What would Julie do?

PROFile: Donna Fletcher, instructor, theatre and film department, U of W

Photo by Keeley Braunstein-Black

Donna Fletcher first discovered her love for the theatrical arts as a kid, long before she ever thought she’d go into teaching, let alone become an instructor for the University of Winnipeg’s (U of W) theatre and film department. 

“I grew up singing and making up stories and writing plays and loving musicals,” Fletcher says. “That was just what I always loved as a kid.” 

When Fletcher discovered she could make a living from theatre, she was beyond excited. She pursued degrees in music and musical theatre and went on to earn a master’s degree in voice studies at the University of Toronto – all while Fletcher continued to do theatre on the side. 

Funnily enough, one thing Fletcher never thought she would do is teach. 

“I didn’t want to teach at all!” she says. 

But when one of Fletcher’s friends at Rainbow Stage asked if she’d teach him, she discovered that not only did she have an affinity for teaching, but a love for it as well. 

Now, Fletcher greatly enjoys being an instructor and working with young professionals. She says she is grateful for the opportunity to be active in theatre alongside being an instructor. And of course, her love for musicals (that originates from a childhood filled with music from Carousel and The Sound of Music, among other things) is constant and unwavering.  

“You know how people have those bracelets that say ‘what would Jesus do?’ I want one that says ‘what would Julie (Andrews) do?’”

What is something you’ve learned from your students?

“I’ve learned to listen. I’ve learned (that) especially in the last five, six years. I’ve really learned to look at experience through their eyes. I’ve also learned to try not to impose my story on them. I’ve learned to be patient.”

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

“My daughter just asked me this a couple weeks ago! I would fly. I would absolutely fly.”

What’s your favourite musical?

“Wow, I have to say Sweeney Todd changed my life. I would say that’s probably one of the seminal musicals in my life. I love the musical A Man of No Importance. It’s a perfect little candy
box of a musical.”

Published in Volume 75, Number 14 of The Uniter (January 14, 2021)

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