Cassia Schmidt is a graduate of Rosebud School of the Arts (Acting - 2011) and currently serves as Education Assistant and Recruitment Officer. Selected credits at Rosebud Theatre include ‘Oliver!’, ‘The Secret Garden’, ‘Anne of Green Gables’, ‘Barefoot in the Park’, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’, and ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Also an Alberta based Singer / Songwriter with Folk, Gospel and East Coast influences, Cassia has two recordings, ‘Let the Music In’ and ‘in memory of…’ both available on Bandcamp.
What’s your 'must-have' morning ritual?
My favorite thing in the morning is to sit with a cup of coffee. The ritual around the coffee changes: sometimes it’s a yoga morning, sometimes it’s quick-out-the-door to get at the day. If I have a reflection time with my cup of coffee, it’s a good launching point for my day.
How do you take it?
Coffee and cream! We’ve recently discovered the Aeropress, and it’s glorious!
You’re on staff with Rosebud School of the Arts. What does your job entail?
I’m currently Education Assistant and Recruitment Officer. I am the point of connection for all potential students, and I guide them through their application process. As part of this job, I’m involved in some marketing and I organize workshops for school groups joining us in Rosebud. As Education Assistant, I organize Calgary theatre trips for our students, participate in Ed Team meetings, post on the Rosebud School of the Arts Facebook page, and do various jobs pertaining to our records and operations.
In ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, you’re playing Doris Walker, the no-nonsense single-mom who runs the Macy’s Christmas department but refuses to teach her own daughter anything fantastical. What did you grow up believing about Santa?
As a kid, I thought of Santa as a Christmas game. It was an opportunity to name a specific hope for Christmas and I knew that I had to make sure I told Santa what I wanted loud enough for my mom to hear. My brother is quite a bit younger than me, so as I got older I got to join in the game of Santa with him too!
What has surprised you about your character?
I don’t always build an elaborate back-story for my characters. Most often, I’ve had roles where most of the story is developed through the writing of the play. Doris is different. I found I needed to build a very detailed pre-story for her. I needed to specify the deep hurt of her failed marriage, and her broken faith in Christmas. In building her timeline, the most surprising realization for me was that she could be my age. There are many 29 year old women who have already lived through big stories, and have to really fight for survival. I’m pretty excited to go on the journey of faith with Doris! The play says that if we believe, miracles will happen. It is a pretty risky thing to do, to believe that a miracle will happen, and I feel convicted by it. I want the story to inspire hope in people, and encourage us to be bold in our faith. Who knows? Maybe we even get some miracles along the way!
Has there been an unexpected moment in rehearsal?
I had a moment when I put on my costume for our first run. I put my hat on and I felt like my Grandma Hazel. I’ve never been told I look like her, but the hat and scarf and clip-on earrings makes me feel like her. It’s a good feeling to carry her with me in this show. She loved Rosebud Theatre, and though she passed away before I came here, I know she’d be so pleased to be a part of it!
What’s the best acting advice you’ve ever received?
Throughout my training I was given the Nelson Mandela quote over and over again. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” Again and again I’ve been reminded not to be afraid to be my full size and not to hold back.
What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?
Our family always decorated our tree together. I loved pulling out all the decorations, full of memories of the people who made or gave them. After we were finished, we’d have hot chocolate in our Christmas mugs and watch the Muppet’s Christmas Carol.
As I’m newly married, I look forward to new traditions! One of my new favorite Christmas rituals is Nathan and my drive home on Christmas Eve. There are Christmas carols on the radio, and our car is packed full of presents for family and nieces and nephews, and we get to just be together for a couple hours on Christmas Eve.
Least favorite tradition?
I don’t really like writing Christmas cards.
Lastly, what’s Cassia Schmidt’s guilty pleasure?
Probably chocolate. Or coffee.