The Wild Guys a cure for winter blues at the Grand

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Aidan deSalaiz, David Snelgrove, William Vickers in The Wild Guys

Shaun Ding

WILD THING, YOU MAKE MY HEART SING. Aidan deSalaiz, David Snelgrove, William Vickers (L to R) and Eric Coates embark in a male-bonding adventure in The Wild Guys, opening at The Grand Theatre tonight.

For Susan Ferley, director of The Wild Guys at London’s Grand Theatre, it all comes down to community. Her desire to meet new people sparked her initial interest in theatre.

“My family had moved to a new neighbourhood and I didn’t know anyone so I got involved in the drama club,” she says. Later, she was motivated to direct when she discovered the fulfilment of helping others realize their full potential.

According to Ferley, not only does theatre benefit those involved, but it also enhances the lives of the general public.

“Wonderful theatrical presentation allows us to be enriched and escape our everyday worlds,” she states. “It’s not a coincidence that theatres are often packed in times of depression and war.” But with so many outlets for entertainment, sometimes the benefits of the stage are overlooked.

As artistic director at the Grand since 2001, Ferley has seen theatre in London become more dynamic and vibrant.

“Our audience is aging. We are at a place where we realize we need to attract more people to the theatre if we want to ensure its vitality.”

Even with the theatre’s ability to entertain and educate, it all comes down to ticket sales. Fortunately, Ferley feels The Wild Guys is exactly what the people of London are looking for, as its story of friendship and self-discovery will resonate with all generations.

A scene from The Wild Guys

The Wild Guys is a perfect prescription for the winter blues, according to Ferley. The play takes place in the 1990s and deals with four friends who find themselves lost in the escarpment.

On top of directing The Wild Guys, Ferley is also taking a more proactive approach to engage the community in theatre. She is involved in The High School Project, which gives high school students the opportunity to perform in a large musical at the Grand Theatre each fall. The experience is especially rewarding for Ferley when students continue to pursue their acting careers after they have graduated the program.

She notes one of the exciting things about The Wild Guys is that one of the actors, Aiden deSalaiz, is a High School Project alumnus.

“I enjoy the youthful dynamic that they bring to the theatre,” Ferley adds. “I hope this will encourage younger people to attend on a more regular basis.”

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