Get to know Leslie Biles - Western Canada Theatre

Last month, we were thrilled to welcome Western Canada Theatre's new Executive Director, Leslie Biles, to Kamloops and the WCT team. We recently asked her a few questions to get to know her better and learned more about her past experience (she's had many exciting roles at several arts organizations), her favourite thing about Kamloops so far (hint: it might be you), her deep love of cephalopods (what are cephalopods you may ask? keep reading below), and her favourite holiday tradition (including a new one here in Kamloops)—read more about Leslie below. 

Tell us about your experience prior to WCT.
Over the last 30 years I have worked for many theatres, festivals, and performing arts centres in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and now British Columbia! I started in technical theatre with a Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design and Technical Direction. In the production world, I have been a Head Electrician, Head of Sound, and Technical Director (the position responsible for everything on stage except the actors) as well as designed lights and sound for numerous productions. I have managed teams in Front of House (ticket takers, ushers, and bartenders), Box Office, Booking & Sales, Security, Life Safety, Maintenance, Facilities, Engineering, and Marketing. I love working in this industry as there is always something new and different.

What excites you most about joining WCT?
That's a hard question as there are so many exciting things! If I have to choose one, it would be the opportunity to return to playing a part in the creation of new works.  There is a true joy in seeing scripts evolve into full grown productions and nothing beats watching the faces of audience members, especially kids, when we make magic for them on stage. 
What’s you favourite thing about Kamloops so far?
Hands down it is how friendly and welcoming everyone has been.  From the team at WCT, to the many folk who helped me find a place to live, to the furniture salesperson who wanted to ensure I had a bed to sleep on the moment I took possession of my place, to the lovely cleaning lady in my building who gave me tips on where to shop and which roads are best to take, everyone I have met has gone out of their way to be helpful.
Tell us something fun about yourself.
I have a deep love of all cephalopods, especially those in the squid and octopus families and I have toured all over the world to indulge my obsession with them. For my 40th birthday my husband arranged a trip that had a behind-the-scenes tour of the "Tentacles" exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium as it's centrepiece.

Can you share a favourite holiday tradition you have?    
Every year in Calgary we go to the Calgary Zoo's Zoolights event. We arrange a big group of friends and we go early so we can have dinner in the zoo first. Then we spend the evening exploring the exhibits, drinking hot chocolate from the light up cups, watching the kids play all the games and visit with Santa, and posing for silly photos. I was absolutely thrilled to discover Wildlights at the BC Wildlife Park here in Kamloops. Last weekend, my best friend was visiting so we went and had a fantastic fun time exploring all the lights.