It was the promise of bannock that first lured Melaina Sheldon into the orbit of Gwaandak Theatre in 2010.
The show’s limited budget also allowed Sheldon to use some of the design skills she had developed in a one-year diploma course in fashion design in Vancouver.
“I’m a Salvation Army thrift store shopper, for sure, and was able to piece together some stuff. The Alpine Bra Boutique also donated a couple of bras, and it was just a good fit. No pun intended.”
Sheldon soon found herself on Gwaandak’s board of directors, eventually becoming president. Her departure from that role last fall allowed her to accept a newly-created position as artistic associate with the company just before Christmas.
Besides that part-time job, Sheldon also holds an “awesome” position in her home village, as community arts and events co-ordinator for the Teslin Tlingit Council.
One of her key duties with Gwaandak is to organize the play reading series, which takes place in June this year.
“That’s a huge honour, to go full circle from my first step into the theatre world to co-ordinating that event where I got my start,” she says.
Sheldon previously directed two summer readings, and acted in the national tour of the Gwaandak/New Harlem production, The Hours That Remain. She recently added the title of playwright to her resumé with a solo piece called Chance, which has had readings in Winnipeg with Sarasvati Theatre, and in the Yukon with Gwaandak.
It took a while for the theatre bug to bite, but it’s definitely part of Sheldon’s future.
“I love it. I just want to be relevant in any way, shape or form. I love being behind the scenes and I love being on stage in front of the audience,” she says.
“I can write, and I can be an administrator, and I can still take an acting gig. But I do recognize and realize that the future is me making that my full time.”