Why She’s Top 40: She connects with the community through her work in theatre and shares her knowledge with those starting in the business.
Guilty Pleasure: “Reality television on the Food Network: I’m an actor that doesn’t cook!”
When Shannon Blanchet was approached in 2013 to take on a dramatic role for a Fringe show called A Picasso, she initially declined. She had mostly done comedy since her debut on the Edmonton stage in 2001. Besides, as supervising producer of Tiny Plastic Men for Mosaic Entertainment, she didn’t have a lot of time.
The script however, changed her mind, and Blanchet played the difficult role of an art-loving, Nazi officer. “All the best roles are the scary ones, because I need to prove to myself that I can do it,” says Blanchet.
One night after the show, she ran into a woman from the audience. She told Blanchet, “My parents were Holocaust survivors … you made a person out of them today.” Together, Blanchet and the woman cried.
“Sometimes I wonder, ‘Why is theatre important?'” says Blanchet. “Then I remember this interaction. Because it illuminates; it has the power to humanize and empathize.”
To that end, Blanchet has worked both on stage and behind the scenes. She manages Teatro la Quindicina‘s marketing and development and is a core cast member on Die Nasty: The Live Improvised Soap Opera. She’s produced five theatre pieces, been nominated for numerous awards and runs Pony Productions with her creative partner, Clarice Eckford.
Since her first job as crowd control for the movie, Christmas in Wonderland, her influence has grown. She’s worked as a production assistant on several projects including the video games Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins for Bioware. Almost every project produced by Mosaic Entertainment has some of her fingerprints, as well as Prairie Dog Film and Television’s Blackstone and Anaid Productions’ The Family Restaurant.
Mentors have been a critical part of her journey in theatre (and life). Now, she mentors others. “It’s time to pick up the torch,” Blanchet says, “and prove that the next generation of Edmonton artists is ready to lead.”