Jennifer J. Lacelle
Jan 9, 2023
Creativity and the arts are career paths unlike any other. But it has similarities to other trades that some might not realize. It requires thick skin, grit, perseverance, and vast amounts of training. Kelly Lamb knows this best as she owns and operates That Creative Loft in Sudbury, Ontario.
The space prior was Melissa A. Smith Casting. The business included a few classes and self-tape auditions. In August 2020, Lamb took over the unit (though she was teaching virtual classes before then) and opened her business.
She worked with her friend, Chelsee Taylor, to create the name. They wanted to incorporate the word “creative” and “Sudbury” but in the end the city’s name just didn’t work. Taylor suggested “loft” as the studio very much has that feel; while Lamb incorporated “creative.” Though, the two alone was already copyrighted so with “that” it became and inclusive, creative studio for Northern Ontario actors to learn in!
Lamb has done a great deal of training, beginning as one often does: working on set. By 19 years old she was doing crew jobs as a Background Wrangler. She also did several training sessions with the previous owner of the space (Melissa A. Smith), coaches in Toronto and eventually obtained a Bachelor in Arts (for Theatre and Film).
The primary goal for TCL is to provide quality training. But it’s also meant to allow people to grow as artists, models, and individuals whether they intend to pursue film or modeling professionally or not. Lamb wants everyone to feel welcome, comfortable, and confident.
“It’s all about empowering people,” she says.
That Creative Loft. All Photos by Jennifer J. Lacelle
Her favourite program to teach has been the On-Camera for Kids programs. Children have a unique ability to release reality and use their imaginations in a way most adults struggle to. It’s almost easier for children, and Lamb finds acting to be very much like stepping back into one’s youth and pretending once more. She even says sometimes the kids end up teaching her.
Her first proudest moments are seeing kids gain confidence through the classes. She loves getting emails from parents informing her just how much a child has “come out of their shell.”
Other proud moments include seeing students getting roles!
“I remember one girl seeing me on set and just smiling,” recalls Lamb with a chuckle.
Apart from teaching classes, TCL has been working alongside businesses in Sudbury. It’s a win-win for both parties. It’s practical practice for the students and a great learning experience while the company gets promoted.
Some of the businesses include:
· Regency Bakery
· What to Wear
· Booster Juice
· Palladino BMW
She’s also collaborated with various charity events since opening the studio. As example, in November (2022), TCL participated in a fashion show for Crohn’s Colitis.
When it comes to “competition,” Lamb says there’s no other training studios this far north. While some might see that as an obstacle— to be so far from the big action in Toronto — it doesn’t stop her from getting special guests to come in.
TCL has seen major casting directors from Toronto; stunt co-ordinator Emerson Wong (who works with world renowned co-ordinator Tommy Chang); and actors like Robert Kennedy (Suicide Squad, Schitt’s Creek, etc.), Amber Marshall (Heartland), and Jeremy Ray Taylor (It).
“It’s not everyday you meet a star from It or Letterkenney,” she says.
Lamb enjoys creating stimulating programs, not only for her students but for herself. In 2023, Lamb’s prepared a few special treats! A Los Angeles Casting Director will be making an appearance. So will Caroline Renaud, the lead actress from Project Ithaca. Lamb’s also thought outside the box and is doing a “Delectable” Course where actors can learn how to eat and act simultaneously.
The film industry in Northern Ontario has continued to expand, in spite of the pandemic, and more people are seeing the benefits of filming in this area. As such, more people are obtaining work on set as crew, actors, or background actors. It’s helping drive jobs into the area as well as creativity.
Over the last several years, Northern Ontario has seen actors like Chevy Chase, Chad Michael Murray, Vanessa Hudgens, Lori Loughlin, Ian Somerhalder, David Reale, and so many more…
Lamb makes note that Sudbury is supposed to be obtaining a large filming studio. Rumour has it that’s it’s coming from Fresh Water Studios.
Pre-Covid, actors from the north would have to drive all the way down to Toronto just to audition for roles. That’s all changed as casting directors and website affiliates created a self-tape audition process. Actors can now send in a tape of themselves performing the role without making the lengthy trip.
As such, TCL also saw a giant boom in self-tape production at the studio. Lamb recalls doing perhaps 1-2 per month in the past but now it’s closer to 2-4 per week. This method has also helped northern actors obtain roles that they may have never gotten the chance to audition for in the past.
All in all, Lamb is one busy person between running her business and doing auditions for herself. But it’s all worth it because as time goes on everyone gets to grow.
Upcoming Events: March 25, 2023 | Model Pass | “Let’s Turn Back Time” Fashion Show