“It’s about us,” Sarena Parmar says with the punchy, upbeat voice that’s won her a reasonably smooth ride to an acting career.
Originally from Kelowna, Parmar is returning from Toronto this spring to host a series of acting workshops at The Rotary Arts Centre and get into the head space of an orchardist once more.
After launching a successful stage and television career in Toronto with YTV’s How To Be Indie—not to mention an opening gig with the Canadian Stage Company—Parmar says her next move is to delve into play writing by re-imagining Anton Checkov’s The Cherry Orchard. The actor turned budding playwright needs to be close to the cherry blossoms to do it.
While she’s here, she’s also hoping to share a little of what she’s learned.
“I know that it was hard for me to find opportunities when I was growing up in Kelowna,” said Parmar. “Now that I live in Toronto, I like to teach a few classes when I come back home.”
Usually, this means a trip back to the high school that helped her get her feet wet on the stage, but this time she is taking the lessons to a wider audience, connecting with the Rotary Arts Centre.
The workshops include one on acting for the camera, a weekend crash course which sees actors work on a film or television scene and get personal coaching through a simulated audition environment.
She’ll hold a Q and A session on theatre schools and the business in Canada, and for those looking to learn some new technique, there is a physical acting seminar.
A big part of building any successful career is knowing how to nail an audition, and Parmar has mastered the art. She got her first major role while still in school in Montreal and landed the YTV gig in a series of three auditions.
As such, she will show local actors some of the exercises and tricks she uses to break down a scene, analyze text, and research and build a character to land the big role.
The workshops run May 27 to June 4. Information can be found on the Rotary Centre for the Arts website, www.rotarycentreforthearts.com.
“So many people warned me how unpredictable and difficult acting is,” said Parmar. “But you really can’t know until you’re in it.”
While there’s nothing that could have prepared her for the toll of constantly putting herself out there, facing constructive and not-so constructive criticism, there were a few key things that did prepare her to succeed.
“You have to really love the craft of creating a character,” she said.
As for where she got her first real taste of acting, it was in her Grade 6 Christmas pageant. Her class was doing Christmas on the Starship Enterprise and she was so nervous, all she could bring herself to audition for was the role of the computer.