An all-star cast: L-R Graeme Leadbeater

COLUMN: A varied, talented board

Ann DeGrace introduces the Nelson Civic Theatre Society board with their experience and their favourite movies.

What’s your favourite film of all time?

To write a “meet the board” column, I asked the question. I was looking for some telling answers — and maybe a new must-see movie list.

Heather Kennedy comes to the board with a background in strategic planning, fundraising, and belief in the enterprising non-profit model. Practical experience? You bet. And yet when it comes to film faves, it’s all about fantasy.

The best part about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, she says, is that it’s true to the books. “Besides, Aragorn gets his princess at the end, so it meets my criteria that movies have some romance in them.”

New treasurer Linda Tynan brings a background in finance, working with local government — and enthusiasm! Her big screen pick? “It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a movie I can watch over and over again,” she says.

Jan Wright brings 25 years of experience working with non-profits and social enterprise. Her top film of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird.

“It’s a story about honour and bravery, memory and regret,” she says. “And the courtroom drama is still the best I’ve ever seen!”

Judy O’Leary has worked on the fundraising and membership committees, where her policy background has been a big asset. Now, she’s working on expanding community programming. Her favourite movie is The English Patient, “which turned a beautiful novel into something equally wonderful on screen.”

Returning board member John Brand’s previous board experience and background in finance has stood the Civic well. He concurs with Linda about It’s a Wonderful Life. Could finance people know something we don’t?

Continuing president Marilyn Mint is one of the smartest people I know, but her email was patently unhelpful.

She did describe a “rally the troops, all eyes on the goal” approach — the value of which can’t be underestimated — but refused to choose one favourite movie. I’ll forgive her, but only because she’s Marilyn.

Don Johnston and Graeme Leadbeater are both on the road and so missed press time altogether.

Don (continuing as vice president) comes with 40 years’ experience in community development. Past positions include CEO of Canada World Executive Youth and Columbia Basin Trust. His “retirement” is our gain.

In a redevelopment project like ours, having an architect on board is invaluable. Graeme Leadbeater’s expertise allows NCTS to pre-plan and work with the architects of record with insight and understanding.

Since neither was available to offer up their movie faves, I will assign them. To Don I will give The Horse Whisperer for his quiet ability to rein in the unwieldy.

To Graeme, I suggest King Kong, for his ability to scale Empire State Building-sized projects with ease. (I’d rewrite the ending, of course.)

Returning board member Darryl Santano — former Civic Theatre projectionist from the old days and huge film enthusiast — gets the last word. He wouldn’t choose a favourite movie, but he didn’t have any trouble putting himself in one:

“I’d like to ride with James Bond in the opening scene of Quantum of Solace as two cars pursued his Aston Martin, weapons blazing — but I would have probably gotten motion sickness,” he says.

“Or fly the crop dusting plane that terrorized Cary Grant in North by Northwest — but I can’t fly. Or I’d have like to be a cloaked “Jawa” in Star Wars, with those mini orange lights for eyes, but I’m too tall. But that’s the magic of movies. They transport us into the story.”

So there you have it: a fantastic, romantic, heartwarming, tear-jerking, action-packed, exotic, dramatic, socially-conscious theatre, where anything can happen. We’re all stars in this story of inspiration, perspiration and community. And bonus—there’s popcorn.

Small-sized trick-or-treaters are invited to stop by the theatre on Hallowe’en night! For all things Civic go to

— Anne DeGrace is the past president of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society. To find out about the Great Performances series and other events go to

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