Colleen (Cadieux) Bailey
Life and Work
Colleen is Sundre's "Lady of the Theatre" and is one of the driving forces behind the Peak Theatre Players.
Colleen was born in Ottawa, Ontario on October 15, 1951. Her parents, Flora and Ron Cadieux, raised four children - daughters Hope and Colleen and their brothers, Ron and Lee.
It was her sister, Hope, who first cast Colleen in the leading roles in a series of plays she had written and directed. The girls were voracious readers, and their plays were inspired by literature, especially the story Anne of Green Gables.
The Cadieux children attended a Catholic School taught by nuns. Colleen was involved in the Speech Arts, but the piano was her artistic outlet from Grades 2 through 11. Years later, Colleen learned that it was her maternal grandmother, a concert pianist, who paid for the girls' music lessons.
At Carleton University, Colleen chose to follow her passion, literature. She received a Degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology. Colleen also obtained her Bachelor of Education Degree at Ottawa University.
The year was 1970 and only 1 per cent of the graduating class got jobs. Colleen found work teaching in lower-town Ottawa, filling in for a maternity leave. While there, she used drama as a tool to bond with her students.
Colleen married Brian Bailey in May of 1979 and moved to Calgary and later to Sundre. The lives of the Bailey family, Colleen, Brian and their daughter Meg, centered around the Arts.
Colleen's peers give her credit for the creation and success of the Peak Theatre Players for the past twenty years.
Her work as an Early Childhood Educator, her gifted acting abilities and exceptional directing skills has captured the admiration of the people who know her.
"Lady of the Theatre"
Colleen Bailey is Sundre's "Lady of the Theatre." When she is performing, she reaches out to the audience to bring them into the world of her character. She has a way of catching the essence of making you believe she is the character and she does it her way, as only Colleen can. Lost in the fantasy of the performance, the audience knows that no one else can do it better. Colleen has an amazing way of creating magical moments. She is inspirational in her interactions, in her classroom, and especially on the stage of the theatre.
"Mrs. Bailey! Mrs. Bailey!" Children have been exclaiming her name since she came to Sundre to teach Early Childhood Education in 1979. She became a source of light to the children and to their parents. Soon the town began to hear her name in another newsbeat. A new group called Peak Theatre Players was hitting the headlines and Colleen Bailey illuminated the stage in her performances with the cast. A star was unfolding.
Colleen's enthusiasm for the arts comes from her soul. You can see it on her face when she talks about the Sundre Arts Development Centre that began as a dream of Colleen Bailey and other dedicated people who loved the arts. Colleen gives credit to the rise of Peak Theatre Players to everyone associated. Her peers say that "Without a doubt, the success of Peak Theatre for the past 20 years has been largely the result of Colleen's gift."
Colleen Bailey is honoured for her lasting contribution to the arts. Her acting is an expression of who she is, "Sundre's Leading Lady of the Stage."
Appreciation of Colleen Bailey by Carol Rowntree and Stephen Wendelboe
We were very pleased to learn that you would be honouring Colleen Bailey for her contribution to the arts in our community. We cannot think of a more deserving person. Her impressive talents for acting, writing and music are apparent in all facets of her life.
n her work as an early-childhood educator, she uses storytelling and puppet characters to capture the imaginations of her students. In her community involvement, Colleen is best known for her work with the Peak Theatre Players over the past 20 years, both as an exceptional actress and director.
Over the past several years, she has also inspired many young people to participate in artistic pursuits through the River Valley Drama Club. She and her husband, Brian, write and direct plays, teach stage arts and generally promote artistic appreciation in our community's youth.
In her personal life, Colleen combines her writing and musical talents with her mischievous sense of humour to produce very hilarious personalized songs to honour her family and friends on special occasions.
Colleen is a gracious and multi-talented woman who has a genuine love of her community and the arts. Her joie de vivre and her enthusiasm are contagious. Thank you for honouring her tireless contributions; she is a very special person and we are very fortunate to have her in our community.
Appreciation of Colleen Bailey
Sundre and area is a richer, more vibrant community due to the tireless contributions of Colleen Bailey. It is an honour and a privilege to attempt to tell Colleen how much she is appreciated for her role in promoting the Arts in Sundre.
Peak Theatre Players, Sundre's amateur drama group, started in 1980. Colleen soon became involved and for 21 years has been a driving force in its continuation. Shows are repeatedly sold out with regular patrons not only from Sundre, but also from neighbouring towns, as well as Calgary. Through Colleen's encouragement, many local citizens have had the opportunity to "walk the boards," and most of us get hooked.
Recognizing the need to encourage youth in drama, Colleen, with her husband Brian, started the River Valley Drama Club for students in Grades 6 - 8 in 1999. These students are taught Theatre Arts and how to audition for performances, which gives them confidence to continue to be involved in the Sundre High School drama productions.
The dream of a performing arts centre in Sundre became a reality with Colleen's support. Brian Bailey, along with Steve Wendelboe, took two years out of their lives to volunteer to build the Arts Development Centre. The sacrifices the Bailey family and the Wendelboe/Rowntree family made were enormous and unspoken. Colleen supported her family financially, and in every other way, while Brian completed this project. Not only is the Arts Development Centre something the entire community enjoys, but it also has helped promote our community throughout Alberta as one which values the arts. Colleen beams with pride every time she sets foot in this wonderful facility.
Colleen remains continually enthusiastic about the opportunities in this community for the other arts of music, dance, and art. Where some see living in a small town a disadvantage because not everything that exists in the city can be offered, Colleen embraces what is available and throws her support behind projects whenever she ran. She has never felt her daughter Megan has lacked opportunity, but on the contrary has been offered amazing experiences such as Strings & Keys, a summer music camp in Bergen.
As an early childhood/Grade 1 educator, Colleen has taught in Sundre for 22 years. Her colleagues and students have nothing but high regard for her professional skills and caring qualities. Says one of her co-workers, Joanne Lenz, "She always sees the best in every student and encourages them in their own unique way. She is just a born teacher."
I'd like to include comments from former students:
"Mrs. Bailey was such a fun-loving teacher; she made everything exciting with the use of puppets and her positive energy. I loved having her as my teacher." - Alexa Ivanchuk.
"Mrs. Bailey was an all-round awesome teacher. She basically made learning fun. Mrs. Bailey is kind, pretty and funny." - Paula Ivanchuk,
Colleen's inspiring, encouraging ways have certainly affected many people in this community. The talents she possesses, her positive outlook, her love of comedy and gift of laughter make Sundre a better place for all of us.