It wasn’t something 9-year-old Waaseyaa Couchie was pursuing, but being an actor is something she is really enjoying. Waaseyaa will be featured in a new musical children’s show, Ukulele U, beginning in the winter of 2022. The show is intended to encourage viewers at home to sing, move, and learn along with the cast of diverse kids known as the UKE TROUPE. Waaseyaa’s father, Clint Couchie of Nipissing First Nation, and mother Trina McGahey of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, were both surprised when they were contacted about the opportunity, and very proud of their daughter for the role she has undertaken.
Clint Couchie is a stand-up comic himself, as well as a producer of live performance. When he lived at NFN he worked for the Fisheries Department while also organizing comedy festivals in North Bay, and performing. The family now lives in London, Ontario, where Clint says there is a very active comedy scene. Being the father of a young actor, unexpectedly, is not only exciting, but also challenging. “She’s the youngest kid on the show,” he says. “My older kid danced for a lot of years. Somebody who knew us through our oldest… knew Waaseyaa had done really well [at the Kiwanis Festival]. She plays piano and can sing, and she also writes her own music. There’s a lady in London who coaches her, and Waaseyaa can really sing!”
Clint and Trina got a call from the producer of the show who wanted to talk about Waaseyaa’s talents and view her TikTok performances. “She’s definitely a performer, a funny little kid. They said they wanted her. We had to get it organized. At first, we didn’t have an agent, but we have one now who is pretty hard core. It’s for her protection.” Clint notes that being the parents of a child actor who is making a good income requires understanding the legalities around working children, the hours, building a trust fund and protecting her interests. It’s been an education for the whole family. But he’s thrilled for his daughter, and really impressed with the production she’s involved in. “The last two weeks of July we had to go to a couple of studio sessions in Toronto – she sang all the songs for the show … so when she showed up in August in Hamilton, her songs were already recorded, and it was just doing the scenes and the group work.” Clint says that they got a whole bunch of great pictures but they are embargoed and can’t be shared until the production is aired.