Tell us a little bit about yourself. What got you interested in a career in the entertainment industry?
I always loved drama class in school. I had a lot of learning disabilities growing up (I still do) plus dyslexia and Tourette’s as a child, so it was hard to really feel good at anything for a long time until I got into drama. That’s where I started to really find my footing, make lasting friendships, and gain confidence in my life. My parents also took me to see a lot of plays growing up and I just always loved them and envied the actors on stage. So basically, as soon as I understood that someone could be a performer as their job that’s when I became interested in this path!
You started out as a writer and television producer for Canada AM, what did you learn from that experience that prepared you for the next phases of your career?
I learned so much from that experience. For a brief time in university, I started to get cold feet about acting and wanted to explore other career options where I might get that same “live” adrenalin boost, and I ended up working as a Freelance Producer for the morning television show, Canada AM on CTV. I started there right out of university, and it was a very exhausting and exciting job for a recent grad. It’s a lot of pressure to turn over live news stories 5 days a week in front of a national audience. The show taught me how to produce on a large scale and how to work quickly and efficiently when the stakes are high, and honestly how to leave my ego at the door for the greater good of the show. These are all skills that have been so useful to me as an artist and producer now in my career and I’m so grateful for my time on that show.
How important was your role as Danica Powers in Private Eyes to your career?
Danica has certainly been a real privilege to play. Private Eyes was the first consistent television role I booked after a career primarily in theatre so the transition was nerve-wracking but very exciting. Working on the show and with such pros as Jason Priestley, Cindy Sampson, Ennis Esmer and Sam Wan has taught me so much about the medium and has opened doors for me that I wouldn’t have dreamed possible five years ago.
You recently produced a 5-part comedic murder mystery over instagram Live. How did that idea come about and how difficult was it to produce?
Yes! My friend Liz Johnston, who is a Toronto based comedian, and I produced an improvised murder mystery show for Instagram Live at the very beginning of all the lockdowns back in April. It was called Murder at The Winterhouse Theatre and it was such a fun way to connect with artists and audiences who, like ourselves, were really mourning the loss of live theatre and comedy shows. The main challenge was, how do we create an ensemble cast show where everyone can perform from the safety of their own homes. So we’d have these amazing heavy hitter actors all set up in their homes and they would dial into our IG Live stream and Liz and I played detectives who interviewed them to find our killer. It was such a fun experience and we’re hoping to do another one in the New Year!
You also co-produced and starred in the short Stuck which has over 14 million views on Amazon Prime. How validating is it to see so many people enjoying something that you had such a big part in creating?
Oh, it’s fantastic! I never imagined this little short film we shot would be so well received. I’m so grateful for everyone who’s watched and made its success possible.
What can audiences expect from season 4 of Private Eyes?
Oh, we go to a whole range of different worlds from a Gatsby garden party, to a high-profile celebrity golf tournament, a Toronto-based film festival even a bizarre alien cult. We also have some fun guest stars like Toronto Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse which is pretty cool. And we get a glimpse into Danica’s personal/romantic life which I’m personally quite excited for folks to see!
You co-created the theatre ensemble The Howland Company. What led you to create that ensemble?
When I started out as an actor, I found the process very lonely. It’s really a lot of alone time waiting for the phone to ring and prepping auditions. Plus you’re sort of at the whim of whatever projects are taking place at the time. So my friends and I wanted to create a space where we could build a sense of community for folks in our industry and also have some creative control and autonomy over our work. We started The Howland Company as a monthly play-reading group which we still run today. It’s free and open to the public and welcomes anyone who wants to get together to read and talk about a play. And from there we started producing! We came up through The Toronto Fringe Festival with some Best of Fringe winning plays which build us some clout in the city and now we program anywhere from 1-3 plays a year. We’ve since moved our content online due to COVID but we’re very excited to return to live performance when the venues open up again!
What advice would you have for aspiring actresses/writers/producers?
Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Start creating your own work and really hone the skill of being able to make something out of nothing. Even if you book a huge Hollywood or Broadway gig and you feel like you’ve really “made it” (whatever that means), eventually there will come a time when you will want to tell your own stories (either because the work has dried up, or your tired of telling other people’s stories) and you will be so grateful for this skill. I promise!
Let the readers know where to find you online.
You can follow me on IG @Ruth_Goodwin Or you can follow The Howland Company at @TheHowlandCompany