When a bookstore opened in the basement of the acting school I was attending in Gastown, I went to convince the owner that she needed to hire me. It was Biz Books, a store dedicated to film, television, and theatre books, and the owner was Catherine Lough Haggquist. And now more than a quarter of a century later, we’ve continued to work together on the bookstore, teach together at acting schools, work together on set, and generally plan, dream, and scheme. But most importantly we have formed a sister-like bond of friendship that continues to deepen and grow.
As a proud “sister”, I can tell you that her accomplishments are many and impressive. She has served in multiple capacities on the executive boards of both our provincial and national actors’ unions, she has more than 150 film, television, and theatre credits and has been recognized and awarded numerous times by the industry for her work. She has somehow managed to juggle being a much sought-after acting coach, and business coach, and teaches at many acting institutions all while running her two businesses: BizBooks.net and TheDramaClass.com.
I think the most impressive thing about Cat though, is that she believes that attention must be paid. Attention must be paid to those who are overlooked, unappreciated, or undervalued. And she does – she pays attention and puts her compassion into action.
Check her out on “Motherland: Fort Salem” (now airing season 3) where she plays series regular – General Petra Bellweather. She kicks ass.
Written by Bronwen Smith, actor, teacher and friend of many decades
Which ‘hood are you in?
I live in White Rock which I love. The commute to and from Vancouver gets longer every year but there is an exhale I feel every time I return home. And having a beautiful beachside walk nearby makes it even more delightful when I get to stay in “The Rock”.
What do you do?
I am an actor, entrepreneur and educator.
I began my acting journey in my late teens and then became fascinated by how the industry worked. This led me to get involved in the Union of BC Performers for a number of years and hold various positions on the executive board culminating with my term as Vice-President. This experience informed the decision my husband and I made to launch Biz Books as a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Gastown in 1996. We transitioned Biz Books to its current “Online and On Location” format in 2010 which expanded our customer base internationally.
Launching Biz Books made me very aware of the need for information and educational resources both for myself and others. As I acquired more knowledge and saw the changes it made to my confidence, creativity and professionalism, I felt the call to pass it on and I began teaching. I have taught in a number of programs and currently teach for On The Mic Training, VanArts and InFocus Film School.
In 2020 we took over TheDramaClass.com and now offer online workshops and classes to the same community for whom Biz Books began to provide written materials. Our mission is to “fill in the gaps” with innovative programming designed to assist with specific skill and career development. Examples of the types of topics our online workshops cover are: writing your first MOW, preparing your taxes as an actor, maximizing your costume choices for visual storytelling in auditions, navigating script and story structure for both writers and actors, and auditioning for voice-overs.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on filming a feature film (not allowed to share details yet), promoting season 3 of “Motherland: Fort Salem”, organizing our next BizBooks.net pop-up shop at Railtown Actors Studio, programming our Fall slate of classes and workshops at TheDramaClass.com and doing some admin work in my role of Senior Educational Administrator for On The Mic Training. I love the variety of my work and that it is all focused on working with actors, writers and other creative storytellers.
Where can we find your work?
Currently, you can see my acting work on Tuesday nights on ABC Spark in “Motherland: Fort Salem”, on Netflix in “Another Life” Season 2, and on any channel running Christmas Movie Marathons. You can also check out my IMDb for other viewing options!
And you can find out about what else I am up to by following me on Instagram and Twitter.