Sara Farb on getting her big break at the Stratford Festival
The University of Toronto graduate talks broadway dreams
Farb will star in the upcoming Mirvish production of ‘Fun Home’
Veteran Stratford Festival actor Sara Farb, started out in the drama program at Earl Haig Secondary. Never hinging her hopes on one passion, she was known for being active with the student council, choir and various social climate initiatives.
“What’s great about Earl Haig is that in many ways it contradicts the typical high school experience, in that how popular you are mirrors how involved you are with school activities,” she says.
The tendency to hedge her bets continued when she decided to study English literature at U of T, rather than drama. Attempts at practicality aside, she couldn’t shake the theatre’s powerful draw, and became involved in Toronto’s indie theatre scene.
“Acting had been a constant in my life, and I couldn’t really fathom an existence without it.”
Farb took classes in copywriting at George Brown and performed in cabarets and self-produced small-stage theatre.
“It took me a while to find how to fit in with my skill set,” she says.
One day, an audition for the Stratford Festival turned her pipe dream into a legitimate career path. Farb was cast in the festival’s 2013 season. She would spend the next five years with the festival, growing immensely as an actor and playing seminal roles like Juliet (Romeo and Juliet, 2017) and Anne Frank (The Diary of Anne Frank, 2015).
“I’m eternally grateful to Stratford,” she says. “Being cast there was the most out of the blue and life-changing moment of my life,” she says.
Taking this year away from the festival to focus on other ventures has proven very fruitful as well. Having just finished a run in the smash hit The Humans, at Canadian Stage, Farb now heads into rehearsals for Mirvish’s newest venture, 2016 Tony Award–winning musical Fun Home. Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, Fun Home is an adapted memoir, outlining Bechdel’s coming-of-age, employing themes of gender roles, sexuality and family dysfunction. The critically acclaimed show will run April 13 to May 6 at the CAA Theatre (formerly the Panasonic).
The Bechdel Test, a test created by Alison Bechdel, is a crucial piece of the feminist movement in Hollywood.
“It [the Bechdel Test] provides such a great cultural frame of reference for the show. People know who she [Bechdel] is and what she stands for,” says Farb.
The test pushes for more work by women and featuring women and challenges us to look critically at works of fiction, such as films, for any conversation between two women that does not centre on a man, a test that surprisingly many works fail.
Moving forward, Farb hopes to continue on her chosen path, hoping to one day originate a role on Broadway and create more of her own original work.
“I’d love to write a show that has a long life, one that transcends the present moment,” she muses.