Bailey Yarkie named new artistic director for Theatre; Just Because

·2 min read

Bailey Yarkie has been named the new artistic director for Theatre; Just Because. The current director, Hanna Fridhed, will remain as outgoing director to ease the transition.

As the new artistic director of the local independent theatre company, Yarkie is looking forward to having a leadership position in Fort McMurray’s theatre community.

“We have a number of different groups in town and they’re all so supportive,” said Yarkie. “I think there is a very bright future for theatre in McMurray. After we get over this COVID hump, I think there is going to be a burst of artistic creativity and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Before starting her theatre career, Yarkie earned a degree in elementary education with the goal of being a drama teacher. As more theatre opportunities opened, Yarkie became active in the local theatre community.

“It was honestly kind of happenstance,” said Yarkie.

Yarkie has participated in many local theatre productions since 2015, but one of her most challenging performances was in a production of “Not I” by Samuel Beckett. The work consists of a 17-minute monologue from a woman musing about her life’s struggles. The mouth is the only visible part of the performer.

“I was in a chair that was designed to keep me as still as possible and the only thing I could do was talk and use my mouth,” said Yarkie. “The project really solidified my passion for theatre.”

Yarkie has been with Theatre; Just because since 2016. She began leading the Youth Players program in 2019, blending her educational background with her passion for theatre.

Youth Players is a six-month program run by the theatre company for students to meet twice a week to learn theatre skills. These include reading and writing scripts, producing a play, stage production, directing, management, costumes, props and marketing.

“I love teaching and I love being able to share my experience with theatre,” said Yarkie. “It brings me so much joy to work with such talented, funny and creative kids.”

Theatre; Just Because has been in Fort McMurray for seven years. It has run many productions, including the annual fundraising dinner theatre for Waypoints, across the city.

“I’m really looking forward to finding and creating theatre in this community, that is for the community, and that is wanted by the community,” said Yarkie. “We strive to give a voice to this community in a way that a bigger theatre company might not be able to do.”

Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today