BACKSTAGE: Unlikely characters take the spotlight

Get to know us in our Backstage at CCPA blog. Contributors are students, faculty, and members of our community. 
Year II student Shawnda Swenson talks about preparing for her role as Millworker in CCPA’s production of WORKING.


I was not surprised when I got the role of Millworker in our show WORKING. I come from a line of millworkers at home so I guess it was just naturally in my body. I also worked in a mill this summer so that has helped me picture the whole thing.

I am from Saskatchewan, and there are a lot of characters that are in this show that are in my everyday life back home. The kind of people who aren’t really thought of as people who would be in a show. There’s nothing glamorous or anything about them but that’s why I think I fit into this so well.

Coming into this school I have had little to no training in anything but dance. I just knew I could sing and when I got in I had no idea what was going to happen. I thought having no experience in musical theatre would hinder me in getting any sort of role but it didn’t. Singing in a country/contemporary way really helped with this show. Millworker wasn’t meant to have a perfectly amazing musical theatre voice. I think it’s important for people to understand that things in theatre really have changed. The sound, the acting, everything has evolved and WORKING is a perfect example of that.


See WORKING from April 26 to 28th at the McPherson Playhouse. Get your tickets at the Royal and McPherson Box Office, or contact CCPA for ticket vouchers!


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Shawnda Swenson

Shawnda Swenson

Shawnda comes from a small town in Saskatchewan, and came to the Canadian College of Performing Arts to fully embrace the creative turn her life has taken. In 2015 she went to LA for a Talent Showcase where she was offered a recording contract. She went back in the summer and recorded 3 songs and a music video for All Fired Up.