Peter A Allard School of Law

Allard Law students and alumni set to take the stage for The Lawyer Show

Allard Law

Allard Law

Jun 18, 2024

Into the Woods poster

Tomorrow, lawyers from across Vancouver are taking the stage for The Lawyer Show.

Allard Law alum and litigator Mandana Namazi has been performing, singing and directing since high school and has been performing with the Lawyer Show for nearly 10 years. Mandana and many other multi-talented Allard Law students and alumni will be performing Into the Woods an epic fairytale.

James Blackwood, an Allard Law student and a self-taught pianist and singer, joins Mandana tomorrow on stage for his second Lawyer Show, following his debut performance in Mamma Mia as a 1L student. 

Mandana and James took the time to discuss the upcoming show and explore the intriguing intersection between law and the arts. 

How did you balance the demanding nature of your legal education and career with the time commitment required for rehearsals and performances?

James Blackwood (JB): I'm a firm believer that relaxation doesn’t help with stress, but fun does. I like having something forced and scheduled that makes me social and allows me to have fun outside the law. It helps me recharge a lot more than if I didn’t have an outlet like that.

Mandana Namazi

Mandana Namazi (MN): It's not easy, but thankfully I have a really supportive husband and kids who make it work by taking on responsibilities at home when my life gets hectic. I just have to be really disciplined with my time. For me, theatre is almost like therapy. It's a place where I can go to alleviate stress and get to play.  

What character are you playing? And what character traits do you share with them? 

MN: I'm playing the Baker’s Wife. The character’s actions are driven by her desire for children. I really connected to how much love the character has for her child. One of the gifts of having children and being a performer is that it completely changes how you connect with a character and perceive things in a very rich, deep way.  

JB: I play Rapunzel’s prince. He's the comedic relief in the play. I don’t think I have the ability to be a serious and emotional actor, but I can definitely play funny characters, so the role is perfect for me! 

What's been the biggest challenge in portraying your character, and how have you overcome it?

MN: Stephen Sondheim’s musicals are wonderful but very difficult. This musical is almost like an opera, the music itself is incredibly challenging. That said, we really have so many skilled singers and musicians in the cast this year. I'm very excited to have all the pieces come together. 

Have you found any skills from your legal training that are useful in performing on stage? Conversely, are there any skills you’ve developed through this experience that have benefitted your legal practice or your legal education?

James Blackwood

JB: Honestly, the mantra “fake it till you make it” comes to mind. The show has allowed me to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I'm the only non-theatre person in the show and so I have to constantly remind myself that “I can do this.” Beyond that, I couldn't have imagined a better networking opportunity for students. The informal environment breaks down barriers, making it incredibly valuable for building connections in a comfortable and natural way. 

MN: Touchstone Theatre offers a training course for lawyers from a performer's perspective that provides them with the skills necessary to improve their advocacy skills. So, there is definitely a connection there. As a litigator, I have been in many trials that require me to speak openly in front of people. This has helped me build my confidence to perform on stage. 

What advice would you give law students and lawyers who want to participate in the Lawyer Show or other creative community initiatives? 

JB: I could not have imagined what law school would be like without some of these creative community initiatives. There are so many opportunities available, such as the Battle of the Bands and the Beguiled Debates. I definitely encourage law students to get involved or, at the very least, attend these events. 

What's your most memorable moment from rehearsals? 

JB: I don't think I have ever gone to a rehearsal and not left laughing in tears. However, a couple of weeks ago, we did a stumble-through of Act 2, and that was an amazing moment. Seeing the amount of talent we have got me really excited for the show. 

MN: We have an actor playing Milky White, the cow, who is usually a prop. It's been fun working with a live actor instead of a prop cow. 

Into the Woods runs from June 19 through June 22 at the BMO Theatre Centre. Get your tickets today


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Allard Law

The Peter A. Allard School of Law is recognized as one of the leading law schools in Canada, and has a reputation worldwide for innovative research, inspiring teachers, and outstanding graduates.

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