The first time Krista Ediger stepped on stage in Prince Rupert she was nervous.
She’d just joined the improv troop, Hook Line and Snicker, after a coworker at the Port of Prince Rupert told her about the weekly laughs. Ediger thought it would be a good way to make friends in her new home.
“I haven’t done improv in forever, and to do improv you have to be really comfortable with the people you’re playing with on stage,” Ediger said. “Being new, not knowing anyone, showing up to a random building that doesn’t really look like a theatre, was probably not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it was fun once I got to know the group.”
It took all of five minutes to fit in. Less than a month later, Hook Line and Snicker told her they were putting on a show, and she was in it. It’s been three years since then, and Ediger has been a part of 10 productions.
Originally from Saskatoon, Ediger got her first taste of drama in Grade 3 when she began attending a fine arts school. Drama, dance and music were all part of the curriculum through Grade 8. But she transferred in high school and ended up taking a step back from acting, only returning to the stage seven years later in Prince Rupert.
“Coming back to this kind of community for theatre, I forgot how welcoming theatre is. You don’t have to have any special talents, just show up and be willing to try. That’s all that really matters.”
That’s not to say Ediger doesn’t have talent. This year alone, she was in the chorus for the community musical’s rendition of Spamalot! Then she and her castmates put on the award-winning play Killer Joe. For the 20th Udderfest, she appeared in Hook Line and Snicker as well as in Bad Things, a dark Martha Stewart-style show where Death, Ediger’s character, helps “put fun back in funeral.”
It’s the light yet twisted humour that Ediger loves playing with.
“With Hook Line and Snicker, they love it, the laughs and the giggles. But with Killer Joe, a lot of people came up to me afterward. I played Dottie, and she was a very innocent character in the play. Some people said they wanted to stop the play and steal me off stage, because it was so hard to watch someone so innocent go through everything.”
The Rupert theatre community and its audience are special, she said, because of how strongly everyone embraces their performances.
“It’s big here. I think we get so caught up with Rupert and the outdoors that we kind of forget about the arts scene here. I can say if it wasn’t for places like the Tom Rooney, Harbour Theatre, the Lester Centre, I don’t know if I would have fallen in love with the town as much as I have.”
Offstage, Ediger’s other roles are just as impactful, if not more so. She’s a board member of the Harbour Theatre society, which means she also works backstage and front of house, working the bar, selling tickets, cleaning the Tom Rooney Theatre, building sets.
Ediger is also a Rotarian. When she introduced herself to the Rupert branch, she spoke of her passion for women empowerment and how we need to help each other. Among the Rotarians, there was a former North Coast Transition Society president. She approached Ediger to apply for the society’s presidency and Ediger was elected last year.
“It’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s hard as a female to know there’s so much violence and such hardship against us because of our gender,” she said.
As the chair and president of the board, Ediger’s help extends beyond one gender. Within her year of NCTS presidency, the society paired with the province to build 36 modular units in Prince Rupert, open to men and women. The groundbreaking for the housing project was held a week before Udderfest, and Ediger was on stage and behind the scenes for both.
She’s putting her name again in for this year’s NCTS board elections.
“When I moved here, somebody gave me the advice if you give to this community, it’ll give back to you ten-fold. I took that to heart and jumped in,” she said.
Even with her many roles, Krista Ediger still gets nervous right before she steps on stage. With butterflies in her stomach, she steps out in front of the crowd anyway. Hearing their laughter and applause, she said, creates a sort of high.
“It makes it worth it all those hours. Both in the theatre, practices and learning lines, character development. If someone’s still talking about it, and comes up to you and says something, it means a lot,” Ediger said.