Charlie Thomlinson

 

Bio: Charlie Tomlinson has been involved in theatre for nearly as long as he can remember. Born in London, England, Tomlinson moved to Newfoundland in 1972 and would go on to study history and philosophy on MUN. Later, he would serve as artistic animateur for the LSPU Hall from 1988 to 1991 and teach theatre at the University of Alberta before returning to Newfoundland. On his return, Tomlinson co-founded the celebrated theatre company c2c whose production of The Leisure Society opens November 26.

When did you develop an interest in theatre? “Very early. It was the only thing I got an ‘A’ in.”

What were your aims as an artistic animateur for the LSPU? “Apart from keeping the place open? I wanted to encourage a younger generation of artists. I remember thinking that if we don’t replace ourselves we will become dinosaurs. So, I was interested in developing new scripts.”

What’s the best way to handle actors? “The obvious thing is to create an environment where a person feels comfortable to experiment and explore. You can’t be an actor unless you’re able to be vulnerable and… directors and teachers create an environment where performers feel safe.

“Now, not all actors that I work with would say that I do that, but that is the intention.”

When did C2C come about? “I was the first-year acting teacher of Brad Hodder… Six years later we formed c2c together.”

What was the impetus for creating it? “It’s an attempt to give St. John’s artists a chance to do these plays, but it’d be churlish to pretend that it wasn’t [also] to give us something to do.”

What would you like to see from Newfoundland theatre? “I would like to see more young people telling stories… asking the question of what it means to be in post-moratorium St John’s.

One of the reasons we’re doing Robert Munsch this season is so we can get them while they’re young. I was once involved in a Munsch production at the Grand Theatre. When the play was over, a young voice popped up and said ‘I like it here.’ That is what I want.”

­— Adam Clarke