Patricia has been directing and acting in plays by Norm Foster for almost as long as she’s been involved in theatre. We reached out to her to learn more about her career and her experience directing Come Down From Up River.
Patricia Vanstone’s passion for Canadian theatre spans 35 years as an actor, a dramaturge and a director. Born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Patricia is an award winning director who has been involved in Norm Foster’s productions for almost as long as she’s been in the business of creating theatre. She first appeared in our 1984 production The Melville Boys (Norm’s second professional production) and has directed five Norm Foster world premieres for The Foster Festival.
As part of our lead-up to November’s performances of Come Down From Up River (The Foster Festival’s world premiere production directed by Patricia), we asked her to answer a few skill testing questions in hopes of offering you an introduction into Patricia’s background and her longstanding connection with Norm’s work.
Welcome home! Tell us about your New Brunswick hometown and one thing you love about it.
I was born and raised in St Stephen. Growing up in a Border Town is a special thing. I think you become aware of how things can be different yet be very much the same. Looking across the St.Croix River at Calais in a different country at a time when the border-crossing was much more casual seemed to expand my idea of the world…and then there’s Ganong’s Chocolates…what’s not to love?!
How did you first get involved in theatre?
I really got interested in Grade 9. I had a fantastic teacher who maybe recognized that I needed a nudge and asked me to audition for a play for Drama Club..no turning back from there! That’s why we call our Foster Festival outreach The Drama Club.
You first appeared in Norm’s second play The Melville Boys and have been working with him lots over the past several years. What is it about Norm’s work that you enjoy the most?
Norm’s plays tell about extraordinary moments in the lives of ordinary people. I love that people from all walks of life can relate to something or some character. At the Foster Festival we call it Humour With Heart. I love how audiences are so deeply affected by our productions and of course, there is no downside to hearing a whole audience erupt in laughter!
Can you share a few thoughts on the play ‘Come Down From Up River’ and what you’ve enjoyed most about the production compared to all the others you’ve been apart of?
First of all, working with these talented actors has been a treat. The fact that Norm has written diversity into the script is wonderful and important. But I think the thing that I’ve enjoyed most about working on this play is the way in which big societal ideas have been explored in a gentle, funny and deeply personal story of family.
If you had to pick one theme or message as an audience ‘take away’ from this show, what would it be?
“Love is love is love!”
Come Down From Up River runs Nov. 8-10 at the Fredericton Playhouse. Buy Tickets