15 Minutes With Sheila Ingabire-Isaro

Sheila Ingabire-Isaro was born in Rwanda in 1994 during the genocide, and her mother managed to escape to Toronto with her and her five siblings. Since graduating from George Brown Theatre School in April, her credits include The Unending (Convergence theatre) and Les Zinspirés puissance 5 (Théâtre français de Toronto). She is thrilled and excited to share the stage with an amazing group of artists in Liv Stein, her Canadian Stage debut.

SDTC: What should we be paying more attention to?

SI: Empathy. We should be taking more time to think before we speak because we don’t know what other people have been through. Having empathy means leaving room in your heart and soul to really listen to others and trying to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Especially in the world we are living in right now – it is oh so important!

What was the last Netflix series you binged on?

The Get Down. So goooood!

One new thing you learned this year?

To trust myself more.

What memory brings a smile to your face?

Just last week in rehearsal a cast-mate and I were trying to make each other laugh during a scene. It was horrible – but I won, just for the record.

What book/song/lyric/etc is resonating with you right now?

Book: Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Genocide by Immaculee Ilibagiza
Song: “Tilted” – Christine and the Queens
Lyric: “I’m jealous of the rain/That falls upon your skin/It’s closer than my hands have been/I’m jealous of the rain” – by Labrinth

Best advice you’ve been given?

Clear eyes. Full Heart. Can’t Lose.

What is the best part of being your current age?

The best part is that I’m old enough to have responsibilities, but I can still be silly and get away with certain things – especially around older people in professional settings!

What word or phrase should we use more often?

I’m thankful for what you’ve done for me, [insert mom/dad/sibling/friend’s name].

What do you love about your role in the play Liv Stein?

I love that there are so many sides to my character Lore. She is like an onion and I’m still peeling back and discovering different layers every day. It’s challenging and exciting to play someone who is unpredictable because my job is to understand exactly why she is the way she is. That’s what makes her human. It’s not every day that you psychoanalyze yourself, but for this character, I really had to dig deep and find a way to relate to things she may have gone through – experiences that made her become the person you meet in the play. That’s where all the work really is. After that, it’s being present with my other cast-mates on stage, which is exciting.

What one item would you be lost without (besides your phone)?

I would be lost without a notebook/journal. I never really wrote in journals before. I’d buy one and only write the date and ”Dear Diary.” But ever since I travelled to Rwanda this summer, I keep most of my thoughts and ideas in a journal.

Your biggest theatre pet peeve?

Hearing paper and wrappers, or any kind of food being eaten.

What trends are you loving right now?

I’m the worst person to ask. I really don’t know what’s on trend. I’m loving how people are enjoying African prints and styles right now!

What do you love about Toronto?

The arts and programs available for people from all walks of life. I also love that you can find people from all over the world in this city!

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