Rachel Whipple is an emerging artist from Edmonton, Alberta who works in all areas of theatre. She enjoys working off-stage just as much as she enjoys performing on stage. Rachel started her theatre career in the weekly show, “The 11 O’clock Number” an improvised musical, with Grindstone Theatre. She also improvised with Sorry, Not Sorry and Go 4 Broke. Rachel has volunteered with Walterdale Theatre in Edmonton as a props master, assistant stage manager, and light operator. With Leduc Drama Society, Rachel performed as Pugsley in “The Addams Family: A New Musical” and as Jessica in “Women Playing Hamlet”. She also was the light and sound technician for “You Can’t Get There From Here” which was a touring dinner theatre show that travelled to small towns around the Leduc, Alberta area.
In her last year of university, Rachel’s capstone for her degree was in directing. Her final project was to bring the radio play “Sorry, Wrong Number” to the stage. Rachel Whipple also directed “Pacific Time” written by David Haas. It was first staged in an acts festival by Graffiti Mix Arts Collective and again in 2016 at The Edmonton International Fringe Festival. Rachel adores directing and seeing her artistic vision come to life on stage.
Rachel Whipple recently stage-managed a play for Blackhorse Theatre in Bolton, Ontario. That experience reignited her passion for stage management. Rachel loves getting to the theatre early, setting the stage, checking the props, and making sure everything is ready to go. She enjoys being part of the rehearsal process and watching the actors develop their characters. It has been a fantastic experience helping an amazing theatre. Rachel Whipple is extremely grateful for the Summer Ensemble as it is an opportunity to learn more about stage management and gain professional skills to help kick-start a life-long theatre career.
Rachel Whipple has recently become part of the Crane Creations Theatre‘s prestigious Summer Ensemble 2023 as a Stage Manager. This unique program offers aspiring artists in the Canadian theatre industry unparalleled work experience. The Summer Ensemble specifically recruits talented individuals aged 18 to 30, providing them with intensive, full-time training over several weeks. Participants not only acquire valuable skills but also gain invaluable experience in a fast-paced and dynamic environment.
What Will Rachel Gain In This Arts Job?
Artistic Skills: Explore classical and contemporary text, improvisation, and theatre around the world and their relevance and impact on art jobs and society today.
Orientation in Arts Jobs: Honest insight into professional organizations, structures and systems in place and how to navigate them successfully
Financial Skills: Budgeting and financial literacy delivered in a comprehensible and easy to understand way, tailored for theatre artists’ needs.
Leadership: Debate complex questions and develop ideas and strategies on how to build not only your career but the theatre ecosystem in Canada and Internationally.
Touring in Arts: Discover how artists around the world use international touring as a source of income, and learn how to create shows that can allow you to participate in that market.
Digital Skills: Discover how blog/content writing can earn you additional income, and promote your work, while mastering WordPress, one of the most desired skills in today’s job market.
Rachel Whipple first started learning how to act in grade ten drama class. In grade twelve she acted in her first play which was “A Christmas Carol”. Her high school had a student tech team and seeing the backstage elements come to life inspired her to learn more about theatre. She realized that there is so much more to plays than just words from the script. Set design, costumes, hair and makeup, and props are what brings the audience into a new magical world. After high school, Rachel attended Concordia University of Edmonton where she studied English Literature and Drama.
At Concordia, she continued to learn more about acting and production. She volunteered to help with set painting, props, and working in the light and sound booth. In her third year, she was cast in her first musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.” Learning choreography, music, and blocking together was a new challenge for her!
In her final year at the Concordia University of Edmonton, Rachel also had the incredible opportunity to take part in an Opera She worked with several community theatres in Edmonton to develop her off-stage skills in props making, light and sound operating, and stage management.
Rachel’s first job was at McDonald’s when she was fourteen years old – if you don’t count babysitting that she did at eleven! Rachel then went on to work at a dry cleaner and another burger restaurant before high school was over! Rachel worked in the kitchen at her friend’s parents’ build-your-own burger restaurant and worked her way up to kitchen manager by the time she reached university. She enjoyed the responsibility which is probably why she enjoys stage management so much. She indented to take a gap year to work at the restaurant before university, but life had other plans!
The summer before university, Rachel worked as a cashier at a grocery store while also keeping her kitchen job. During university, Rachel worked in retail, as a banquet server, and she even delivered auto parts! Once she graduated, Rachel needed to find work as she gained experience in the theatre industry. She started off as an administrative assistant at Truck Parts Solutions, a company that created websites for trucking companies and had its own website that connected truck parts sellers around North America. Unfortunately, that job was short-lived and she ended up working in sales at a car dealership. Her acting skills came in handy for this demanding job! After a year, she switched to a smaller car dealership. Rachel felt that the smaller dealership treated their customers better. There she worked as a receptionist, and bookkeeper, and was promoted to executive assistant to the owner.
Rachel worked there for three years before taking a big leap of faith and going for one of her dream jobs – teaching English as a second language in South Korea! In July 2019, Rachel left for South Korea to teach kindergarten students English. She remained overseas during the pandemic. It was a scary time, but she grew so much teaching during that troubling time. Rachel started at Sogang Language Academy in Pohang and after fifteen months, she moved closer to Seoul to work at Francis Parker Collegiate. There she continued to teach English, but she also got to develop her own drama program. This was a fantastic opportunity, but after her contract was up, Rachel made the decision to return to Canada as she had not seen her friend or family in over two years. She now works as a bookkeeper and looks forward to new theatre opportunities to come!
About Rachel. An Interview with Rachel.
Where Are You From Originally? What is your favourite thing about your home town?
