Sunday, October 1, 2023

Who did your hairdo Cindy Lou Who?

By Minal Abhange

Makeup and hair may not be the first thought that comes to mind when thinking of theatre; however, it is a key element to enhancing the realism and storytelling of any play.

“There is a big difference between normal make-up and stage make-up,” says Martha Wall, an instructor of the Hairstylist program at CNA’s Bay St. George campus.

“The art lies in effectively bringing out the character of the performer. It is both challenging and fascinating to create a look that depicts the character, while really paying attention to all the details.”

As part of the Stephenville Theatre Festival’s 40th anniversary celebrations this past summer, Martha, along with program alumna Hernanda Perrier, volunteered their time and skills to transform performers of the musical, Seussical Junior.

Martha Wall, Hairstylist instructor, transforming Jane Perrier with professional makeup and hairdo into (The Amazing Gertrude) a character in the musical, Seussical Junior.

Seussical Junior featured many Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant and The Cat (from The Cat in the Hat). The uniqueness of this production was that all performers were between the ages of eight and 18. The production was directed by Heather Braaten, with musical direction by Lisa Nolan.

Hernanda graduated the Hairstylist program in 1990 and has since been working in her field ever since! “This was an amazing experience, and a privilege to work with some young, enthusiastic and energetic actors,” says Hernanda.

James Burt in character as The Mayor of Whoville in the musical, Seussical Junior, with Rhonda Henderson, a Hairstylist program student who volunteered her skills at the Stephenville Theatre Festival’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Program Focus

Based on a continuous intake model, the Hairstylist program helps student’s gain extensive training in basic and advanced techniques, as well as exposure to up-to-date trends in the industry.“The Hairstylist program at CNA is cutting edge, quite literally,” Martha chuckles.“Our students are able to keep up with the ever-changing hair trends through in-class instruction and practice; doing online research, reviewing literature, participating in field trips and attending hair shows and competitions,” Martha explains.

“We try to attend at least two shows a year, and they can be anywhere within Atlantic Canada. Our students are also encouraged to display their talents, by participating in the Newfoundland and Labrador Skills Canada Competition. It’s an amazing venue for students to observe and learn from the various techniques, styles and talents of others.”

Offered at Bay St. George and Gander campuses, this Red Seal, accredited program gives its students a good foundation in the basics of hairstyling, in addition to learning about and practicing top style trends.

Sharing her experience as an alumna, Hernanda says, “The program is very hands-on, and focuses on teaching top trends in women’s hairstyles (inverted bob, disconnection and asymmetrical), as well as the most popular hair colouring techniques offering students the exposure to a vast pool of knowledge and experience and job ready skills.” 

Community Engagements

Apart from supporting the Stephenville Theatre Festival and participating in professional hair shows, Martha and Hernanda have also volunteered their skills at the second bi-annual Shave for the Brave, organized by the Community Youth Network at Stephenville High School.

“It takes courage, but it was a pleasure to see 13 volunteers either donating 10 inches of hair, shaving their head or both, to support young adults in Canada who have been impacted by cancer,” says Hernanda.

“Community events like the Shave for the Brave are opportunities for our students to connect with the community, as well as gain experience to the immense career possibilities in the world of hairstyling.”

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Glenda Tompkins
Glenda Tompkins
Glenda is an experienced communications professional with over a decade of experience in Marketing and Communications and Social Media Management. In addition to photography and videography skills, she has extensive experience in event planning, graphic design, and knowledge of website design and management. She has won numerous national and international awards for work in Social Media, Marketing and Communications, and writing.


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