Niagara Falls, Canada
I was born in Scotland and moved to Canada in 1967, then moved to Niagara Falls in 1987. I attended high school here in Niagara Falls, went to Brock University, have raised 4 children here, and 10 years ago I opened up Linus Hand Productions on Thorold Stone Road! Before starting my own business I was the general manager of the Royal Alexandra and the Princess of Wales theatre in Toronto from 1990 to 2004.
In 2005, as executive producer, I had the pleasure of bringing Disney’s Aladdin to Niagara Falls, followed by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Seussical, Scrooge and Disney’s High School Musical. Bringing a wide variety of shows to the Falls has been a joy.
At the Scotiabank Convention Centre Theatre, Linus Hand Productions has presented Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Annie, Peter Pan and Oliver. Additionally I have been able to produce RENT, Bodies the Exhibit and the Disney Princess Show, which has been an honour.
With my Production Company, I have tried to give our local children the opportunity to study drama, singing, and choreography with professional artists. I founded and continue to over-see the Linus Hand Drama Academy as well as summer musical theatre camps. I like to think that my productions bring together the “cuteness” aspect of little kids and local theatre alongside the professionalism associated with professional actors.
Finally, a big part of being Canadian is our spirit of generosity, and I hope that others believe I have used my Production Company to continue in that spirit. I have tried as much as possible to provide tickets to performances insuring that everyone has the opportunity to experience live professional theatre. In fact, one thousand tickets for each production are donated to those who cannot afford to attend. In addition, two thousand children from our local school boards are provided with complimentary tickets with the help of community partners. My hope is that, through these programs, many Niagara residents who likely would not have been particularly engrossed in the arts have been introduced to the magical experience of professional music theatre!
Favourite Canadian stereotype?
Our politeness. Because as nice as we may be, that stereotype falls flat the second you drive on the 401!
Favourite aspect of being Canadian?
If you grew up in Britain, like my family did (before we moved here in 1967), there was a very distinct line between classes; very little upward mobility. My parents moved us here and the opportunities for growth and upward mobility were just that much better. You can achieve everything you want to here but at the same time, I find you can still have a social conscience. In other countries, sometimes there is a sort of “taker” attitude where if one person succeeds inevitably another person falls. In Canada, however, you can have success and still help others. I have tried to do that through Linus Hand Productions and have been.