Pro­duc­ing your dreams

Sandy Duarte on creat­ing act­ing roles based on her own vi­sion

Midtown Post - - Currents - by Ju­lia Mas­troianni

With a Dora Award and count­less act­ing and pro­duc­ing cred­its un­der her belt, it would seem that Sandy Duarte has been act­ing since the be­gin­ning.

But Duarte says she was late to the party, first go­ing into fash­ion de­sign to fuel her need for creative ex­pres­sion.

“Ever since I was a kid, I loved creative things — danc­ing in the room, per­form­ing, fash­ion,” she says.

In her years at Bloor Col­le­giate In­sti­tute, Duarte says she had many op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­press her­self cre­atively.

“It was a re­ally good place be­cause it en­cour­aged you to open your mind, and that open­ness made me want to cre­ate stuff.”

But af­ter years in the fash­ion busi­ness, Duarte started feel­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­ter­nal ex­pres­sion there weren’t enough for her. It was then that act­ing ap­peared on the radar for her.

Duarte be­gan tak­ing night classes at Sears & Switzer while still work­ing her fash­ion job, and within the year, Duarte says she made plans to leave her job and jump right into act­ing.

“I knew there was some­thing mov­ing me and shak­ing me and scar­ing me so much. I found my place there, my true pas­sion,” she says.

Duarte says she be­gan to mar­ket her­self with hon­esty and in­tegrity.

“I learned very quickly to do that, to love your art but to also re­mem­ber that it’s a busi­ness and you have to put down the step­ping stones to do as much ground­work as pos­si­ble.”

That ground­work landed her a Dora Award for Out­stand­ing Fe­male Per­for­mance in Blood writ­ten by Tom Walm­s­ley, which Duarte also pro­duced.

“I want to cre­ate stuff from my heart, but I can’t just wait for some­one to give it to me,” Duarte says. She says pro­duc­ing gave her the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate based on her own vi­sion. Duarte’s cur­rent vi­sion is Ruby’s

Arms, a play writ­ten and di­rected by Barry Papick that Duarte will be pro­duc­ing and act­ing in. She says she took a cou­ple weeks to get around to read­ing the script once Papick gave it to her, but once she did, she was hooked.

“I wrote him and asked him, ‘ What the hell do you want to do with this?’ be­cause it was amaz­ing,” she says.

The story is told through mono­logues that come to­gether with some di­a­logue be­tween the char­ac­ters, about a mu­si­cian who em­barks to L.A. to pur­sue his dreams.

Duarte feels es­pe­cially proud of the team sup­port­ing this project, one that in­cludes Efren Ramirez of

Napoleon Dy­na­mite fame, Eileen Di­etz from The Ex­or­cist and Emmy Award win­ner Jeff LaBeau. “The way I feel about Ruby’s

Arms, I look at it like when you’re cu­rat­ing a gallery in a mu­seum. You have to cu­rate it with in­tegrity for each role. When you have the right team slowly grow­ing, it’s eas­ier to bring on more peo­ple.”

I knew there was some­thing mov­ing me and shak­ing me.”

Duarte pro­duces and acts in her up­com­ing play ‘Ruby’s Arms’ .

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