Blog > Soap Operas to Space Battles! Meet Roark Critchlow, Acting for Film & Television Department Head

Soap Operas to Space Battles! Meet Roark Critchlow, Acting for Film & Television Department Head

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From Soap Operas to Space Battles: Meet Roark Critchlow, Our Accomplished Department Head of our Acting for Film & Television program

With decades of experience in the industry, Roark brings not just a ton of know-how, but also a contagious energy that’s bound to shake things up in all the best ways.  

To get better acquainted, we caught up with Roark recently, and asked him a few questions. Check out what he had to share (along with some great pictures from his career), below: 

Tell us about yourself! 

I attended UVIC for theatre acting from 1983 to 1985, then did 2 years pro theatre.  Vancouver was just opening up as a TV centre, so I worked there for 3 years before heading to LA in 1990. 

I caught a break in ’94 when I was cast on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, playing Dr. Mike for 6 years. I’ve got 112 pro credits to my name and have enjoyed a varied and adventurous career.  

In 2013 I shifted back to Canada, working in Toronto and Vancouver for 5 years before moving to Summerland where I went to high school and where my parents still live.  I have been spending more time with them as they journey towards their sunset.  

The burgeoning Kelowna film industry has been an enjoyable way for me to continue my career as well as doing projects in Vancouver.  

In a career both fulfilling and turbulent I have done theatre, television, print ads, voice-over campaigns, feature films, and a TV commercial.  My partner Maria and I produced 2 internet series, and I have worked on movies in exotic, faraway places like Malta, Bulgaria, Rio de Janeiro, and St. John’s, Newfoundland. I’ve crisscrossed North America from LA to New York and Miami to Dawson City in the Yukon Territories while working with hundreds of actors including three Academy Award winners and legends like Mickey Rooney, Darryl Hannah, James Caan and Angie Dickenson.   

Actor Roark Critchlow on the set of Rio Nights.

What is something you are working on right now? 

This January I worked on the TV show, The Irrational, the feature film Tron: Ares and am currently shooting the Maple Street Trilogy in Kelowna.  

Actor Roark Critchlow as a child.

What are you looking forward to the most in your role at CAT and what do you feel sets CAT apart from others? 

I began teaching and coaching 5 years ago and am enjoying it immensely.  As someone who has had the luck and work ethic to enjoy an extended career I love sharing not only the techniques, skills and tradecraft I have gained but also the personal inspiration and love of storytelling that I think is such an important element in our society.  

I am eagerly anticipating working at the Centre as the Department Head for Acting.  The ethos and atmosphere of the entire institution are geared towards building a caring, creative environment in which to teach and learn. This is reflected in the staff and facilities they have put together for this department.  The resources are top level, and the aim is to not only educate and inspire people but to train and inform them in ways that will allow them to succeed on a professional level.   

The fact that the actors will be working with directors, cinematographers writers, and crews from the film department is awesome. It will give our acting students experience that can only be gained by working on sets with other people.  Along with theatre, movement, voice, and improv components, the film acting classes will help them be as focused, prepared, inspired, and confident as they pursue what is now an attainable vocation.   

Actor Roark Critchlow on the set of Days of Our Lives.

How will our local film and acting industry support our graduates?  

In the last 5 years, the film industry here has grown and evolved in such a way that the production companies are now comfortable hiring local actors for principle roles in their movies. In my 37 years in this business, I have never been in a city that has this kind of potential and opportunity.  I believe that an aspiring actor has a better chance of landing their first role in this town than in any other place on the continent.  I know because I’ve seen it happen.  I’ve helped it to happen.  And I fervently want to do more of that, to give people a fighting chance to pursue what is still a fabulous dream.  To be a movie star.  Ha! 

Actor Roark Critchlow on the set of American Graffiti.

Tell us about a career highlight! 

Walking the Island of Malta and visiting UNESCO Heritage sites of cave temples over 6500 years old. Playing a character on Battlestar Galactica that comes forward in time through a rift in the space/time continuum to give his now-grown daughter one of the keys to humanity’s survival.  Plus, he is a piano player, so I got to play on camera.  

Actor Roark Critchlow.

What top tip would you share for young actors? 

My top tip for actors is to find ways to engage your imagination as you work.  See the scenes in your head as you learn the dialogue.  Play scenarios out in your mind, the other characters, the settings, the dynamics. There’s a lot of value in just playing make-believe.   

Actor Roark Critchlow playing Rasputin in the biopic.

Thank you, Roark, for the inside look at your career and goals for the Centre’s Acting for Film & Television program! We look forward to watching you inspire the next generation of actors and CAT graduates! 

See the bright lights of an acting career in your future? Make sure to check out details on our Acting for Film & Television program page!