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Light, camera, action! Acting workshop in Saint John

By Regis Phillips May 3, 2024 | 8:47 AM

West Saint John native Mariel Kathryn Hunter says she got the acting bug when she attended Island View Elementary School.

“I had a wonderful kindergarten teacher named Bette O’Toole, who is just an amazing woman but she cast me as Barbie in our Christmas play and I think from that moment on I was pretty hooked being on stage,” said Hunter.

After years of performing on stage and working in local media, Hunter moved to Vancouver, B.C., in 2012 to further advance her acting career. She has gone on to work in theatre, film, and television on both sides of the curtain and the camera.

It was during her time on the West Coast when she founded Fort Heart Productions in 2017, a theatre and film production company producing 20 shows and theatrical pieces alongside numerous community-building events and skill-focused workshops. However, the pandemic forced a pause in operations in 2020.

In 2o23, Hunter moved back to Saint John and now works remotely for film and television producers, directors, and writers from her home. She says Fort Heart Productions is back in operation, kicking off with a free acting workshop.

The workshop will take at the Admiral Beatty Building on Charlotte Street in Saint John this Saturday, with spots limited to anyone over the age of 16.

Hunter says the one-day workshop will feature acting exercises, line learning and casting seminars, finishing the day with a monologue and scene work seminar.

Following the introductory workshop, Hunter plans to hold auditions and additional workshops to produce Fort Heart Productions’ first play in Saint John this summer.

“Acting is a beautiful wondering thing for everyone to enjoy and it is just fun to play, at the of the day that’s what our ethos is let’s have some fun,” said Hunter.

“Saint John’s arts community is flourishing, and I am excited to contribute to its growth and vitality. The goal was always to be able to bring my professional experience from Vancouver to play a part in the expansion of the arts in Saint John and I’m elated to finally have that opportunity.”