Past Clients, GWCT

Students who took their training with Great West and whose credits all came through this agency until they left or retired from acting.

SONIA DONALDSON – Actra (IMDB-link)

Sonia became not only an Actra member through training and representation through Great West, she was the last elected president of the Edmonton Actra council before the Edmonton office was eliminated and merged with the Calgary office. Sonia was in Mr. Davidson’s first independent adult acting course, and took six of the courses here as well as private coaching. She worked on a number of industrial or corporate videos, a couple of short films, a couple of commercials, a lead role on a television pilot called Trail of Diamonds, an important principal role on the Calgary Feature Film Cold Blooded, and a nice principal role on the television movie The 12 Days of Christmas Eve. A talented singer with her own band for a number of years, she was also known as Edmonton’s Klondike Kate for a few years. She retired from acting to pursue a new work career in Fort MacMurray.

STACEY SPACKMAN – Actra Apprentice

Stacey Spackman, Actra apprentice
Stacey Spackman, Actra apprentice

Stacey started with Great West in the second independent course offered by Mr. Davidson, and was on multiple commercials including for Sophisto Twist, Bloody Idiot Driving PSA, Med-quest, Send-a-Song, 3 National Bumper To Bumper spots, KIK FM, Western Canada Lotteries, Moebler Imports, The Edmonton Journal, a national CIBC commercial, and a national Travel Alberta spot. She was featured in two music videos, had speaking roles in five corporate or training videos for City of Edmonton, RCMP, the Edmonton Police department and as a teen host on a high school educational video for Crime Stoppers. She appeared in a pilot for a musical variety series called Barnwatch, a pilot promo called Merely Players, a speaking role on The Mentors TV series, and a principal role on the TV pilot W.H.Y. TV. Her acting career was cut short by a move to Shanghai with her husband for his work.

CHELSEA MARSHALL – Actra Apprentice

While only in acting unfortunately from the ages of 6-9 years old, her achievements are worth noting. Chelsea started acting in Mr. Davidson’s first independent child film acting courses way back in 1993, (after he had taught both children and adults for The Actors’ Studio off and on for four years). She was one of three young actors in that class that went on to do speaking roles on Actra projects and join Actra as an apprentice. Her credits include a number of commercials, including two U.S. National commercials. She auditioned for a couple of lead roles on projects in Edmonton and Calgary before landing a difficult and important role on a CBS movie While Justice Sleeps starring Cybill Shephard. After a difficult scene testifying in court as a child abuse victim that she worked on with acting coach Bill Davidson, the entire cast and crew gave her an ovation. The director Ivan Passer came over to Mr. Davidson while he was on set with the parents for a later different scene and told him that was a very special young actress. Unfortunately, Chelsea did not pursue acting much after that.

FERRON DEARDON – Actra apprentice

An actor with Great West between the ages of 9-14 during which time he took two of the child/young teen courses, Ferron appeared in two major productions. He has an actor role on the comedy Feature Film Whitecoats starring a number of Canadian stars of comedy, and had a speaking role in the Cable Feature The Virginian for TNT starring Bill Pullman and Diane Lane.

EDEN SOLLEREDER – Actra Apprentice (IMDB-link)

Now retired from acting Eden started with Mr. Davidson as a teen in the Children’s training then moved into Adult training and private coaching. During her time in acting before attending university and moving away from Edmonton, she landed her first significant role in a supporting role on the Edmonton filmed For The Love of A Child for Lifetime Movie Chanel. Eden also had numerous auditions from Edmonton via videotape for roles in Toronto and Vancouver. She is, of all of the teen students taught here the queen of the close call. She was shortlisted for many large roles on large projects, including the lead role of Amy on Heartland, and came down to the final four for a lead on the TV series Dinosapien, (Calgary),) for a lead on the CBC pilot Easton Meets West, (Calgary) and down to the final 2 or 3 for the lead and title role on the comedy series Alice I Think, (Vancouver) after a callback with producers in Vancouver. The only drawback to that callback down to the final few was the producers were laughing out loud so much she actually got a bit distracted. Eden retired from acting primarily for post-secondary education and then to move to a farm in Ontario with her new husband and baby.

JESSE FRECHETTE – Actra (IMDB-link)

Jesse Frechette, Actra
Jesse Frechette, Actra

Retired from acting at the age of 19 after moving to the BC interior for family reasons. He started with Mr. Davidson at the age of 7, the son of one of his other acting students and agency clients, and he became one of the most experienced child/teen film actors in Alberta. He took two child/young teen courses and private coaching for all of his film auditions. Starting out with a role on a local commercial, he went on to a small role on the Jackie Chan movie Shanghai Noon(Calgary) which was unfortunately edited out, then came a major role on the Paramount feature film Snow Day shot in Edmonton. A very demanding role for a 7-year-old, he appeared in multiple scenes as an adult acting little kid wanting to be a polar explorer, with 17 days of filming and 37 lines and his own subplot. Sadly, his whole storyline was deemed to make the movie too long, and was entirely cut in the final edit. He did however receive a call from the director thanking him and apologizing since he had wanted to keep the scenes, and a final edit with movie beginnings and credits and all of his scenes which he got to show in school. This was followed by a small role on the Calgary shot The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie, a speaking role on the Edmonton filmed Whitecoats staring Dave Foley, Dan Akroyd, and Dave Thomas, a speaking role on the CTV movie Selling Innocence, a role as a child abuse victim on Catching The Chameleon, then a very difficult important principal role after a nation- wide competition/search, on The Assassination of Jesse James, (for which he had a couple of scenes acting with Brad Pitt). His 1st Callback for the film in Calgary had the American Casting Director tearful and had to give him a hug. His second callback with the director caused the director to run out of the building after Jesse left to shout out to him and gave him a thumbs up. Yes he got that role. That was followed by three seasons in a recurring lead role on the series Mixed Blessings, and nailing a principal speaking role on the Can film Passchendaele in which he played an underage soldier in WW1 who gets shot and dies on screen.

At his callback audition for Passchendaele, another extremely difficult one as was the Assassination of Jesse James audition, in addition to the lines he had to deal with diving for cover, getting shot, having the realization he was dying, then dying. The director, (Can actor/director Paul Gross who went to the same acting school two years ahead of Mr. Davidson), was so impressed all he could say was something like, do you think you could do that again on the set? He also had a speaking role on the filmed in Edmonton NBC series Fear Itself. While acting and being represented by Great West, he also had large role auditions via tapes for numerous projects across Canada, including for a Cheaper By The Dozen audition out of Los Angeles.