Actress Tara Yelland connects to audiences using method acting and a sense of humor
Everyone in the film and television industry seem to have a different path as to how they got there, but the end result is always the same. They are people chasing their dreams, and never giving up. Tara Yelland is a versatile actress who knows this well.
Yelland’s path to success is filled with acting achievements. The actress is originally from Montreal, Quebec but grew up in Toronto, Ontario, and her resume displays her versatility. Most recently, she worked opposite Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones) in the upcoming feature film Small Crimes, where she plays a drug-addicted stripper who gets entangled in a dangerous situation. Shortly before this, she worked on CTV’s hit medical drama Saving Hope, where she plays an inept nanny who is always getting into trouble. With two such different roles in such a short period of time, Yelland displays the contrast she can display on screen.
“I’m most proud of the variety in my body of work and getting to play around with different genres,” she said.
Yelland studies method acting with David Rotenberg at the Pro-Actors Lab in Toronto. As a method actor, you would think being presented with this challenge would be difficult, but Yelland says there is a general misconception of what “method” acting really means.
“This doesn’t mean living in character, that’s a popular misunderstanding of the method,” she described. “It simply means doing what needs to be done to make the material very personal to me.”
When asked what got her into acting in the first place, Yelland recalls the first time she knew the presence of an audience and how that felt.
“I sort of stumbled into it. I remember being in my high school drama class and our assignment was to write a monologue and perform it in front of everyone. It was the first time I had ever done anything like that and I was so nervous,” she said. “But, I did it and the class laughed. They were laughing at the jokes I wrote! It was an addictive feeling and I knew that I wanted more. That lead me to pursue theatre work, and from there — film and television.”
Trevor Cornish, a director that has worked with Yelland on a variety of projects, praises her natural comedic abilities.
“Tara is the type of actress you dream about being able to work with as a director. She has great instincts, and a fabulous sense of timing. She comes prepared and focused, and is the epitome of professionalism,” said Cornish. “She has a natural radiance about her that the camera just can’t get enough of. It is strong and confident, while also vulnerable. Performance-wise she has a very natural way about her that makes what she’s doing looks effortless. And her versatility is her ace up her sleeve. She can go from high-end magazine shoot and runway ready, to holding her own in a comedy scene with some of the improv pros all in one day. Tara is high on my list of go-to actresses.”
Prior to finding success working on films and television series (Satisfaction, Dark Matter, Transporter), Yelland got her start got her start in this business with a number of successful commercials. She can be recognized for representing a number of national brands such as Ikea, Ford, Molson, Pepperidge Farms, and many more. For her, it is a completely different type of acting, which is very technical and detail oriented.
“I had the pleasure of working with Tara in a national IKEA ad — she was easy and fun, and her talent truly elevated my performance. Everyone on set loved Tara. I would work with her again in a heartbeat,” said actor Nick Stojanovic. “She has the ability to summon a wide range of emotions with just a single look, as well as commitment to professionalism on set and relentless beauty.”
“Working with Tara was an absolute dream. Her comedic timing was fabulous and she is so glamorous. Working together, we got so many likes on social media and I think it’s because of how well we connected on screen,” said comedian and actor Aisha Alfa. “Tara is hardworking, beautiful, talented and professional. I have worked with other actors on set who are hard to deal with and selfish, Tara is a great partner on set! She makes the scene fun and funny.”
Yelland says the lack of certainty and never knowing what’s coming next can be a challenge in her chosen career path, but it is something she finds exciting as well. However, she has a lot to look forward to in the future, and can be certain of that.
“My goal is to continue to work on projects that challenge me to take risks and do different things, but I also want to spend more time creating my own work,” she said.
She is currently in pre-production on the first feature film she has written titled All This Is That. The film follows a woman who is struggling to move on and start over after moving cross-country for a doomed relationship. She also plans on making a return to theatre. In Spring 2017, Yelland will be in an upcoming production of Wendy Wasserstein’s Uncommon Women. The play traces the choices and frustrations of a group of young women attending an exclusive women’s college in the early 1970s, a time of social change in which the traditional family expectations for young women were giving way to new possibilities.
“In our regular lives, we don’t get to live fully, but with acting, everything is heightened. It’s a rush. Getting to inhabit so many different types of people, to combine my life experiences with imagined experiences is a lot of fun.”
“It makes me feel alive,” she concluded.