You might not know their names, but you’ve most likely seen their faces or enjoyed their work around community.
Holly and Bruce Williamson have been stalwarts of the community’s arts and culture scene since first moving to Aurora more than 30 years ago.
Having met as high school sweethearts in Goodwood, a small community in Uxbridge which has, in recent years, found new notoriety as the filming location of the popular sitcom Schitt’s Creek, the couple moved to Aurora after finding their “starter home” in the late 1980s.
It is still their home base, one from which they have raised two daughters and become active members in such community groups as Theatre Aurora, Aurora United Church, and youth sport programs
“We are high school sweethearts,” says Bruce. “I guess when you have a good thing going, you keep it!”
Their first introduction to Theatre Aurora came through their daughter Amy who found a place in their youth group.
“I started volunteering there and helping out with set painting,” says Holly. “Once you get your foot in the door, you start meeting people and things start rolling. I got involved in set design, set painting and scenic painting, and Bruce was doing theatre in other places.”
Continues Bruce: “I started out in theatre in Port Perry and Newmarket, then that transitioned down to Theatre Aurora. I have been involved in acting and directing, and often when I am directing, Holly is our great set designer, so we find ourselves collaborating on productions, which is great. I trust her, I know I am going to get a good set design and, from the director’s point of view, you’re putting all the pieces together and when you have a great set to work with, artistically it gives you some great options.”
Outside of Theatre Aurora, Bruce spent more than 15 years coaching their daughters in youth soccer programs.
“It was great fun and I really enjoyed that. Those are some great ways to spend summer evenings,” he says. “We have even been invited to a couple of weddings by the kids I coached. It is gratifying to know you have made some connection there.”
As a couple, both are active members of Aurora United Church.
It has been a difficult few years for the church since being destroyed by fire in 2014, but they have been diligently working to help the church rise from the ashes, particularly Holly who sits on the Church’s rebuilding committee.
“I am sure people are excited to see something happening on that lot,” says Holly on the church’s former home at the corner of Yonge and Tyler Streets. “Aurora is a great place to start. It offers so much to families and individuals. People should get out and discover the community and you will find your spirit.”
“Find the things you like to do,” adds Bruce on advice they would give to couples just starting out. “We have been fortunate that we have been able to work together on projects, theatre and similar interests. It has been a great place to raise a family.”
Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran