Matthew Lagacé credits his high school music director, Bev Betz, for steering him into his theatre career.
Lagacé, 25, who grew up in La Salle, said Betz urged him to join St. Norbert Collegiate’s choir when he was in Grade 9. Motivated by the chance to go on a trip to Edmonton with the school choir and band, he took the plunge and found that he loved it.
He recalls telling his mom that he joined the choir, and her surprised reaction.
His next step was signing up for jazz choir and auditioning for roles in the annual school musical.
While he enjoyed his time onstage, he entered the University of Manitoba with the goal of earning a degree in education. He decided to add in some theatre courses, including a backstage class in his second year. That, coupled with the practical experience he gained working behind the scenes on two university productions, really convinced him that his future was in theatre.
"This is my job," he said. "I love being backstage."
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre patrons who attended Harvey, the first production of the 2013-14 season, wouldn’t have seen Lagacé, but he was apprentice director, assisting director Ann Hodges.
"You’re there to help the director to see their vision," he said.
While he values having this experience, he aspires to working as assistant stage manager and has fulfilled that role for MTC’s productions of Gone With the Wind, Romeo and Juliet and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
"Gone With the Wind was a massive show with a lot of scene changes," he said, adding that he kept a list in his pocket at all times to ensure that actors and props were ready.
He’ll continue his work at MTC this season as child supervisor for Jane Eyre and apprentice stage manager for The Glass Menagerie and Good People.
While Lagacé recently moved to Charleswood, he still maintains his ties with his family and friends in La Salle and Domain. He leads the La Salle Squires and works part-time at the Domain Co-op.
He realizes that he might have to leave Winnipeg to take on future theatrical opportunities, but said he’s sure he’ll return.