Artist Profile: Nicola Cavendish

Beatrice Zeilinger, Lynda Boyd and Nicola Cavendish. Photo by: David Cooper

Beatrice Zeilinger, Lynda Boyd and Nicola Cavendish. Photo by: David Cooper

In a career with so many highs, Nicola Cavendish role as Theresa in Marion Bridge marks the end her stage acting career with the accumulation of over four decades of production credits. 

Over the years, Nicola has spent five seasons at the Shaw Theatre Festival, she has performed Shirley Valentine a staggering 675 times and worked alongside Tennessee Williams during the Vancouver Playhouse's production of The Red Devil Battery Sign. These are just a handful of professional highlights over the years. 

We talked to Nicola about what to expect from the newly formed A Wing and A Prayer collective's production of Daniel MacIvor's iconic Marion Bridge that runs September 5-20 in our intimate studio theatre. 

A Wing and A Prayer is a new collective. How did it come about?

A Wing and A Prayer was a name I adopted with my late husband who was a wing and a prayer himself! We both thought it would be good to create a collective to produce works utilizing a host of excellent actors and designers in the Vancouver area. Working as a collective is something I did it when I first began my career and the experience has always stayed with me.
Nicola is one of her many performances as  Shirley Valentine

Nicola is one of her many performances as Shirley Valentine

What appealed to you about remounting Marion Bridge?

I love the feel of the play and the feeling one is left with by the end. I appreciate the blend of humour with tough issues and the authenticity of the characters. The story is strong and engaging and Daniel MacIvor has always had my respect as a tried-and-true Canadian playwright.

You worked with Roy Surette with The Goodnight Bird in 2015, also performed at Kay Meek. How valuable it is to work with a director you know well?

It’s a luxury to work with a director like Roy who puts great value on delivering the story of the play, as well as serving the playwright’s vision first-and-foremost. Roy is known for inviting opinions and ideas from his fellow artists and insists on time for fun, play and laughter in his rehearsal room. Roy is a truly fine fellow with a very good mind and integrity firmly in place. 
Nicola in  Goodnight Bird , directed by Roy Surette

Nicola in Goodnight Bird, directed by Roy Surette

This is the 20th anniversary of Marion Bridge. What was the impetus to remount this play now?

I liked this play when I saw it performed five years ago. I served on the Kay Meek Arts Centre board then and thought it a good piece for the venue. Marion Bridge appeals not only to the heart and soul of humanity but resonates with familiar notes. I'd like to invite audiences from all parts of the North Shore and beyond to come see this play, it has a universal appeal no matter the town, city or province you live in. 

As a proud resident of the North Shore, do you have any favourite places in West Vancouver you like to visit?

I enjoy the atmosphere of the Beach House Restaurant near the pier and I regularly go to the seniors centre. I like shopping at Fresh Market and, of course, the rare treat to go to Savoury Island Pies! I also have a very good friend Dr Jan McCaffrey who I visit for good food and good conversation near the water.

Marion Bridge runs at the Kay Meek Arts Centre from September 5-20. 

Zoe Quinn