Talented Liam MacDonald plays two roles in Theatre Orangeville’s ‘Miracle on 34th Street’

December 14, 2016   ·   0 Comments

“It is worth it,” said Liam MacDonald of his daily marathon bus trip, which includes a transfer part way through, to Spencer Avenue Elementary School. “The gifted program – it’s, like, fun to be at school.” He is now in grade six.

Liam was six years old when he first performed in the Theatre Orangeville production of Christmas Carol as Tiny Tim. This season, he plays two roles in A Miracle on 34th Street, now running at Theatre Orangeville until December 23 – those of Mortimer and Tommy – with considerable vigour and grace.

We talked about being in Miracle: “It’s amazing just because a lot of kids don’t get to experience this,” he said. “It teaches an amazing story.”

He has praise for others who have the made the show so wonderful: “Kevin [Olson, Stage Director], David [Nairn, directing the play with assistant director,  Jane Spence], Beckie [Morris, set designer] – veryone has really put in to make this a really great show.”

He went on to tell us, “It’s been a bit hard keeping up with my school work [a necessity during the shows] – hard but my teacher’s been very kind. Before you even audition, you think, ‘Can I manage this?’ But Evan [member of the theatre’s  team] has helped me. Over Christmas, my goal is to come back to school with most of my work done.”

Liam explained how he came to be involved with the theatre world. “My sister,” he related, “used to be in a show. My aunt suggested she try out for a show in Toronto and she got in it and she loved being in it. When I was six years old, I auditioned [at Theatre Orangeville] and got in as Tiny Tim.”

He had his second part with Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company as Charley in their recent production of Willy Wonka. That experience “pushed me to do more – this time I got in and it’s amazing!”

The gifted program at Spencer Avenue ES is quite different from other schools’. Said Liam MacDonald, “The learning style is different, using technology, hands-on stuff. Outside of the class there’s an amazing library – robots, drones, programs – 3D printer – it helps me pay more attention as it’s so interesting. Technology is evolving and we have to learn to keep up with it.

“I wanted to be an athlete but I started not to enjoy sports as much as being on the stage,” he continued. “Architecture, aerospace, acting – it’s all something I’d like to explore – acting is definitely something I want to pursue.”

What he loves about acting, “I like to see the audience laughing and clapping – I can think – ‘I did that – I made that person feel that..’ I think this [Miracle] is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and the set has never been done before.”

If he were asked by other young people who saw him on the stage and wondered if they too could make it, he would tell them, “Try it out because I never thought I could be an actor. If you don’t try an audition, you’ll never know – you’ve got to push yourself.”

David Nairn, Artistic Director of Theatre Orangeville, made the point, “The Theatre Orangeville Academy and T.O.Y.S. is a professionally based experience. Last night we held the Showcase for all three programs where there are all kinds of opportunities for kids to participate. They won’t all be in the theatre but they gain confidence to walk in the centre stage of your own life and walk away with a voice – that’s what you take away. And they’ll become the audiences and love the art form.”

“It is a real confidence booster – it really helped me be less shy – being a leader, being a better person,” Liam confirmed.

From Mr. Nairn: “If you’re on the stage, the feeling in your heart,  if you had to paint it – what colour would it be?

“It would be gold,” answered Liam. “Why – it’s so fun and you get to do something different – otherwise  from your boring old self…”

Miracle on 34th Street is on at Theatre Orangeville until December 23. For tickets and information, go to the Box Office at the Town Hall, 87 Broadway, or the Tourist Information Centre on Buena Vista, by telephone on 519-942-3423; online at     

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