Sometimes people stumble upon their passions accidentally; such is the case with Sophia Marnik.
After studying to become a teacher at McGill University, she came North to the Yukon, in 1996, with an open-ended future in front of her. At approximately the same time, a local production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was struggling to find actors.
“A friend of mine asked me to try out,” Marnik says, “and I ended up getting the role of Hermina.”
For a person who had never really considered becoming an actress, Marnik thoroughly enjoyed the process. “[Acting in A Midsummer Night’s Dream] was a great experience and I made a lot of good friends,” she says.
Aside from the newfound friendships, Marnik was also pleasantly surprised to discover she had a certain natural talent or, in her own words, “I wasn’t absolutely rotten at it.”
From that point on, acting began to occupy an important role in her life. She became an original member of Moving Parts Theatre, a local group led by actor/director Anton Solomon.
“We meet with the same group of actors each week and we developed our skills,” Marnik says. “It’s been a really positive experience.”
As she continued to hone her acting chops, her profile continued to grow in the local theatre community. Since her initial foray into acting, she has had many more great moments on the stage.
“The Rocky Horror Show was fantastic and I liked Inherit the Wind,” she says.
“Inherit the Wind was a wild play because we needed a lot of actors to play all the townspeople.” Among her other favourites are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, about two lesser-known characters in Hamlet and, more recently, The Elephant Man.”
Despite all her success on the stage, Marnik hasn’t forgotten her original desire to be a teacher. In fact, Marnik has been able to combine her passion for acting with her love for teaching children.
“I teach in the [Yukon] Art’s Ed-Venture program. I get to use drama to teach curriculum,” she says. Her face beams with enthusiasm when she talks about these “ed-ventures”.
“I find ways to teach kids about things like lengths and angles, using techniques from drama. It’s fantastic to get the kids involved,” she says. It’s a testament to her creativity that she has found a way to cram theatre and mathematics into the same lesson plan.
For someone who seems so naturally inclined toward performing, it is perhaps a little bit surprising that Marnik didn’t start acting until she arrived in the Yukon, already well into adulthood. But it turns out Marnik wasn’t always this confident.
“I remember being scared to get in front of a classroom when I was doing my practicum,” she says. “Until I moved up here I could never think about standing on stage.” Living in the Yukon has allowed Marnik to discover her hidden talents.
“I came into myself when I moved here. The people up here are comfortable with themselves and allow you to find out who you are.”
Sophia Marnik sometimes wonders what would have happened if she had gotten into acting earlier in life, but she quickly adds, “I might not have moved up here.”