Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Music Theatre Performance
Year of graduation: 2010
Actress Nicole Power brings Maritime hospitality across the country
Music theatre grad Nicole Power may not live in her hometown of Middle Cove, outside St. John’s, Newfoundland, anymore, but she still sounds wistful when talking about home. “Growing up, I was always singing and dancing in performances in high school and at the local arts and cultural centre,” she says. “There was a real sense of community that you got in the arts scene — it was like a family, because so many people in Newfoundland are artists and the arts are encouraged and still flourishing there.”
So strong was this sense of belonging, in fact, that when it came time for Power to pursue her higher education, she took a year of business and music classes at a local university to overcome her hesitancy of leaving home. “I took that year to make sure that theatre school was for me, since it would be taking me away from Newfoundland, which still makes me sad, to be honest,” says Power.
At Sheridan — accompanied by her lifelong best friend from home whose parents had coached Power in voice and musical theatre — Power found herself surrounded by likeminded artists and revelled in the atmosphere. Upon graduation from Sheridan in 2010, she was able to return to the Maritimes, although not Newfoundland, with stints at the Halifax-based Neptune Theatre and the Charlottetown Festival, working in diverse productions ranging from hyperlocal Evangeline — based on Acadian history — to Hollywood transplants such as Legally Blonde and Elf: The Musical.
Although Power enjoyed the work she was doing, she found herself at a crossroads in her career and ready for a change. Returning to Toronto, Power followed advice she had been given to continuously keep learning and taking classes, a lesson she takes to heart today: her various skills include not only her triple threat capabilities in acting, singing and dancing, but also improvisation training from Second City’s conservatory. “It’s always important as an artist to push your limits and approach things that scare you,” she says. Power also began performing for a younger generation in theatre with another Newfoundland ex-pat and lifetime friend, Victoria Fuller, founder of Echo Productions, who cast her as the lead in the Canadian-made Bonnie & Clyde. Fuller and Power would ultimately get a chance to bring the production to their hometown of St. John’s.
Power is probably best known to Canadian audiences nationally for her role as Shannon in the television series Kim’s Convenience (which received 11 Canadian Screen Award nominations in 2017), a role added into the television series that wasn’t in the original play. Today, Power continues to hone her skills as a member of the 2016 to 2018 Soulpepper Academy, collaborating with fellow artists and creating Canadian stories by drawing on the dual influences of her Newfoundland heritage and Sheridan training. To this day, she still carries around a sheet of paper handed out in a scene studies class by Sheridan professor Terry Tweed, containing a quote from a letter by dancer Martha Graham to fellow dancer and choreographer Agnes de Mille:
“And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost
The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine
how good it is
nor how valuable it is
nor how it compares with other expressions.”
That quote goes with Power to every performance or audition, along with lessons learned from her childhood. “That piece of paper reminds me that auditions aren’t the only time you can perform, and they don’t make or break you,” she says. “And being a Newfoundlander brought me the ability to laugh at myself — to step back and realize how much I have to be grateful for.”