Do you have someone in your life who inspired you to follow your passions? Adele Noronha, who is making her Bard acting debut this season in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest, did. We asked Adele to share her story with us…
I was forced to see my first Bard on the Beach performance. Mrs. Waber took our Grade 9 English class to see Bob Frazer’s Bard debut as Hamlet in 2005. Flash-forward nine years and I find myself debuting on the Bard stage and dear Mrs. Waber happens to be right here with me on the Bard Volunteer team. I have never felt a greater sense of validation than the look of pride from the woman who introduced me to Shakespeare. Without her infectious passion for language, written and spoken, I would have never discovered my own passion for the stage.
I have always had a soft spot for my English teachers. Mrs. Angela Waber was the best of the lot. As a student of the enriched learning ‘Incentive’ program at Hugh Boyd I had the immense privilege of not only having Mrs. Waber as my English teacher for three years of school, but also as a huge part of our community projects and extra curricular activities. Mrs. Waber let us listen to music while we wrote. She took us to the opera, numerous plays throughout Vancouver and I even joined her on a ‘Theatre Tour’ of London and Paris in Grade 10.
She feared nothing, had a way with words and saw right through you. I was in love with her the day I met her. I had to monitor looking ‘uncool’ because more than once in a class, I would get so captivated by her lessons that I would be sitting way too far on the edge of my seat with my chin in my hands like some lovesick little girl. It was on the school bus ride home from an evening at the theatre that I turned around in my seat to look at her and say, “What if I became an actor?” She was the first person I ever said that to. And she replied, “That’s possible.”
Let me explain what that meant to me: I was born in India and immigrated here with my family at 11. Most immigrant kids can testify that when your parents move across the globe for your future, the Holy Grail they sought on your behalf was not the inconstant life of an actor. Where I come from, the viable career choices are doctor, lawyer, engineer and possibly teacher.
Mrs. Waber allowed me the room to believe that I could be anything I wanted to be. Mrs. Waber let me dream. I would visit her class after school, plop myself on someone’s empty desk and talk her ear off as she packed her things at the end of the day. Legs swinging, I would philosophize about all the “what ifs.” Sometimes we would discuss things but most times Mrs. Waber just let me jabber. I cringe to think of all the things I must have said in all my teenage conviction about the world.
Mrs. Waber taught me the value of my own voice. She retired when I started Grade 12. When Mrs. Waber left, she gifted me a book. The inscription on the first page reads “BE.” Trust a brilliant teacher who knew me like a second mother to find the single most motivational word in the English language to gift this obsessively over analytical dreamer.
Awe… such an inspiring story. You can catch Adele’s debut at Bard this year in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest. Did someone inspire you to get involved in theatre? Let us know below!
[Header image, from left: Claire Hesselgrave, Sereana Malani and Adele Noronha in The Tempest, 2014. Photo by David Blue]