When Scott Patey sat down with his high school guidance counsellor, he was told that there were not a lot of options for people who pursue careers in the dramatic arts.
Undeterred, the Holy Rosary High School graduate went on to study with Theatre Alberta for four years before moving to Vancouver in 2005 to find work on screen and stage. Patey continued his training at the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts and by 2007 he was getting his first roles.
“(Students) might think that it’s just for fun or it’s just part of drama class,” Patey said. “But no, people do this for a living and are entertainers and it’s a job that’s taken seriously and respected. For the people who come and pay to watch, we’re their escape from reality, we’re their entertainment, and that comes with responsibility.”
Patey also performs improvisational comedy as a main stage player with the Vancouver Theatresports League and on May 13 Patey, along with fellow Theatresports members Andrew Barber and Chris Casillan, will perform at the third annual Last Laugh improv comedy show at the Vic Juba Community Theatre.
The show is a fundraiser for the Lloydminster Comprehensive High School (LCHS) drama department, organized by drama teacher Simon Stang, a close childhood friend of Patey’s.
“This would be our No. 1 fundraiser of the year,” Stang said. “It really helps fund the whole drama department, really. Even though it is the improv club that puts it on the proceeds are distributed evenly amongst the entire drama department.”
Opening for the Theatresports players and warming up the audience will be the LCHS Improv Club Entertainers (LICE). At certain points in the night members of LICE will be joining Patey and company on stage.
“I know that they take a lot of pride in the fact that they get to warm up the audience and really showcase what they have learned throughout the year,” Stang said.“They not only get to open up for them, but once in a while get to perform right alongside them as well. Not an opportunity that comes their way very often.”
Patey was inspired to pursue acting and comedy after professional improvisers from Edmonton visited his high school drama class to perform and teach workshops, which he calls a highlight of his high school education. He says the idea for the Last Laugh came from his discussions with Stang.
“We were chit-chatting one day and talked about the potential of me coming there to teach workshops,” Patey said. “Now that I’ve grown into a performer ... the idea popped in: How great would it be to go back to Lloydminster and give back and do a show?”
Patey says Stang has been a strong advocate for the performing arts in Lloydminster, and at the Last Laugh Patey hopes to reach out and send the message to young people that careers in the arts are possible.
“I just want to come there and show kids that you can do this for a living,” he said.
“I’ve lived away from Lloydminster for 10 years and currently all I do for a living is I work in film and television and I perform professional improv comedy.”