1999 Yukon Nuggets
A time long ago and far away, I produced a series of radio programs for kids called The Adventurers of Ookpik, the arctic owl. The stories of Ookpik’s adventurers were brought to life through a variety of arctic animals who were given voice by young actors from the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal.
I have always had great respect for that school. The youngster, who portrayed whales, polar bears and foxes were on a steep learning curve. Greg Wanless, who played Ookpik, went on to become artistic director at the famed Gananoque Playhouse in Ontario. Dianne D’Quallia, who was terrific as the voice of whales and other arctic creatures, starred in a one woman show, Elizabeth Rex, at Stratford. One of the narrators, David Ferry, excelled as a character actor on many television and movie dramas.
So it was with great interest that I learned that a Yukon-raised actress had graduated from the National Theatre school in 1999. Her name is Amy Sloan. Many of you may know Amy, her father, Dave Sloan, who was once the Yukon’s Minister of Health, and her mother Mary who was also an actress.
Amy lives near Hollywood these days, but her roots are in theatre in the Yukon.
She was born in Manitoba where she spent her first year. The family moved to Pelly Crossing and then to Watson Lake, where they lived for twelve years.
In 1992, they settled in Whitehorse where Amy attended the Porter Creek Junior Secondary School, where she’ll be remembered as President of the student council. After graduating from F H Collins, Amy’s first professional acting job was in the Gaslight Follies at the Palace Grande Theatre in Dawson City.
Then she attended the National Theatre School in Montreal, and graduated in 1999. Within a month, she was booked for two national commercials and a lead role in a television film. She also earned rave reviews for her role as Mary Warren in the Centaur Theatre’s production of "The Crucible" in Montreal.
In Whitehorse, Amy played the role of Catherine in the Guild Hall Theatre’s production of Dave Auburn's play "Proof."
Catherine is a young woman who has spent years caring for her unstable father, Robert. Robert was a brilliant mathematician in his younger years, but later became unable to function without the help of his daughter. His death brings Hal, a former student of Robert, into Catherine's life. She ends up falling in love with him, but in the process gravely misses her deceased father while resenting the great sacrifices she made for him.
In the past few years in the United States, Amy has worked with such notable actors as Halle Berry, Alan Alda, Ben Stiller, and Penelope Cruz. She has also worked with prominent directors like Richard Donner, Martin Scorsese and The Farrelly Brothers. After a North American search, Martin Scorsese cast her in the Academy Award winning film "The Aviator" in which she played the mother of young Howard Hughes. Some of her recent television credits include "Without a Trace," "Cold Case, "Gilmore Girls" and "C.S.I." Amy Sloan of Whitehorse has done well.
Too bad she wasn’t at the Theatre school when I was casting Ookpik animal voices. I’ll bet Amy Sloan would have had fun playing a Yukon salmon.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.