Joy Coghill on the Holiday Theatre (Part 9 of 9)
Joy Coghill on the Holiday Theatre, Canada's first professional children's theatre.
Inspired by teacher Charlotte Chorpenning in Chicago, Joy Coghill founded the Holiday Theatre, the first professional children’s theatre company in Canada, in 1953 along with her husband, John Thorne, Jessie Richardson, Sydney Risk, Myra Benson, Peter Mannering and Russ Williamson. Dorothy Somerset offered her use of the old Frederic Wood Theatre to play on weekends. In order to financially sustain themselves, the company began touring. Myra Benson acted as their tour manager. An actor herself, Benson had studied in England with Brian Way and Peter Slade to become an expert on children’s drama. The company toured in schools throughout the province and eventually merged with the Playhouse and continued for a while under David Latham. Of the shows presented on tour, the majority were new plays. In the year of Canada’s centennial, Joy took over the Playhouse and they toured across Canada with two plays, one of which was Beware the Quickly Who by Eric Nicol.
Thomson asks Coghill where she found the energy and strength to work relentlessly as an actor, director, writer, teacher, artistic director, founder of PAL, and to raise three children. Coghill offers in answer, “I don’t know. I’d have to say God…It was given me. I was born with it…use what you were given to the max.” Joy recalls performing with William Shatner in Never Say No for the GM Theatre live on the CBC and that when reporters asked Shatner about what he wanted from his life he answered, “I try to do as much as I can with however many minutes I have left.”
Interviewed by R.H. Thomson on December 14, 2010 in Vancouver, B.C. Filming location courtesy of Performing Arts Lodges (PAL) Vancouver. ...