Van­cou­ver-based im­prov artist Sarah Dawn Pledge is liv­ing her dream

Where Vancouver - - Contents - BY CHLOë LAI

Van­cou­ver-based im­prov artist Sarah Dawn Pledge is liv­ing her dream

“Ev­ery­body was laugh­ing at me, and I liked it,” says Sarah Dawn Pledge. The im­prov ac­tor ex­plains how she found her call­ing at age five, at a fam­ily friend’s party. Some­one asked a ques­tion, and Pledge’s witty re­ply had the whole room of adults in stitches. “I re­mem­ber hav­ing this tingly feel­ing, even as a kid,” she says.

Pledge learned to rely on her imag­i­na­tion for en­ter­tain­ment, spend­ing her child­hood on a quiet, sprawl­ing acreage in nearby Maple Ridge. Then she be­gan en­ter­tain­ing oth­ers. Her first job? Play­ing a fairy at chil­dren’s birth­day par­ties. At 19, she moved to the big city.

“Van­cou­ver is one of the most sup­port­ive im­prov cul­tures I’ve ever come into,” Pledge says. She rattles off a list of men­tors and friends, like fel­low Maple Ridge na­tive and ac­tor Molly Parker, who got Pledge an au­di­tion at Lyric School of Act­ing. The school didn’t take many ac­tors that young, and when Pledge passed muster, the in­struc­tor “de­manded to see my li­cence be­cause she didn’t be­lieve I was 19.”

More than a decade later, she’s on a mis­sion to share the ex­cite­ment of im­prov. A mem­ber of the en­sem­ble at Van­cou­ver TheatreS­ports League (page 88)—as well as one of their most highly rated in­struc­tors—she also per­forms in The Fic­tion­als’ Im­prov Against

Hu­man­ity show (Rio Theatre, page 89) and is the Ed­u­ca­tion Di­rec­tor for QueerProv (XY night­club, page 88). She even co-pro­duces sev­eral shows, in­clud­ing Stage Time and Im­prov Jam, which in­vites “any­body,

of any level” to play with a pro, and Dirty Lit­tle Se­crets (XY night­club, page 88), where anony­mous con­fes­sions from the au­di­ence and per­form­ers drive the scenes.

“I al­most never just go to see movies any­more, be­cause there’s so much live en­ter­tain­ment in this city,” Pledge says. In her down­time, she catches com­edy shows at Seven Din­ing Lounge (page 89), live mu­sic at Fal­conetti’s (page 99), and bur­lesque at the Bilt­more Cabaret (page 89). Shop­ping days are spent at the in­de­pen­dent bou­tiques along Main Street or in Gas­town, es­pe­cially Net­tle’s Tale (page 40). “It’s an in­cred­i­ble lo­cal bathing suit com­pany for women of ev­ery size.”

What’s even more in­cred­i­ble to the queen of make-be­lieve is that she gets to play for a liv­ing. “I pinch my­self ev­ery morn­ing,” she says. “I wake up and I’m like, ‘I fooled them again! They’re go­ing to let me do it again!’” Yes, we will—again and again and again—be­cause we, too, like that tingly feel­ing.

Ev­ery­body was laugh­ing at me, and I liked it

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