“Sons of Anarchy” star Kim Coates inspires Performance Prep Students
“Movies make you famous, television makes you rich, but stage makes you good,” according to actor Kim Coates. This was just some of the advice that the famed Canadian recently shared with the students of the Performance Prep program as part of their celebrity guest speaker series.
Coates, a long-time friend of program coordinator Mark Melymick, has just completed a month-long run here in Toronto as the star of the hit stage production, Jerusalem. Melymick and Coates have worked on several early projects together. Coates’ first film, entitled Elevator Man, was a student film written and directed by Melymick. The two also worked on a comedy revue by Melymick called Madness. Coates’ remarkable career has spanned 3 decades and has included roles in every medium but he is probably best known for his role as Alex “Tig” Trager, a member of the notorious biker gang in the FX series “Sons of Arnarchy”.
Coates was on hand for more than an hour to answer questions from students and to share some of his stories. He encouraged students to try to stand out at auditions by doing something just a little bit differently than everyone else. He also encouraged them to ask questions, and to listen closely. “The best actors are good listeners,” said Coates. “Never give up” he said. “You can do it all. You have it all at your fingertips. Use technology and social media as much as you can to promote yourself.”
Born in Saskatoon, Coates fell into drama by chance while attending the University of Saskatchewan. Although he has lived in Los Angeles for the past 30 years, Coates still feels a strong attachment to Canada and tries to work here when possible. He came to Toronto to work with his daughter Brenna in the play, Jerusalem, and he was grateful for the opportunity. “I’ve loved working with Brenna, but I forgot how exhausting stage can be,” he said.
Coates expressed his concern that we support the arts in Canada as much as possible, and talked about the possibility of mentoring.
“Without art, we, as a society, have nothing,” he said.
Photos courtesy of Mark Melymick and Mary Jane Carroll.