Long before I moved to Kelowna, I heard about Patricia Burns as an actress. My Mom, Aunt and Grandma were out here on a holiday and went to see The Miracle Worker at Kelowna Actor’s Studio. When they returned home they raved about the actress that played Anne Sullivan. I ran a touring theatre company in Calgary at the time and was really interested in knowing all about the memorable performance.
Fast forward to 2011, now I am living in Kelowna and my path crosses with the very same actress, Patricia Burns, as we were both hired to do some contract work for Bumbershoot Theatre. I am glad to say we have had the opportunity to work together (Charlotte’s Web, also for Bumbershoot & Calendar Girls for New Vintage) and to party together, too. When you think of theatre in Kelowna, it is undeniable that the petite Patricia Burns is a huge part of the scene here. She is feisty, blunt and will tell you “I am coming to see your show tonight, so don’t suck”; and is also fiercely in love with the art form. Patricia reprises her role as Shirley Valentine in the Kelowna Actors Studio production that opens this week and I know there will be a lot of people who will go and see this play-many for a second time.
Patricia was born in Belfast, Ireland but grew up in Vancouver. Her first show was in Grade One when she played Queen of The Raindrops and had a magical wand that could open all of flowers. Entranced by the applause, Patricia acted all the way through school and even was part of a national drama competition. But after high school she got on with “real life” and didn’t return to the stage until she realized in her 30's just how much she missed performing. Since then she has never looked back.
“I love the paradox of having to put some of myself into these characters to make them come alive, that in order to escape, I have to find whatever it is in myself. It's what keeps me hooked,” says Pat.
Patricia’s return to Shirley Valentine, “a 64 page one woman show”, after seven years is an exciting prospect. She knows the play is a hit and is relishing in the opportunity to revisit it and has put in layers into the many characters she plays.
In terms of her take on the Kelowna theatre scene she says, “There are several groups all doing their own thing, there's not a lot of collaboration. I try to stay out of all of the drama, and go where the roles are. I've performed for pretty much all of the groups. What is great is the wealth of talent we have here in the OK. From on-stage to back stage, it is a very eclectic and talented group.” I am very fortunate for being able to have worked with Patricia and hope to do so again soon.
Check out Patricia Burns in Shirley Valentine, running Sept. 11-28. Tickets available at kelownaactorsstudio.com
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.