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The pantomime man with the perfect run

T. Collins / Oakville News
T. Collins / Oakville News

Brady Morrison doesn't just love being on stage - there's one project every year he looks forward to more than anything else: Oakville's annual holiday pantomime show.

The family-friendly show is staged every year by the Burloak Theatre Group - this year's show Cinderella Potter is now in its final week of performances.

And just like he's done every year since it began, Morrison is in the cast. He's one of only two actors who's been on stage (or in 2020's case, on screen) for every single production.

Oakville News was granted special access to meet Morrison back stage ahead of his performance to talk with him about what makes performing the show so special and what the show means to the Oakville community.

Oakville News (ON): Thanks for making the time to do this, Brady - especially with the busy show schedule this week. Have you been enjoying the show this year?

Brady Morrison (BM): This show is so much fun - and it's so good being back at the theatre. (Meaning the Oakville Centre, following other venues for the last two years of shows due to COVID.)

ON: What was your first show with Burloak Theatre Group?

BM: It was the other Cinderella, the first pantomime back in 2013. I was Prince Charming in that show. Obviously, I'm doing a very different part this year.

Burloak Theatre Group
Burloak Theatre Group

(In this year's show, Morrison plays a role in elaborate and colourful drag, called "Hedwig the Hangry Finch", a parody of the titular character in drag from the rock musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch.")

ON: How many other shows have you done with Burloak?

BM: Other than the 10 pantomimes, I've also been in the casts of the musicals Shrek, Rent and I'll be in Cabaret next year.

ON: Do you remember the very first show you ever did?

BM: I do, but I don't remember the name! I was seven years old, and I played a mole and an owl in a play called, I think it was called Jason’s Quest - it was in Emboro, Ontario, when I was in grade two. It was my first time on stage, and right after doing that I took mime lessons, yes really! [Laughs.] And I took home second place in my miming competition.

I loved that first time. I don’t remember the rehearsals but I remember the production - I had a dance solo in it. And for a seven year old there was a lot of big words in the script.

ON: How did you first hear about the Burloak pantomime?

BM: Chantal Forde, the director, reached out to me. I did the Performing Arts program at Sheridan here in Oakville, where she was a teaching assistant at the time. She reached out to me on Facebook and asked if I would be interested in auditioning and I said, "Sure," - and I landed Prince Charming!

ON: Has a lot changed from that first production?

BM: I remember a lot from that first experience. I remember rehearsing at the strip mall in Bronte that’s no longer there [it's now a condominium building], and we rehearsed in an empty store we got to use. But the rehearsal process is still the same now - positive, silly, and a lot of fun.

ON: What's different about revisiting Cinderella now, 10 years later?

BM: For me, every year has the same feeling. The excitement, the joy - you get to see people you’ve done shows with year after year. 

ON: The pantomime is a tradition not just here in town but for you too, personally. Why is the pantomime show every year so important?

BM: For me, it’s having a sense of family. I love seeing the same people you’ve done shows with for so many years - there’s a special camraderie in the cast. The panto is my type of theatre because I’m a silly, goofy person. And that’s what a pantomime is.

Over the years I set myself a goal that I wanted to do ten - and then I would see what happens. I said that after the second one (which was Peter Pan in 2014), and I just fell in love. I fell in love with getting to do this.

ON: What is it like working with the Burloak team every year?

BM: Tim [Cadeny] and Chantal [Forde] are great writers and Chantal is a great director. There are so many things about this group - It’s everything about it.

I love the rehearsals, the improv, the quirky characters in each show - it’s all of that. And when you're on stage, when you see the kids and how much the families love it, especially how people come to see us year after year - you see that it’s an impactful part of there lives.

That’s why we do it. We're doing it to bring people back in theatre and give them a good time.

ON: Speaking with you, it's clearly impactful for you, too.

BM: I want to show the kids in the audience they can do anything. Even perform in drag.

Burloak Theatre Group
Burloak Theatre Group

Cinderella Potter runs until Dec. 21 at the Oakville Centre.

Note: portions of this interview have been edited for clarity and length.


Tyler Collins

About the Author: Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is the editor for Oakville News. Originally from Campbellton, New Brunswick, he's lived in Oakville more than 20 years. Tyler is a proud Sheridan College graduate of both Journalism and Performing Arts.
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