Alison Louder. Photo by Tristan Brand
Alison Louder has made the Top 5 Best Actress list in the Best of MTL readers poll (both in Cult MTL and at the late, lamented Mirror) as long as I can remember — even in years where the work she did didn’t necessarily put her in the public spotlight.
That’s changed in the last few years as she has had back-to-back recurring roles on a couple of cult television shows on the SyFy channel (Space here in Canada). Louder played Emily, the sister of Being Human’s lead werewolf, Josh, on the show that ended after four seasons in 2014. She followed that up with the role of the villainous Sister Amy on the second season of Helix, another SyFy show produced by Montreal production company Muse. (At the time of our interview, Helix’s future was still up in the air — while a critical and cult success, its ratings plummeted in season two, and the plug was pulled on April 29.)
The relative success of Helix has seen Louder becoming way more active on social media, raising her international profile considerably. Sci-fi shows tend to breed rabid fan bases, and the plum role of Sister Amy has made her a fan favourite.
“SyFy is an amazing network and the fans that watch it are so into it,” says Louder. “I was not on Twitter during the whole time that I was on Being Human and it took me a long time to get warmed up to it, just because I saw female colleagues of mine get weird stuff on there. What I realized is that it’s really worth it to interact with the fanbase while the show is on, because they really appreciate that.”
Louder is also a rare specimen of Montrealer: a native Mile Ender who still lives in the neighbourhood where she grew up. “I basically grew up with Dustys as my backyard,” she says. “I still miss those cheap breakfasts from back in the day.”
These days, however, Louder splits her time between Toronto and Montreal. “2014 was a really interesting year for that,” she says. “It kind of started off as an experiment, just to be there for pilot season. That went well, so I stuck around for a little bit. When I booked Helix, it actually brought me back (to Toronto) to work.” (Helix was shot in Oka — and, for the curious, our interview was conducted before the Great Baruchel Ruffling of Feathers of 2015, so I did not get the chance to feel out what she thinks of the whole deal.)
She’s still a member of the board of directors at MainLine Theatre and returns frequently for auditions and shoots. “I’m super proud of Mainline,” she says. “It’s going to be the 25th anniversary of Fringe this year, and MainLine is celebrating its 10th. It’s a big year for both the festival and the venue.”
If you want to get your fill of Alison Louder these days, though, your best bet is to check out one of her improv shows at Toronto’s Bad Dog Theatre… but with the way things are going, the trips up and down the 401 aren’t likely to stop.
“No matter what else happens,” she says about her presence on the Best of MTL, “to know that my hometown, my peers and people that I don’t even know here are rooting for me and are proud of me… it’s like permission to go forward and not let them down… I always get such a stupid grin on my face when I think about it!”
Alison Louder’s Best of MTL picks
Best Actor and Actress: “I would give Best Actor to Tristan D. Lalla. He’s so amazing; we basically grew up together, and he’s leaps and bounds ahead of what even the people here know and recognize him to be able to be. (…) I wouldn’t be here talking to you if it wasn’t for Tristan. And I would have to say the same thing about Catherine Bérubé, for the same reasons. We were all in the same class together, so I’m going to give them a big Dome Theatre shout-out.”
Best Photographer [Ed.’s note: This is not actually a Best of MTL category, but we’ll add it next year.]: “We really have an amazing abundance of great photographers in Montreal: Jeremy Bobrow, Tristan Brand, Richmond Lam… Susan Moss, I love Susan.”
Best New Restaurant: “I want to give a shout-out to my friend’s deli that just opened in St-Henri, Deli Sokołów. It’s lovely — they have an old-school arcade machine in the back, it’s so charming! I have celiac disease, and they make a gluten-free, vegan frites sauce — they have a dedicated fryer for people with gluten problems, so I just had my first frites sauce in years!”
Best Living Author / playwright: “It’s a tie between Heather O’Neill and David Fennario — although he probably wouldn’t want to be anywhere, on any list!”
- Best Coffee: “I have a few — can I give you my Top 5? In no particular order: Club Social, Arts Café, Résonance… used to be Dustys (RIP)… and Cagibi, which used to be Esperanza.” ■