Emily Schooley is a Canadian actress born on October 17, 1984 in Calgary, Alberta, on a snowy fall day. At under a year old, she and her mother moved back to Port Colborne, Ontario – her family’s hometown. Growing up on the shores of Lake Erie, Emily wrote and performed plays in her backyard from a very young age. She starred in her first lead role – as the Country Mouse, in a production of Aesop’s Fables – at five years old, and had aspirations of making her own movies.
A straight-A student, Emily attended Port Colborne High School; however, for most of her early school years, she had planned to become a veterinarian. Not to be forgotten, the acting bug re-emerged with a passion at the end of high school and at graduation Emily received the Dramatic Arts award, as well as awards and scholarships recognizing her accomplishments in creative writing and volunteerism.
Emily began her formal acting training in university, attending the University of Windsor’s theatre program. Her first-ever short film, Viktor, a student production by William Yeung won best picture and Emily was nominated for best actress at the school’s film festival. Two years later, life saw Emily relocating to Waterloo, Ontario, where she continued her studies in dramatic arts and graduated with honors in 2007 from UW Drama.
During her years in Waterloo, Emily became involved with KWLT and FASS, two local theatre groups that she still feels strongly connected to. As well, she performed in a benefit run of Top Girls by Caryl Churchill for a local actor with cancer, and for several years’ running as part of “She Speaks”, an annual night of staged readings for International Women’s Day.
After graduation from university Emily began auditioning for film projects and had several starring roles in independent drama, fantasy, sci-fi, and horror productions filmed in Waterloo Region. Some of these early roles, including playing the malicious Spook in The Ticket, are what began to earn Emily a much-deserved reputation as a scream queen.
Not to be boxed in by one genre, Emily’s first notable independent short film role – starring in Orange Girl in 2008 – earned a lot of attention at independent film festivals and gained her international fans when it screened as part of the Portobello Film Festival in the UK. The film won a prestigious two-star award from the Canadian International Film & Video Festival.
In February 2010, Emily made the move to Toronto – and with it came immediate growth for her career. Working with horror screenwriter Ryan M. Andrews, she filmed Black Eve that same month, playing the sweet and quirky Pimp. Among other accolades, the film won the Audience Choice Award at Bare Bones International Film Festival.
Since then, Emily has gone on to star in several other feature horror films, most notably playing the lead role of Ivette in Jeffery J. Timbrell’s upcoming One Week in Windchocombe. Working again with Timbrell, this time in a co-starring as well as directorial capacity, Emily was cast in the featured role of the extremely naughty and sexy Lady in Red, in The Park Enforcer. In recognition of her contributions to the horror genre, Emily was a featured interviewee in A Big Set of Lungs – a documentary about scream queens shot in 2011.
Carrying the strength that comes with being a “final girl”, Emily brings serious acting chops to every role she plays. With the sudden popularity of webseries, she has embraced several choice character offers including The Lady of the Lake in The Making of a King (an adaptation of the Arthur mythos), and the sexy and dangerous Michele in Clutch, which has gained accolades from festivals including the prestigious Marseille Web Fest, Indie Fest, and Indie Intertube Awards.
For Emily, it’s not all about the serious roles, however, or just about film. Among other projects, she plays the lead role in the larger-than-life comedic webseries, My Screaming Neighbours, and she plays the cheerfully violent Slater Bates in the upcoming Confidence Tricks. In April 2010 Emily developed a love for longform improv; she frequently performs improv and stand-up sets at live venues across Toronto. Her improv troupe, Pandora’s Toybox, creates scenes based around readings from her real teenage diary.
After taking a hiatus from theatre shows to focus on film work, Emily re-joined the Toronto theatre scene with a bang in 2012. Cast in The Mission Business’ transmedia project Zed Toronto as Dahlia Joss, resident IT genius/party girl, she quickly became a fan favorite. The narrative story earned five star reviews and the Performance Innovation Award for Toronto Fringe Festival, and later performances during Nuit Blanche and the final show earned rave reviews from theatre professionals and the general public alike.
Outside of performing, Emily is also a passionate activist (actorvist) and creator. She writes for both stage and screen, with a strong focus on producing intelligent and strong female characters. No stranger to controversy, in real life she was wrongfully arrested in early 2012 for standing up for herself by reporting an abusive ex-boyfriend for domestic violence. The way her case was mishandled sparked a passionate need to challenge societal norms and inspired her to produce a documentary about police misconduct. An activist for safety, tolerance and equality, she strongly supports women escaping abusive situations and actively speaks out for LGBTQ rights.
Selected Thriller/Horror Work:
Motives and Murders Season 2, Episode #7 “Sharon Bloom” – Actor – Cineflix / Next Films / Marcus Valentin
One Week in Windchocombe – Lead – Department 7 Films/Dir: Jeffery J. Timbrell
The Ticket – Lead – FBN Multimedia/Dir: C. Edward Stewart
The Park Enforcer – Principal – Department 7 Films/Dir: Jeffery J. Timbrell
Black Eve – Principal – Fusion Films/Dir: Ryan M. Andrews
Stiffs on the Green – Featured – Marrin’s Movies Productions/Dir: Paul Marrin
Inspiration – Featured – Skeleton Key Films/Dir: Jason Armstrong