BAY ROBERTS, NL — A talented young girl from Bay Roberts is proving her mettle when it comes to multiple artistic disciplines.
Katie Russell, an 11-year-old currently in Grade 6 at Amalgamated Academy, recently earned top honour in her competition level for Atlantic Canada through the Royal Conservatory of Music. And this past summer, she acted in a feature film adaption of "An Audience of Chairs."
Katie has been taking voice lessons for four years and is no stranger to the Royal Conservatory exams. Two years ago, she placed first in Atlantic Canada with a mark of 92 for Level 1. She received a gold medal for her performance.
In August, she completed the Level 3 voice exam in St. John's. She performed three songs and was also tested with scales, technical exercises and sight-reading.
A month later, Katie received word she did quite well, earning a score of 91. In early November, her mom got word Katie was once again the Atlantic Canada gold medalist.
"I was kind of surprised, because at first I thought I didn't do very good on the exam," said the young girl, who later admitted to being her own worst critic.
"I'm very proud — extremely proud of her," added Katie's mom, Stacy Russell.
Katie is going to take a step back from her examinations next year (though she'll continue to sing and take voice lessons), and her mom is supportive of the move.
"There is a lot of prep work to it, but I think a nervousness comes with it, and being young, you're just trying to learn how to get over that hurdle of the nerves and work around the anxieties that come with it."
As for her burgeoning film career, Katie is among the young performers cast in a new film from Deanne Foley, a Newfoundland director making her third feature. "An Audience of Chairs" is based on Joan Clark's novel and follows a young mother battling with mental health issues.
Filming took place over the summer in Tors Cove. Katie was cast in a speaking role.
"It was a really fun experience to act in a movie, because I'd never done anything really like that before," said Katie, who had done some stage work locally before auditioning for the film. "I met so many new awesome people and made so many memories."
Her favourite aspect of being on a film set was craft services.
"The food was the best. The food for lunch was good, and whenever we would go from set, there was a little cart thing that was full of food. So once we were filming at a beach, and it was really cold and windy and we were tired, so the other two kids that are in the movie with me … we all became good friends, and the three of us, the assistant director said, 'OK girls, you can go and take five,' and we all just started heading in the same direction to the food cart."
A release date for "An Audience of Chairs" is not yet known, though Stacy has heard it may come out in the spring of 2018.