For the Gazette
Twenty-year-old Aidan Shipley, who was born and raised in Stratford, was recently in the new Disney XD Canada original movie, Bunks, which premiered this past Sunday, Oct. 27.
He had a starring role as Dan O'Reilly, a 17-year-old camp counsellor. His character is a fun counsellor and pulls all sorts of pranks with the campers.
Along with his on screen brother, Dylan, he accidentally unleashes a curse on Camp Bushwhack. The curse makes every horror story they read out loud true.
The movie is full of action, comedy, and zombies.
On the set, Shipley bonded with co-star Atticus Mitchell, who is close to his age. He also notes he enjoyed working with the kids, whom he says were awesome.
He says his favourite part of filming was when he and Markian Tarasiuk, who plays Brogan in the movie, go face to face and scream insults at each other. They even did some improvisation and came up with some of their own insults.
Bunks is not Shipley's first acting role. He started with the Stratford Festival at the age of eight. There he played the young son in Medea, as well as Prince Arthur in King John a few years later. In King John, Shipley had a larger role with more dialogue.
In Grade 7 and 8 Shipley lived in Ireland, training in hip-hop and breakdance. Afterwards he returned to Stratford for high school at Stratford Central. Throughout high school he traveled to Toronto for auditions with his parents. Often they would rearrange their schedules so he could go.
"My parents have been 100 per cent supportive," he says.
Shipley received several parts in high school, including the films Family's Vacation with Derek and Showcase's Pure Pwnage.
His love of acting and directing flourished at Central. He took drama classes and communications technology. He speaks very highly of his communications technology teacher, Allen Booker, who he says was a big inspiration to him in the directing aspect of his career.
Shipley is currently in his fourth and final year at Ryerson University for directing, while still pursuing acting. He claims part of the reason he chose this school was because he could still act while completing his studies.
Shipley says he couldn't be happier at Ryerson. He's made some great connections and great friends. He is currently living in Toronto and loving it, although he still has good things to say about Stratford.
"It was the best city to grow up in … Great little town."
He still comes back to Stratford for holidays to see his family and friends. He was recently back for Thanksgiving.
While Shipley has been in university he has starred in the film Red Lights in 2012 and has a supporting role in the upcoming film The Captive alongside Ryan Reynolds. He has also acted in the television shows Rookie Blue, What's Up Warthogs!, and Flashpoint.
After university, Shipley plans to continue to follow both acting and directing until he has to make a choice between the two. He also plans to remain living in Toronto where he's close to auditions.
A word of advice from Shipley for anyone who is interested in acting as a career: "It's gotta be something you really want to do; you have to really be into it."
It's also important you have thick skin and be able to handle rejection, he adds.