Before Christmas, Langley's Katherine Hill was on the Abbotsford stage of Gallery 7 Theatre starring as Elinor in their rendition of Sense and Sensibility.
Today, just weeks after the holiday season wrapped up, the 31-year-old Willoughby woman is back there again - but this time she's showing off her directorial abilities as Gallery 7 prepares to raise the curtain on Mary's Wedding.
Continuing its theatrical season with a focus on Canadian plays about love and war, Gallery 7 picked Stephen Massicotte's play, which is set against the backdrop of the First World War.
Mary's Wedding is a beautiful, yet moving story of love and loss, war and peace, Hill said. Coupled with her good friend and business partner Annette Reilly, who's playing Mary, Hill is making her directorial debut at Gallery 7.
"As an English immigrant myself, I loved the character of Mary and could relate to her," she explained.
"What attracted me most to the play, however, was how simplistic the story is. This simplicity is seen in the context of a dream about love lost that takes place around the time of WWI.
The story explores that world and what relationships at that time often had to face. As I began to work on the concepts, themes, and character development for our production, I wanted to remain faithful to that simplicity." Realizing at age four that she wanted to per-form and be on stage, " Hill has worked her entire life to perfect her craft as an actor and director on stage and screen.
The 31-year-old English actor, who came to Langley more than a year and a half ago via North Vancouver and Germany, graduated with honours in film and theatre from the University of Reading, England, and has worked as an actor, director and a producer for both theatre and film.
Since moving to the Lower Mainland in 2004, Hill has been focused primarily on acting for film - and even co-owns a production company called EVE Entertainment with Reilly.
"We have been producing films for the last couple of years. The last film was about human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Canada. Our films will always have a message and a purpose to them and this film's intention is to raise awareness to this issue in our communities," Hill said.
While she loves working in film, Hill always has and always will love being on stage, and is excited to venture back stage with Gallery 7 for this production.
Mary's Wedding runs Jan. 18, 19, 24 to 26, and 31, as well as Feb. 2, each of those evening shows start-ing at 7: 30 p.m. As well, there are discount matinees on Jan. 19, 26, and Feb.
2, at 2 p.m. All showings are being held at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Rd., Abbotsford. Tickets vary in price, and are available by calling 604-852-3701 or online at www.gallery7theatre.com.
"This play has been on my 'must-do' list for several years now," said Gallery 7's artistic director Ken Hildebrandt.
"The story is so touching and the writing so poetic. Though it deals with some deep heart and soul issues, the play leaves us with a sense of hope and perhaps ironically, a sense of peace. It's really an amazing play that way."
On the night before her wedding, Mary dreams of love, war, what was and what could be. Her thoughts focus on her first paramour, Charlie, who she met by chance in a barn while seeking shelter from a Prairie thunderstorm. An innocent romance develops, only to be thwarted by the turbulent times of 1914. Separated by war, Charlie sends letters from the front, and a story of love, loss and healing emerges in a beautiful and poetic theatre experience written by one of Canada's leading playwrights.