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IN THE SPOTLIGHT | ‘Nessie’ Aly Hill


Each month, Penny & Pound Theatre Productions is proud to shine a light on past and present alumni who are making a difference in the KW and surrounding arts communities.


In August, we introduce P&P performer 'Nessie' Aly Hill (she/they) who made their P&P debut as Mrs. Fezziwig in MISS SCROOGE (December 2022.) Recently, Nessie starred as Widow Corney in our reimagined production of OLIVER! (July 2023.) Nessie has appeared in numerous other community theatre productions, and currently works at the box office of Drayton Entertainment.

WHO ARE YOU?

Who are any of us really? Wait you’ve probably heard that joke before haha. So I am “Nessie” Aly Hill, I’m a Brock University graduate with a BA in Dramatic Arts. I’m a BIPOC actor, voice actor, singer, song and script writer, director, voice actor, casual YouTuber and gamer (Tis Nessie and Tis A Nessie Thing) and full time fan girl and cat mom. I’ve been performing for as long as I can remember and had the honour of playing roles such as The Witch (“Into the Woods” with SBCSS), Gypsy (The Who’s Tommy with Brock Musical Theatre), Holly (“One Night Fran” with Brock University), Mrs Fezziwig (“Miss Scrooge” with Penny and Pound), Meg March (“Little Women” with Ayr Community Theatre) and Widow Corney (“Oliver!” With Penny and Pound), and I’m going to be in Ayr Community Theatre’s “Clue: The Musical” in November. I’m also the assistant director/head songwriter and playing Ramona in the demo for “Scott Pilgrim vs The Unofficial Musical”.

TELL US ABOUT THE UNOFFICIAL SCOTT PILGRIM MUSICAL

Oh geez where do I start?

Me and my writing partner, Parker Autumn Pines, started writing the show as a collaborative piece with others around the world in 2020. Think “Ratatouille The Musical” but instead it’s “Scott Pilgrim”! I joined on to write two songs since I have a tendency to overwork myself and I was an essential employee at Zehrs haha. And not to mention, even though I’ve written music for years, I had little to no feedback on if I was any good since I’m really shy showing them to anyone.Parker apparently loved what I wrote and eventually I wrote almost all the music as others dropped out of the project. I eventually wrote a prequel music album called “Flowers” (two songs from the album were on CKWR program “Shine With Sonya”!), and last year I was offered the role of Ramona for the upcoming demo! It’s been a slow process as neither one of us know what we’re really doing (Parker also lives in Florida and we have yet to meet in person!) and we both work full time. I do all the music mixing and video making right now (we’re hoping to get somebody else to help with lyric videos and music for the backing tracks ) but what we have released to the public has been really positively received on YouTube, especially to fans in us taking more inspiration from the comics than just the film! Our song “Maybe We Should”, which is a duet featuring just me playing guitar voicing Scott Pilgrim and Lisa Miller (a character in the comic who is only briefly mentioned in the film and game) and has over 6K views on YouTube!

For now, we’re just hoping to get out what we can for a demo, get other volunteers and fans to help, and hope one day we can perform it on stage! HOW HAS YOUR TIME WITH PENNY & POUND INFLUENCED YOU?

Penny and Pound was the first community theatre company I worked with since I was 14, and I was terrified to step into it again after University. But with everyone so kind and fearless to not only be themselves, but put their hearts out there every show, it’s inspiring. I’ve been trying to come up with my own theatre pieces since being in “Miss Scrooge” outside of “Scott Pilgrim” ever since joining! It’s great to be part of a theatre company that inspires you! DESCRIBE YOUR TIME DURING YOUR POST-SECONDARY THEATRE EDUCATION

I actually thought I may not have been a good actor since I didn’t have very many acting roles outside of musicals. Then I got accepted at Brock for their Dramatic Arts program (DART)!

My first year was really lonely. I was doing very well in academically but I didn’t feel I belonged socially. It was like high school drama class all over again, but worse since it was every day and I didn’t have friends I could talk to in class. My classmates weren’t mean or anything, we just didn’t click.

I always had an issue making friends since I’m shy and awkward by nature, which is partly why I went into theatre so young (another story). They don’t tell you that when it comes to theatre school, it’s not always the assignments that make or break you, sometimes it’s the people who you are surrounded by, and the encouragement that you receive, or don’t. On the bright side, this isolation taught me to work on myself and my art and determine my value despite not having the loudest applause. I’d rather feel I gave the best performance of my life and hear crickets than give 10% and have roaring applause.

Thankfully, outside of class I had my best friend from high school, Natasha Czajkowski (who went to Brock for film), and my high school boyfriend, now husband, Brook Hill, to talk to and encourage me. Then my second year, I found my people and I learned so much from them and at Brock the next two years from my professors. I am a better actor for it. I learned how to not just recite words but dive deep into a character and learn how they walk and talk, how to be a better director and listen to and encourage my actors, and how to ensure comfort in intimacy in the room while I direct them.

I’ve told people I want to be an actor who can sing versus a singer who can act, and I think I achieved that and more in what I’ve accomplished so far! WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER EMERGING ARTISTS?”

Make sure whatever you doing is the tinder that sets your soul on fire. If it does, put your heart, and authenticity into it, be willing to let it grow, and trust your gut when it comes to sacrifice and opportunity to protect that fire. Also be nice. Please.


HOW DO YOU THINK WATERLOO REGION CAN BETTER SUPPORT YOUNG ARTISTS?

Come out and see shows, buy our albums, like our pages, and share promotions! Liking and sharing is free and takes only a second of your time! Encouragement is such a big part of having an artist be known and seen and grow, and that one like or share can make someone feel that what they’re doing is worth it.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?

I’m going to be in Ayr Community Theatre’s “Clue: The Musical” playing The Detective in November! I’m writing lots of personal music that I’m hoping to get courage to release. Other than that, I’m exploring the local theatre scene and planning on making steps to find an agent to perform professionally, which I’ve been putting off for years or just hoping would magically happen like the movies. My cast mates from ACT’s “Little Women” and my parents and friends at PNP have been heavily encouraging me that I can do it since seeing me perform in the last few years so… anyone know an agent?



"Nessie" Aly Hill as Mrs. Fezziwig and the Company of MISS SCROOGE: A NEW MUSICAL (December 2023.) | Photo by Alyssa Palmer

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