, the annual Christmas panto at LAB affords Sarah, as the playwright, the opportunity to write specifically for the local children who take part. She smiles as she says, “I see something in a child and I write their part to allow them to shine.”

Quick grew up in Manchester, England, and by age 8 she was bitten by the acting bug, saying “I had found my place in the world. My niche became making people think and making them laugh.” The “proper all-girls school” she attended encouraged its students to be what they wanted.

Her career as a playwright began in 1999, “because I was an actor and I wanted to produce my own works. It’s never been about making money, but rather having an impact and making a difference.”

In Winnipeg in 1996, during the Canadian leg of the International Fringe Festival circuit, Quick met James Barrett, an actor working in theatre, film and television. His work kept him grounded in Canada while Sarah was often on tour for five months of the year all over the world. “It’s hard to maintain a relationship under those conditions,” she recalls.

Barrett, raised in Fenelon Falls, and Quick set out to re-establish a summer theatre in the Kawartha Lakes area. In 2003 they founded Globus Theatre (and got engaged the same day), in 2004 they purchased the Lakeview Banquet Hall and in 2006 opened Globus Theatre at the LAB (Lakeview Arts Barn) where Quick took on the role of artistic director.

Her canon of works includes six one-act plays, eight pantos, half a dozen murder mysteries and eight full-length plays, including “Sunshine Express”, a comedy about a busload of snowbirds going to Florida. “To fully appreciate the experience James and I actually accompanied a group of seniors on a bus trip to Florida,” she explains, “and the play wrote itself – the people and the situations became the story, in a non-specific way.” “Sunshine Express” has since gone on tour and been produced by other theatre companies.

“Knickers”, another of Quick’s successes across Canada, the U.S., and New Zealand, is about a small town which loses its main industry; while the men weep and wail over the devastating loss, the women set about to solve the problem by starting a new business, making knickers. They even make giant pair as a roadside attraction.

When “Knickers” came back from being on tour, Quick decided LAB needed its own giant pair of knickers on display. She recalls it was a community effort to make them – and hang them – and at 70’ wide by 40’ high they ended up in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest pair of underpants.

Looking back on her chosen path, Sarah Quick concludes, “Working in the arts is a legitimate career – if you excel and enjoy it, why would you not make it your career.”

By Belinda Wilson