Billy Merasty

Directors and leads

Roster announced for summer shows in North Rustico

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Watermark Theatre has announced the directors and lead actors for their summer season in North Rustico. The Gin Game, winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, uses a card game as a metaphor for life. It will be directed by Robert Tsonos and star Richard Clarkin and Gracie Finley. Cottagers and Indians emcompasses issues of community, respect and ownership. It will be co-directed by Jay Northcott and Robert Tsonos, and star Billy Merasty and Jan Rudd.

Richard Clarkin’s acting career began in 1984 when he originated the role of Jacob Mercer in David French’s play Salt Water Moon for Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. He performed the role of Scar in the Disney/Mirvish production of The Lion King, and had leading roles for companies including The Stratford Festival, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, and the National Arts Centre to name a few. Clarkin’s Island roots run deep—he owns an old farmhouse in Savage Harbour and his parents are from Kelly’s Cross and Watervale.

Raised in Charlottetown with summers spent in Alberton, PEI, Gracie Finley is well known to Island audiences, having played Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables–The Musical™ from 1968-74 and 1984-85, as well as other roles with The Charlottetown Festival. She has also worked with Theatre New Brunswick and Neptune Theatre. At Watermark Theatre, Finley has performed in The Shore Field, An Ideal Husband, The Glass Menagerie, Barefoot in the Park, and more.

Jay Northcott is a multidisciplinary artist, director, playwright, burlesque dancer, and producer. They make it their mission to uplift projects that put BIPOC queer artists in the spotlight. Some of their director and assistant director credits include White Muscle Daddy with Pencil Kit Productions, Blacktop Sky and Pass Over with Obsidian Theatre, Scarlet Letter with Theatre Calgary, and Iphigenia and the Furies with Saga Collectif.

Cree actor and playwright Billy Merasty is celebrating a 38 year career in the performing arts. He has worked in many productions, some of which include Dry Lips Oughta Move To Kapuskasing by Tomson Highway, King Lear by Shakespeare at NAC, and his own play, Fireweed. Merasty also has experience in radio, film and television, including lead roles in the films Justice Denied (CBC/NFB) and Elijah (CTV). He won the Best Supporting Actor award at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival for his role in the film The 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw.

Jan Rudd has over 30 years of experience as a performer, director, writer, teacher and arts educator. She started her stage career as a stand up comic in Ottawa and later in NYC. Her one woman show, Safety in Numbers, played at NYC’s Midtown International Festival and was chosen as “best of” by kef productions to play at Theatre Row in NYC. Some of her favourite credits include The Vagina Monologues (Anita’s Way, NYC) and Dance Academy (short film), as well as performances at Funny Women’s Fest and Halifax Comedy Festival. She is presently a player with PEI’s Farmgate Theatre.