'WHAT'S COOKING' is a blog series wherein the team behind Kitchen Party Theatre Festival gives you a closer peek at some of our secret ingredients, so to speak. What exactly does a recipe for artistic process call for? Who inspires our company members? What have they learned in the industry so far? What do they find interesting about the various characters they play? Today, company actor Kennedy Toms tells us all about who motivates her in our first Monday Muse column of the series.
Throughout my life, I have always sought influence from wherever I could. I wanted to be as funny as the characters in my favourite tv shows, be as kind and selfless as the heroes I read about in books, to follow the guidelines set by my family and exceed their expectations so that they were proud of who I was. So, when I decided I wanted to be an actor, finding someone to motivate me was not something I had to go searching for.
I have been fortunate in my short career to have worked with many talented and extraordinary human beings who have pushed me to be the best artist I can be. As cheesy as it may sound, two influential people in my life are Nicole Smith and Bernardine Stapleton, the Co-Writers and Co-Founders of KPTF. They saw something in me and graciously allowed me to be a part of this amazing experience, something I will forever be grateful for. Combined, they have decades worth of experience and knowledge to offer me that I am always eager to hear and soak up. From the moment I met them I have strived to make them proud and to not regret the chance they took on me back in 2021 – a fresh 19-year-old actor from Bishop’s Falls who had no professional experience under her belt.
However, there is one person who is my main motivater as an actor and is the reason why I want to work hard and not stop until I have surpassed my talent threshold and am the best version of myself as possible – My Poppy Pat. Some of my earliest memories with him are of watching movies. Whenever I would sleep over, we would adventure to the small convenience store near his house and rent a movie (yes, I’m old enough to remember a time where you could go to a store and rent a movie). Together, we would browse the different movie sections and try to find something interesting. And if nothing caught our eye we would go back to his house and see what was “on demand” (I remember how cool it was to realize that there were thousands of movies we could access with the small click of our remotes). He was one of the first people to introduce me to the world of acting, and when I had an epiphany that I wanted to be an actor at 12 years old, I knew that I wanted to be in a movie on my grandfather’s television. I wanted him to be able to flick through his channels and see his granddaughter on his screen, acting in the movies he had loved all his life. I’m not sure if he knows how much he has impacted me regarding my career path, but this man – unbeknownst to him – remains my #1 motivator when it comes to perusing my passion. I owe it to him, and the many incredible people I have had the pleasure of working with, who inspire me as an actor. From my high school drama teachers Mrs. Smith and Ms. Tucker to those in my professional circle such as Bernardine and Nicole, I am surrounded by people who continue to influence me to reach in deep and achieve everything, and more, that I am capable of as an actor. My main goal is to continue to make them, and my grandfather, proud of me and the actor I hope to become.
KENNEDY TOMS (she/her)
Bitsy/ Valerie/Madonna (Girls From Away), Mainstage Performer (The Codfather)
Kennedy Toms is an actor from Bishop’s Falls, NL, currently completing her Bachelor's of Fine Arts at Grenfell Campus. Some of Kennedy’s latest acting works include Thérèse Dubuc in Les Belles Soeurs, Annabel Carew in Bedlam, Mildred/Marvelena in a previous edition of Girls From Away, and Darcy in the short film BOUNCE. Kennedy is so excited to be back for her second year at the Kitchen Party Theatre Festival playing Bitsy in Girls From Away, and you can also find her in The Codfather this summer.