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Sharing a passion unites former Saultites

Marc Beaudette and Sandra Forsell have a lot in common, especially their passion for local theatre
love letter rose stock

Marc Beaudette and Sandra Forsell have come full circle.

The former Saultites and graduates of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy and the National Theatre School respectively, have launched their own local theatre company, the Algoma Repertory Theatre. Love Letters, their first production, runs from April 3-6 at The Grand Gardens Downtown.

“We wanted our first foray to be simple,” says Beaudette. “Hopefully, it will be something that touches the audience. We found it to be really poignant, since people just don’t write these sorts of ‘snail mail’ letters anymore.”

Love Letters, written by A.R. Gurney, was first performed in 1988 and tells the five-decade long story of a complicated, loving, and tragic friendship through the vehicle of letters. Beaudette and Forsell co-directed the piece.

“It’s just the two of us on-stage,” explains Beaudette. “We have a technical director in charge of lights, a sound person, and a stage manager, but for the drama itself – we designed it and rehearsed together.”

Not too difficult as the two are married.

But why dinner theatre?

Beaudette says he always liked this format in Sault Ste. Marie.

“Maybe it is more of a rural thing,” he notes. “But Sandra and I felt this theatre niche was missing in the Soo. Just the idea of creating a whole evening out of it makes it a cool thing. You’re sitting with a group of people you may or may not know, yet you get the chance to interact with them over the course of a meal. It’s got a real community sense about it.”

Dinner is served family style and features the classic wedding-food menu of soup, salad, pasta, meatballs, beef and chicken cutlets with a cheesecake dessert and coffee. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m.

The two actors met while doing theatre together in the late Richard Howard’s, Sault-based, Pull-Chain company in the late 90s, then moved to Toronto together to pursue acting gigs. They also opened a pub, The Red Lion, at Carlton and Jarvis. While both juggled film and television spots with the bar operation until 2012, they both missed the joy of theatre and its hustle-free lifestyle.

“In Toronto, you just can’t support yourself as a theatre actor,” says Beaudette. “And we really missed the sort of performing where you’re not doing it to just put food on the table.”

“At first we thought our move back would be short term,” laughs Beaudette. “But to be honest, we fell in love with everything the Sault has to offer: the pace of life, the affordability, the landscapes. After being in a big city, you really appreciate this setting.”

With the financial assistance of 24 backers in addition to Beaudette and Sandra, they formed the Algoma Reperatory Theatre in January, 2019, though Beaudette acknowledges: “the goal here is not to become rich. This is about loving what you do and the community you are in.” Annual memberships to the company run for $20 and allow members to contribute to general meetings to give input on a future wish-list of productions.

Upcoming plays for the 2019 season include Death and the Maiden (June 5-8), Evil Dead: The Musical (Oct. 30-Nov. 2) and It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play (Dec. 18-21). The last show will be presented at Sault Community Theatre Centre and there will be a call for open auditions.

Tickets cost $65 and are on sale at Grand Gardens North or online. Also be sure to check for updates on the Algoma Repertory Company here.

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