From Barrie Advance – Sept 5, 2013
By Leigh Blenkhorn
September marks the start of a new year for Sandra Shamus.
The comedian spends her summers working on her farm, then trades in her tools for a microphone.
“My summer life and my farm life tend to support and supply my creativity. I think it’s a good eco-system,” she said.
Shamus will make her Barrie debut when she hits the Georgian Theatre stage Sept. 19 as part of the Barrie International Comedy Festival.
Shamus came onto the scene as a performer, writer and producer in the mid 1980s with My Boyfriend’s Back and There’s Gonna Be Laundry.
From its very first performance at the Edmonton Fringe, the show was a success, eventually touring the country and playing the legendary Old Vic Theatre in London, England.
Two more Laundry plays followed. The trilogy was eventually published and short-listed for the Governor General’s Award and the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour.
Shamus won a Gemini Award in 1991 for Best Performance in Comedy and the Best Theatre Award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in March 2003.
After some time away from the spotlight, Shamus returned to performing with Wit’s End, a show that chronicled her move to country living.
It was followed by Wit’s End II: Heart’s Desire and now Wit’s End III: Love Life.
“I’ve done six shows in 25 years. It’s experiences plus time and perspective that equals one show. It takes, on average, about four years to write one show, but the last one took eight,” she said. “It was about the change of life, menopause, turning 50. It was a gigantic intersection. I got it done. I was pleased with it.”
Shamus is the definition of a one-woman show. She writes, produces, performs and event sells tickets.
“In the initial stages, that’s how I thought it was done. I just decided to become a performer one day. There was no school for what I do, so I had to invent it. The theatrical community at the time didn’t have a definition for what it is that I do. I was quite a renegade,” she said.
“I went and rented a theatre, I put tickets out for sale for a show that was all about women. The whole community wasn’t interested because they didn’t consider it theatre. I didn’t care. I was having a great time and I had an audience and I was making money.”
Shamus is now putting the finishing touches on a new show, set debut in March in Toronto.
“Every time is a new time. Every time is a challenge. It doesn’t get easier,” she said. “I know what my resources are and what my abilities are, but when it comes to creativity and presenting something new, there are no guarantees.
“I am happy to do everything I know how to do a producer then let my performer take over and see how it goes with the audience.”