By Caitlin Martella
It seems humorous to Kristin Booth that she didn’t realize she could be paid for acting until she turned 12. And until she was in her 20, she didn’t realize one doesn’t have to go to theatre to become a successful actor.
Booth left Ryerson’s film program in 1997. She has since gone on to land 28 roles, including a cashier in the KISS movie Detroit Rock City, an appearance on TV’s Traders, and some minor parts in the movie Gossip and the recently released N’Sync film On the Line.
Booth enrolled in Ryerson’s theatre school in 1994 but quit in her second-last month of her final year when she got an acting job with The Children’s Theatre Touring Company.
Though she enjoyed her program, Booth didn’t feel Ryerson was the best place for her studies. “I grew a lot as a person [at Ryerson], but if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t go back.”
The school atmosphere and marking schemes made acting less of an individual experience. Booth found her performance had to be done the way her teachers wanted in order to get good marks.
“Marks acted as a determinant of where you are going in life,” Booth says. “But in future auditions, employers don’t bother to look at transcripts to see how well you’ve done in school. They look at your acting skills and see if you can fit their roles.”
Booth had two acting professors at Ryerson who influenced her career. She says she learned a lot about the acting industry from Jeanette Lambermont and Cynthia Ashperger.
“Acting is about instinct, being real, being honest and learning to take risks but not like in the real world.”
In her second year, Booth performed in Maureen Hunter’s Transit of Venus, which she calls her epiphany pieces.
“It felt like the first time I was able to assemble what I was taught and see it all work together,” Booth says of Venus. “This was the first time had applied my skills and saw my results.”
Last summer, Booth worked with Soulpepper Theatre and trained for a month with professional actors, directors and coaches. “In one month I learned more [with Soulpepper] than I ever did in theatre school,” she says. “You can learn more by being in the business for a day than you ever could in a classroom in theatre school.”
Booth is currently awaiting the May 2002 release of The Salem Witch Trials, a five-part mini series starring Kristie Alley, Shirley MacLaine and Gloria Reuben.
Booth plays Lizzie, a young woman living through the Salem witch-hunt of the 1690s.
“I really enjoyed this role,” Booth says. “She was fun to play and the cast was really great to work with.”
Booth is getting ready to move to L.A. in January to try out for television pilots. In the mean time, Salem airs on CBS in May, and Booth will appear on TSN’s Off the Record on Nov. 15.