Best Spirit Moments: Offstage


Hey blog world! Not only do I have lots of wonderful memories of the Spirit of NL shows I’ve seen, but lots of amazing things have happened away from the stage as well!

On my first day ever working at Spirit, Evan Smith, who by the way is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, showed me around the downstairs area of Spirit. I’d only ever been down there to use the washroom, I’d never seen what was behind the many other doors. Evan showed me the prop closet, boardroom, and my favorite stop on the tour, the costume room! It was so cool!

Last year, I went to Spirit to film some of their rehearsal of the Christmas show “Three Wise Men and Other Christmas Miracles” and interview some of the cast. I decided to talk to John Williams as he was a fresh face at Spirit and thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of the newest member. We got to the Screech Room, sat down at a table and dad turned the camera on. I looked at it and said “I’m here in the Screech Room with…” my mind went blank! At that moment this is what was happening inside my brain. I stared blankly at the camera for a minute then said “Holy cow! I forgot your name!” and turned beet red! John had a good laugh out of it, he reintroduced himself and we tried again. I look back and laugh at it now too, but I was super embarrassed when it happened!

Darrell Tulk is a former chef at Spirit. He had great taste in music! He loves classic rock and his favorite band is the Rolling Stones. He’s even got their logo tattooed on his arm! When he’d be in the kitchen cooking the meal for the show that night, he’d turn on K-Rock and sing along with all the songs they played! I used to love listening to him. He had a good voice!

After work one day, Kathie Hicks (the COO of Spirit) and I went into the kitchen and made black bean chocolate cupcakes. It was a lot of fun! I had never made cupcakes like that before, I didn’t even know black beans could be a substitute for flour! I tried one when they had cooled off and it was yummy! I learned something new, tried a new food and got to do it all with a person I really like. It was a good day.

In 2015, I went to see Spirit of Newfoundland’s Christmas show “Three Wise Men (And Other Christmas Miracles)” and I brought something special for the cast. I made edible lumps of coal and Christmas cards for them! Before the show, I popped into the bar to give them their little treats. Just before I was about to leave, the cast got in a circle for their pre-show pep talk.  Peter outstretched his hand and said, “Leah, come join our circle!” I couldn’t believe what I had just heard! It’s a right of passage at Spirit to be included in the circle! I was honored! We stood together, talked about the show and the cast gave each other some encouragement and a pep talk. At the end we all shouted “Hard tickets!” That was one of the most unforgettable nights of my life!

My boyfriend Glen and I love the card game “Exploding Kittens”. We were introduced to the game at our Church youth group and we got hooked! I bought it on Amazon and Glen and I play it every chance we get. One night, we went to see “ABBA: Gotta Get The Scoop”, which by the way is my favorite Spirit show, and I just so happened to have the game in my purse. At the end of the night, we decided to sit in the Screech Room and have a game while we waited for dad. We invited Peter to join in and he did! He found it hard to catch on to the game, but he tried his best! Glen and I had fun teaching him how to play.

Last summer, we started offering New Amsterdam Peach Vodka in our bar. To celebrate the new arrival, we did a live stream on Facebook and threw a fancy hat party! Hats

In 2015, the Ennis Sisters performed onstage at Spirit of Newfoundland as part of “A Paperboy’s Blues Night”, a fundraiser to turn Kevin Lewis’s memoir into a play. My dad and I went to the show together. We are huge fans of the girls and one of their songs in particular has a very special meaning to the two of us. When I was a baby, the doctors found what they had thought was fluid on my brain. They prepared my parents for the worst. They didn’t know if I was going to live or die. After further tests, they told my parents there was good news and bad. The good news, there was no fluid on my brain. The bad news, a piece of my brain was missing, the Corpus Callosum, a wide band of fibres that connects the left and right side of my brain and facilitates communication between both sides. This was something they’d never seen before and because this was their very first experienced case, they didn’t know anything about it and again were not sure if I would live or die. My Dad heard “If Anything Happened To You” by the Ennis Sisters on the radio one day and he just broke down crying. He sang that song to me every day. During the intermission of “A Paperboy’s Blues Night” I actually got to meet Karen, Maureen and Teresa! They are such sweet girls! It was such an honor to meet them and tell them my story!

My boyfriend and I have a special anniversary tradition. To celebrate our special day, we take in the Christmas luncheon at Spirit of Newfoundland. Last year, Glen made a special request to Peter, asking him to sing “Jingle Bells”. Peter forgot to do so. After the show, Glen told Peter that he forgot. To make it up to Glen, he said “Come in the Screech Room, we’ll do it now!” We all had so much fun and sounded great together!

One day as I was working, local actress and singer Julia Halfyard came in with her children Estelle and Seth. While she attended to some business I got to watch them! We played with bubbles, talked about Mermaids and I read them a story I wrote! That was one of my favorite days at work that summer!

Last summer, to help raise money for the Masonic Temple Restoration Fund, I started selling my artwork. By August, I had collected $160! On my last day of work, I presented the check to Kathie Hicks (the COO), Paul Bugge (the general manager) and Peter Halley (the president and artistic director). I was overjoyed to be able to give them that much money to help fix up the Temple. Spirit of Newfoundland and the Masonic Temple mean the world to me! The cast and staff of Spirit are my second family and the Temple is my second home.

Congratulations on 20 years Spirit of Newfoundland! Here’s to many more years of making memories!

Leah

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