Performer. Producer. Puppetmaster.
Andrew MacDonald-Smith just might have the longest job title on the planet. Actor, comedic mathematician, singer, master of safely falling down stairs, assistant producer, puppet builder, improviser, quick-change-specialist, storyteller, dancer—and he loves every part.
“There’s just no possible way to get bored,” says Andrew. “I don’t have a single favourite thing because I love each part of my job during that moment when I’m doing it. I love to sing. I love to make people laugh. I love tap dancing. I love puppetry. I love the feeling I get when I have my audience—whether it’s 600 people or one—in the palm of my hand, not knowing exactly where we’re going until I decide it’s time to tell them. It’s intoxicating.”
It’s also busy. Workdays that last 15 or 16 hours aren’t unusual, but Andrew says that doesn’t matter when you get to do what you love all day long.
“ Working in the arts can be hard and it’s exhausting, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy spending all of my time doing it.”
“I had a roommate once who didn’t work in the arts, and he said to me, ‘You’re always working. You come home from rehearsing a show and go straight out to see a show.’ It never dawned on me until that moment that anyone would think of what I was doing as work—and the very idea was hilarious. Working in the arts can be hard and it’s exhausting, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy spending all of my time doing it.”
Performing is how Andrew has filled his days since he was a little kid, but he says making a career of it happened because of people.
“The people I met during my time at MacEwan are some of the same people I’m working with 15 years later. Doors opened for me because of people—and those in Edmonton’s arts community are incredibly diverse in their skill sets.”
Andrew says being able to develop a diverse range of skills translates into consistent work—even when times are tough.
“Edmonton is one of those rare cities where you can work in the arts consistently—there’s so much opportunity here. And the more skills you have, the better off you are, especially in times of financial restraint. Edmonton artists run theatre companies, they direct, they write, they act, they sing, they puppeteer. A lot of people don’t realize how special the city is in this way. There isn’t another place in Canada where I would be able to work as much as I do.”
Andrew MacDonald-Smith is an alumnus of the Theatre Arts program. Learn more at MacEwan.ca/TheatreArts.