Entertainment Spotlight: Cassie & Cash Finch
Sister and brother duo, Cassie and Cash Finch, have been making waves in the Fort McMurray theatre scene for a few years now. What some theatre goers may not realize about the Finch’s, is the extra amount of sacrifice and dedication required. Even the most casual patron of Keyano Theatre recognizes the amount of volunteer hours put into a production. A main stage performer can easily surpass 100 volunteer hours at the theatre before opening night, and that’s not including the countless hours spent rehearsing and learning lines on their own time.
What makes the Finch’s story even more unique is that they live in Gregoire Lake Estates, a suburb of Anzac. That means tacking on almost 45 minutes there and back of travel time to every night of rehearsal. Their parents Ron and Nadine Finch, who are kept equally busy running Advantage Learning Solutions say it was never even a question about letting their kids follow their passions.
“We put a lot of miles on our vehicles, and spend many evenings waiting in town for them to get done but the alternative is they would not get to do it otherwise,” Ron says. “We make the commitment to get them to the productions, and they make it worth it because they pour their hearts into it and they love it.”
“As parents we are happy to support our kids’ passions.” Nadine Finch agrees. “It’s true that there is a lot of driving to theatre (and baseball/basketball) but the time we have in the car is often the best time we have for quiet conversation and connections with our kids.”
Both Finch children appeared in their first main stage Keyano Theatre Company production of A Christmas Carol in 2017, as well as being involved with Quest Theatre’s Macbeth out of Calgary, and Theatre; Just Because’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Cassie made her debut in Keyano Theatre’s Drama Force presentation of Little Mermaid. She loves theatre but also has other interests such as participating in Aurora Basketball that sometimes prevent her from being as active as she might like. She especially loves the family-like atmosphere of a production and cites A Christmas Carol as her favourite.
Cash, on the other hand according to his father “lives theatre.” In addition to taking every opportunity he can to audition and perform, he studies musicals and theatre in his spare time. He’s even currently in the process of writing a stage play.
Additional credits for Cash include Peter Pan (both through Heritage Village and Keyano’s Drama Force), Jungle Book (Keyano Drama Force) and A Kids Summer’s Nights Dream (Theatre; Just Because).
Theatre; Just Because Youth Play director and instructor Justin Shaw got to work with both Finch children in The Fantastic Mr. Fox and said, “They’re both hardworking and incredibly talented youngsters.”
His most recent work with Cash was casting him as Nick Bottom in Kids Summer’s Nights Dream, which Cash himself calls his favourite role to date.
“The role of Bottom is not an undertaking for the faint of heart,” Shaw says. “It requires a level of stamina, presence and comedic timing that is essential to the character. Because of the vitality of that character, the adaptation of Shakespeare’s text for (the youth version) saw the role remain almost entirely in tact.”
Shaw was also quick to point out Cash’s willingness to learn. “I won’t lie; Cash received an enormous amount of challenging notes, but he rose to the occasion and learned and developed as an artist while taking ownership of his craft. I am so proud of him.”
Ron Finch is also extremely proud of both of his children’s performances. “I think they are both natural performers and love to be in the spotlight.”
Neither Cash nor Cassie show any signs of slowing down as they are both registered for this summer’s Keyano Theatre Company Drama Force presentation of Bugsy Malone, based on the 1976 musical gangster film which featured children in the roles of real-life gangsters like Al Capone during the Prohibition era. Drama Force is a three-week intensive program for ages 10-17 that works on performance skills in a variety of disciplines such as voice, movement, dance, acting and improvisation, as well as technical theatre, and culminates in two live performances.
But the Finch family doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. Nadine Finch explains, “We chose to live in a rural environment because we value knowing our neighbours and having access to the lake and to nature and we are fortunate that we are close enough to a major center that we have access to a wide variety of opportunities.”
The extra drivetime may seem daunting to some, but Nadine says they aren’t the only ones who make the trek to be involved saying, they’ve had neighbours involved with both Theatre; Just Because and Keyano Theatre. Some of Cash and Cassie’s friends who live in other rural places like Draper and the nearby Anzac have also expressed interest.