As a recent transplant from North Vancouver, Katherine Hill said one of the best things about moving to Willoughby is being closer to Gallery 7 Theatre.
The 31-year-old English actor, who came to Langley a year and a half ago via North Vancouver and Germany, has been immersed in the arts from a young age. Her parents took her to concerts, theatre, and opera.
"My first opera was when I was four years old, and I remember leaning forward in my chair, completely captivated by the performers that - in that moment - I knew I had to be on stage," Hill recalled.
After that she performed in every school production possible, took acting classes, and acted on stage whenever she could, and went on to obtain her bachelor's degree in film and theatre.
Since moving to the Lower Mainland in 2004, she focused on acting for film - and even co-owns a production company called EVE Entertainment with her good friend Annette 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," said Hill.
"I have also been writing scripts for the last number of years, directing, producing, and acting in films. The last film I directed won best supporting actress at the 168th Film Festival in L.A. in February and my screenplay Delusion won a Van Gogh award at The Amsterdam film festival in 2010."
While she loves working in film, Hill said "I have always and will always love being on the stage," and described her upcoming role as Elinor in the Gallery 7's upcoming production of Sense and Sensibility as a bit of a reprieve.
Sense and Sensibility is one of Jane Austen's beloved story about two sisters and their search for the right man.
While this is Hill's first time on stage with Abbotsford's Gallery 7, she's no stranger to the group.
She's actually served as an English dialect coach for a few of their past productions.
"I was thrilled to be able to audition for them and was cast in the first show that I did," she said.
"I have always been a long-standing fan of Jane Austen's works and know the story of Sense and Sensibility well. I am sure that just comes with being English! It was my hope to be cast as Elinor, and while I was not at first reading for her, I was invited back to the callback to read as Elinor and knew right away that I felt more connected to this role," Hill shared.
While Elinor is enamoured by the unassuming and awkward Edward, Marianne is swept off her feet by the vivacious Willoughby. When the men's secret lives are revealed, the sisters must depend on one another for support through their heart-ache, and discover in the process the balance between what the heart wants and what the heart needs.
So asked if there are many similarities between Hill and Elinor, she said there are a few - including the fact that they're both older sisters.
"And [I] am constantly being the serious, responsible one to keep my sister (10 years younger) in check. She and I have a very special bond just like Elinor and Marianne. I also find myself keeping my emotions to myself, which Elinor is known for. I will say, though, that I probably carry more of Marianne's passion and drive for life but with Elinor's strong head," said Hill, who plays alongside Amanda Thiessen's Marianne.
Sense and Sensibility starts Friday, Nov. 2, and runs Nov. 3, 8 to 10, and 15 to 17, at 7: 30 p.m. with discount matinees on Nov. 3, 10, and 17 at 2 p.m.
The play is hosted at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Rd. in Abbotsford. Tickets are $20/adults, $18/seniors (65+)and students, $17/groups (10+) and $12/children (12 and younger). Matinees are $15 general admission and $12 for children. Tickets are available by calling 1-604-852-3701.
" I do love to encourage people to participate within the arts, whether it is as an audience member or being involved in some capacity. In this world that we live in we all need an escape, to feel, to be encouraged, inspired and explore our own hearts. The theatre is a great place for that," concluded Hill.