I grew up in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada. I was very fortunate to grow up in the quiet suburbs outside of Edmonton and have a loving, supportive family. As a child, I loved to play outdoors, go swimming, and ride my bike in the summer. I took piano lessons and did karate. I started to draw at paint at an early age, and I always had my nose in a book. Sherwood Park is named after Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest. It is because the town has so many trees! The greenery in the area is my favourite thing about my home town. I enjoyed how much nature surrounded me. Behind my house was a field, farmland, and forest that I would explore.
Do You Have A Favourite Book?
My favourite book is “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. It was an eye-opening novel and warned about many of the potential dangers of modern life. I read it several years ago, so the details aren’t as fresh, but I remember that it was a novel that I couldn’t put down. It was also a Christmas gift from a dear friend of mine so that book is near and dear to my heart.
Do You Have Any Hobbies?
I have various hobbies, but my favourite one is acrylic painting. Although I’m not the best at it, I enjoy experimenting with different color combinations and creating unconventional landscapes. One of my favourite subjects is painting vibrant skies and non-traditionally green grass. Seeing new textures and patterns on the canvas is so satisfying. I also enjoy painting abstract work as well. My parents have held onto almost all of the paintings that I have done over the years. My boyfriend and I enjoy playing board games together. Our place is filled with board games and we like learning new ones. We are very competitive and we have fun challenging each other. We also like hosting board game hangouts where our friends get together and teach each other new games.
What is Your Favourite Food?
My favourite food is anything my mom makes! I miss her cooking so much. It has been 4 years since I lived in the same city as my mom. I miss being able to go home and taste her cooking. Everything she makes is so comforting and made with love. If I had to pick one dish in particular, I would choose sinigang. It is a Filipino stew made with pork neck, and vegetables, and can be served with rice. It is so warm and hardy. It’s the best thing to warm you up after a long winter’s day!
What is Your Favourite Meal to Cook? What is Your Recipe?
I like to cook Shanghai noodles. Starting with making chicken stock, I bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Then I add chicken that had a bone in it. I usually use either chicken thighs or drums. I leave that to boil for at least half an hour. Next, I prep all the veggies! This can also be done the night before to make the cooking time easier. I chop up garlic, carrots, celery, and green onions. Adding bell pepper or chilli peppers can also be a nice addition. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from boiling water and set aside to cool. Once it is cool, you can use gloved hands or forks to shred the chicken.
Now it’s time to stir fry! I always use a wok, but a big frying pan will do. Heat up one tablespoon of neutral oil like canola oil or vegetable. Don’t use olive oil as the flavour will overpower the ingredients. Once the oil is hot, cook the carrots and celery until they soften. Add garlic after as to not burn the garlic. At this point, I add red pepper flakes to add a nice kick! Next, I toss in the shredded chicken and let it heat back up. I had some soy sauce and oyster sauce (maybe 2-3 tablespoons of each? I never measure!). The noodles should be a nice golden brown.
You will know you have the right ratio by color. If the noodles are still white, they need more sauce. Taste as you go! Next, I add udon noodles and a bit of water to allow the noodles to soften as they cook. I stir-fry everything together for at least 5 minutes, but this is a fast process. I also like to add bok choy when I have it on hand. This also requires a little bit of water and some time to soften. Lastly, I season with black pepper to taste and top with a bit of sesame oil! Bon Appétit!
What is Your Favourite Thing About Mississauga? Tell Us Why?
I love the Asian restaurants in Mississauga. They remind me of my time living in Korea. It’s hard to find Korean food other than Korean BBQ. My partner and I found a delicious tofu soup restaurant in Mississauga and it instantly took me back to my time as an expat. My friend also took me to a cafe and record store in Mississauga a few months ago. I would love to explore more places in Mississauga. It seems to be a city rich in culture and diversity.
We are a company that speaks many different languages. What languages do you speak?
English is my native language, and I have some understanding of Tagalog because my mom is Filipino. Living in Korea, I acquired a rudimentary grasp of Korean, just enough to navigate daily life. I also took Spanish in high school.
What is one fun fact about yourself?
I have an adorable dog named Duyu. Her name means soy milk in Korean. She grew up at a dog cafe that you could adopt puppies from. They named her Duyu because when she was young her fur was as white as soy milk.
What is a Project You Were a Part of or Something That You Did Related to Theatre, That You Are Proud of?
I never thought of myself as a director, but when I was given the opportunity to direct for a friend’s one act festival I jumped at it! I was given the script “Pacific Time” by David Hass. It had never been staged before and I was excited to bring the story to life. We adjusted the setting a bit and divided one of the characters between two actors. We were all so proud of how this project went – including the playwright! Years later, we are still great friends and keep in touch about our theatre projects.
Do you have any advice for someone aspiring Stage Managers?
My advice to someone entering into a theatre career is to try new things! I find that having an interest and/or some experience in all aspects of theatre can be Incredibly helpful. It’s easier to direct or stage manage when you have acted or worked back stage. Understanding all the different elements can help inform choices one makes for their show. I find that as a stage manager, I am very sympathetic to actors needs because I have experience acting as well. Trying new things doesn’t always have to be trying a new field of theatre. Sometimes it can be as simple as auditioning for a comedic show if you are used to acting in more serious works. Or trying out of a different type of character than you are used to.
For crew, working on different types of shows also can be an excellent learning experience. Being a lighting designer for a musical can be vastly different than for a dramatic play. Also, I would say to never gift up. Working as an artist can be discouraging at times because making money in the industry isn’t easy. Don’t give up on your dreams and the money will come!