Published on January 1st, 2015 | by Dean Hollin


It’s Crazy Really

Sarah Jane O'DonnellWhen performers get in front of an audience – when they “hit the stage” – there is a sort of metamorphosis that takes place. How can it be explained? Even the world’s most reserved individuals can seemingly come to life once hitting the boards. Reminiscent of cliff-jumping in the Muskokas – standing at the edge…waiting to jump…stomach in knots…and then…that undeniable thrill! Like a bee-keeper getting stung, that occasional and unavoidable discomfort often shows substantial benefits down the line…

Sarah Jane O’Donnell understands that magic of the stage. And the backstage. The whole nut, as it were. She began her life in the performing arts south of our border. Born in beautiful New England, she started early onstage as one of those oh-so-cute, teeny-tiny dancers we all “ahhh” at during dance recitals. Throughout her elementary and secondary schooling she found herself in numerous theatrical productions. When it was time for college, the “Performing Arts” was to be her thing – Performing Arts and Education.

You see, whilst clearly bitten by the theatre bug, Sarah also possessed a keen desire to educate – to pass along this love of the stage. So, with Boston’s Emerson College as her alma mater, she completed programs in both Acting and Theatre Education and set out into the world with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Soon after, she landed in a rather perfect situation – the Arlington Children’s Theater – she was exactly where she wanted to be. Then she bumped into Fate.

As fate goes, a little voice said, “don’t get too comfortable just yet” and gave her a swift push right up to our side of the border. That was a decade ago. In 2007, fate would have her land smack-dab in the middle of New Tecumseth. Thank you fate!

Employment at Alliston’s Gibson Centre presented opportunities for Sarah to continue on her chosen path. Involved in executing a Theatre Orangeville Outreach Program early on, she ultimately ended up as one of the founders in what would be the Gibson Centre’s Theatre School. Then came “Crazy Pants”.

In January of 2013 – right in the heart of Beeton – Sarah, with the endless help and support of her partner, opened up the Crazy Pants Theatre Co. Crazy Pants represents Sarah’s dream as a lover of theatre, youth and education. Crazy Pants is so many things – performing, improvisation, stage craft and more – for children between the ages of six and eighteen. In an era where the Arts, in general, are usually the first thing on the educational chopping block, Sarah is providing a place where area youth can come and create. Now, when I say “create”, indeed, I’m referring to theatrical productions and such, however, it goes much, much deeper than that. Consider building and designing, organizing and problem solving.

Growing steadily Sarah and her Crazy Pants are providing youth from all throughout Simcoe County the opportunity to play a part, swing a hammer, paint, thread, sing, dance and be part of a glorious team – skills and experiences that one can only imagine will resonate throughout each of their lives. Sounds Crazy? You betcha!

Sarah and her Crazy Pants

Dean Hollin Singer, Playwright and Live Stage Performer

Dean Hollin

Dean Hollin – Bio


About the Author

Dean Hollin

Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Dean began his theatrical career during his high school years and continued his performance studies working in various community theatres wherby he honed his skills both on and off the stage. One of his primary training grounds was Hamilton Theatre Inc., which prior to and during his tenure (1985-1993) were in the practice of retaining various New York/Broadway talents to direct and choreograph their musical productions. He considers himself extremely fortunate to have worked with the likes of John Sharpe (Bob Fosse's assistant choreographer for films such as Cabaret), Jack Timmers (MGM contract dancer and Stage Manager for original Broadway production of Annie), Edie Cowan (choreographer for original Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors), Michael Mann (original Broadway production of Barnum), and Rudy Tronto (Director of sketches for Broadway's Sugar Babies starring Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller, for which Rudy received a Tony Award nomination).

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