Yet all these places, and many more, have figured in the life of Stewart Paul — actor, stage manager, producer and actor’s representative. It’s all a part, of course, of involvement in theatre.
He was born on the homestead, attended school through high school in Dawson Creek, then took teacher training at the University of British Columbia. Three years of teaching followed, one each at Kamloops, Castlegar, and Dawson Creek before the stage beckoned.
This was in the late 1950s, and the change in work was brought about by Peter Mannering, now director of Bastion Theatre and then working in Vancouver. Mannering had directed a musical at U.B.C. in which Paul was involved, saw a great theatre potential, and finally talked Paul into the theatre life.
Most of it has been spent backstage, “and that’s very good,” says Paul. “There are a lot of frustrated actors, waiting for their big chance on stage, working behind, but not too many who are happy out of the spotlight. Result: there’s usually more work for us.”
After his years of high school teaching, Paul went to England and, on the urging of and with an introduction from Mannering, found himself spending a season as stage carpenter with the Leathered Repertory Theatre in Surrey.
The next two years he was company stage manager for a Spanish dance troupe touring Europe, Britain, and North America, and after that there was a year as stage manager for the Manitoba Theatre Centre.
Mannering came on the scene again to lure him west, and Paul became manager of Bastion and also resident stage manager of the McPherson Playhouse.
Expo 67 took Paul back east as production co-ordinator of Maisonneuve Theatre for the World Festival of Theatre. The following winter, 1967-68, was spent as technical director of Les Feux Follets out from Montreal, then it was back to Bastion as production manger in the summer of 1968.
That year Bastion produced Peter Pan, and there’s only one man who can stage that play’s flying sequences: Pete Foy, the theatre’s ‘flying’ expert. Foy was brought in and Paul worked closely with him, establishing a rapport that proved profitable.
Until late in 1969 Paul worked a number of assignments supervising Flying by Foy, and through this connection became production stage manager for the first of the touring Disney on Parade shows, touring the United States and Canada.
While working with Foy he had purchased a half-interest in a sailing catamaran at Tampa, Fla., and when he left the Disney show just before Christmas in 1970 Paul went to Tampa and lived aboard.
Paul left his boat to return to Victoria, which he says from now on will be home base. At present he’s building a business as artists’ representative, with performances at colleges principally in mind.