Mimi Sagadin is a Chicago actress who studied improv at Players Workshop of the Second City. She co-founded the improv troup Mission IMROVable and performed for coffee houses, youth camps, and corporate events throughout Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin for eight years. Her film credits include The Dilemma, Side Effects, and Return to the Hiding Place.
When did you first know you wanted to be an actress?
I think it was first grade….because my favorite subject was “Show and Tell!” Seriously though, it was something that tugged at my heart since I was a child. But, I never thought it was something I could truly pursue. I believed it was only for others and not me. So, it wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s that my best friend Maggie Malone and I decided to attend the Players Workshop of the Second City to learn improv. I met Maggie a few years earlier working at a Christian coffeehouse called Nightlight. I was watching from behind the scenes as a hostess, secretly wishing I could perform. Maggie was one of the actresses there and said, “…of course you can be an actor!” That was the very first time I ever heard those words. She is my best friend and sister in the Lord to this day!
What was it like studying improv at The Players Workshop of the Second City?
It was a wonderful year long program that ended with a graduation show on the main stage of Second City. Initially, we were worried about the use of profanity and dark humor in the class, but God gave us a wonderful teacher who said she wouldn’t go for that type of humor. That alone was confirmation to Maggie and I that He wanted us in this particular program. During that year, we had some nice opportunities to share our faith. One actor eagerly accepted the Lord and is walking with Him to this day, and so is another actress!
Tell us about Mission IMPROVable.
Mission IMPROVable was birthed right after The Players Workshop. Through an amazing series of God events, Maggie and I met a Christian actor who was looking to start an improv troupe. The three of us and another actor from my church founded the troupe. We did “clean comedy sketches and improv” and performed for coffee houses, youth camps, and corporate events throughout Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin for eight years. We also performed at the annual Karitos Christian Arts and Worship Conference (www.karitos.com). I was their film and drama department head for ten years, and continue to teach film acting workshops there. Karitos was very instrumental in my call as an actress and gave me the vision to “reclaim the arts for Jesus Christ.”
So which came first, the Provision Theater’s production of The Hiding Place or the film Return to the Hiding Place?
Provision Theater’s stage play came first. I portrayed a prisoner in the Ravensbruck concentration camp where Corrie and Betsie ten Boom were held prisoners, too. It was an incredible experience for me…..delving into such a powerful and moving story, working with an extremely talented director and actors, learning the Dutch accent, etc. We even had the blessing of having John and Elizabeth Sherrill, co-authors of the book The Hiding Place, in attendance opening night.
How does Return to the Hiding Place compare with the original movie?
Return to the Hiding Place prequels the original movie, but from a teenagers point of view this time. The book was written by Hans Poley, a young Dutch student and resistor…. and the first person to be hidden in the Ten Boom home. See plot outline below:
When resistance fighter Piet Hartog witnesses atrocities toward the Jews, he is drawn by his beautiful love Aty and her Aunt Corrie into the web of espionage and clandestine activities in the Hiding Place, where he joins brilliant young physics student and resistance journalist, Hans Poley, embarking on a nonstop, action-packed hunt through underground tunnels, Gestapo hijacks, daring rescues, codes in windswept old windmills, and stunning miracles in one of history’s most famous dramas. Piet, Hans, and their friends navigate a deadly labyrinth of challenges to rescue God’s people in their modern-day panicked exodus from death. Climaxing in the true, breath-taking rescue of an entire orphanage of Jewish children marked for mass execution by Hitler’s assassins, audiences will both cheer and weep at this exciting, sobering tale.
What other movies have you been in?
I’ve worked on many independent and short films as well as big budget features films like: The Dilemma with Vince Vaughn. I was cast as his secretary……but ended up on the cutting room floor! Although, I did get to work with director Ron Howard who was very kind and generous; Side Effects as Katherine Heigl’s co-worker (pre-Grey’s Anatomy); and Stranger Than Fiction as Emma Thompson’s stand-in, with Will Ferrell and Dustin Hoffman.
What has been your most challenging or enjoyable role to date?
Without a doubt portraying Corrie ten Boom has been the most challenging and the most rewarding. It was a project that blended my love for the Lord, my love for character development, and my vision to use film as a way to positively influence our culture. The role was a complete an unexpected gift from God that came from my involvement in the play, The Hiding Place. Actress Suzy Brack who plays Nollie ten Boom in the movie, was also in the play with me. She learned of the Spencer’s casting notice and passed the information to the actors in the play. Many of the those actors actually auditioned and got cast in the film (the two projects just months apart from each other). And praise the Lord, I was chosen to portray Corrie!! I am still in awe that God chose me, and so grateful to the Spencer’s for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime role! And on top of all this, I got to work opposite John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones). Truly a dream come true!
Any upcoming projects?
I just completed filming a regional commercial and have a national commercial currently running. This year has been busy with numerous festivals and conferences screening Return to the Hiding Place. In February, I had the opportunity to attend the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. Stephen Kendricks (Courageous, Fireproof) was one of the judges and presented the Spencers with the Best Feature Film, Audience Choice and runner-up for Best of Festival Awards. I also had the opportunity to attend the LifeFest Film Festival in LA where the film also won Best Feature, Audience Choice and Directors Choice Awards.
I’m looking forward to future film opportunities that will impact our culture for Jesus Christ!
Thank you for this interview, Sharon. May God bless your ministry and film!
To contact Mimi: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Return to the Hiding place awarded the Dove Seal of Approvalove Foundation Seal of Approval http://www.dove.org/reviewmasterframe.asp