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My favourite thing: A family trip to the theatre

By Emma Smith

I think that everyone associates certain things that they love with certain people that they love. Painting reminds me of my Mum because she used to take me to the park so we could paint together when I was younger.

Every time I see a sprinkler, I think of my big brother and the countless summer days we spent in the backyard playing and splashing around.

When I go to the theatre, I think of my Dad. I have been a huge fan of theatre for as long as I can remember and I think my Dad is a big part of that.

He is a drama teacher and I remember going to see productions at the Oakville high school where he teaches from a very young age.

When I got older and developed an interest in performing, he was so supportive. I don’t know how many hours he spent blocking my songs with me in the living room and getting me ready for various music festivals.

I have so many fond memories of trips to the Stratford Festival with my Dad. We have certain traditions, like browsing in Fanfare Books, buying a little something for Mum from Bradshaws, grabbing a Flake from the Scottish Shop, and having a meal at Fellini’s, that make our trips extra special. Those are a few of my favourite things.


Passing It On

When my little sister was born, I knew I wanted to share my love of theatre with her.

When she was a baby I used to sing to her to help her fall asleep. Later, I taught dance in her dance class and I showed her all my favourite movie musicals, several times over.

She has been my biggest fan, always in the audience to see me perform. This year, I got to see her in her very first role when she played Moth in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at her school.

Trips to Stratford have always been so special for my Dad and me. Now that my sister is old enough to tag along, we’re making some new traditions, like going paddle boating.


A Special Trip to Stratford 

I am eight years older than my sister, which has always seemed like a pretty big age gap. She has only recently started coming on these father-daughter theatre trips. Since Stratford has been me and my Dad’s “thing” for so long, the dynamic that we have become used to has necessarily changed now. However, I love the trips even more with the three of us, especially since I don’t get to see my sister or my Dad nearly as much as I used to now that I no longer live at home.

stratford trip

When I went to see “The Sound of Music” at the Stratford Festival with my Dad and sister, I got a double dose of nostalgia. Breathtaking music that you recognize from the very first note, stellar comedic timing, a charming cast of characters, a heartfelt message, and a bunch of cute kids make for a show that most everyone can connect to.

The show itself called to mind memories of snuggling up on the couch with my family and watching it on VHS.”The Sound of Music” is definitely a favourite in the Smith household. I also remember that I used to hum “My Favourite Things” quietly while trying to fall asleep on stormy nights. I still do that during particularly scary thunderstorms, much to my roommate’s dismay, no doubt.

I have performed songs from the show at countless dance recitals and concerts throughout my childhood. Of course, the whole family has always been in attendance. The show is extra special to me because Brigitta was one of my very first theatre roles; I got the chance to sing her part and perform a couple of scenes from the show in a “Sound of Music” themed concert at age eight. All of these memories that I have tied to the show made me all kinds of nostalgic when I watched it on stage at Stratford.

The experience of watching my sister watch the show hit me with a different kind of nostalgia. The way she giggled when Gretel fell asleep on the stairs and watched in wonder as Mother Abbess, played by Anita Krause, blew us all away with “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” made me think of what it was like to fall in love with musical theatre at her age.


It is so nice that the three of us have found something that we all love so much. We are so lucky to be able to have so many shared experiences and shared memories, all thanks to our mutual love of musical theatre.

I can only imagine what is must be like for my Dad, who has been through it all himself, then with me, and now gets to do it again with my sister.

I love being part of a family of music lovers. What better way to celebrate a familial bond forged in a love of music than by watching a musical that does the same?

Emma Smith, the sound of msuic stratford, traditions
“The Sound of Music” is on stage at the Stratford Festival from now until November 1st 2015 and it is truly something special.

By Emma Smith


Photography by David Hou and Emma Smith

More stories by Emma Smith

Don’t miss our podcast with Stephanie Rothenberg who plays Maria in “The Sound of Music.”

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My favourite thing: A family trip to the theatre

Keith Tomasek
14 August 2015
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