As anyone who has suffered the slings and arrows of a theatrical life knows, working on stage can be a risky business. But Theatre grad Emily Bailey (née Lindstrom, BFA ’19) has taken her production-management experience in a new direction by putting herself into situations more perilous than a bad review.
Not only is she the co-chief of her local volunteer fire department, but she’s also a certified mine rescuer and member of the Diamonds in the Rough, Canada’s all-female, internationally competitive, mine-rescue team.
“One of my professors once told me that a degree in theatre is a degree in team organization and creative problem-solving,” says Bailey. “I think that’s the best way to describe how I’ve adapted my fine-arts skills into the industrial world.”
Growing up in the small BC industry town of Fraser Lake, Bailey worked in a sawmill for three summers before enrolling in theatre at UVic—a surprise to many, as she recalls. “I was a jock in high school, but what I loved most about sports was the organization of teams and tournaments and events,” she says. “I wanted a career doing that.”
Bailey found her niche behind the scenes in production management at UVic’s Phoenix Theatre. “I realized this was totally where I was supposed to be and knew I’d made the right choice.” And it was those very organizational and problem-solving skills that got her hired as a stage manager in Barkerville Historic Town, BC’s legendary 1860s gold-rush heritage site.
Today, Bailey lives just 10 minutes down the road in Wells—the site of its own 1930s gold rush. But it’s also the centre of the current Cariboo mining renaissance thanks to her employer—Osisko Development, Cariboo Gold Project—where she was hired as health and safety coordinator at the end of 2019. “They saw value in my background, which was surprising but also kind of cool,” she says.
If the idea of gold mining conjures up images of Bugs Bunny-style mine shafts with rail tracks and ore carts, you’re about a hundred years out of date.
“Mining today is very different… it’s a lot bigger than you’d expect for being underground. A pick-up truck fits really comfortably into a mine drift, with room above and beside you. Our mine entrance is basically a road with a small incline—you can walk out of it at any point if you need to, which is a big comfort to my parents.”