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'Don't give up': Maritime actress still on the silver screen at 86-years-old

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Known to many as the heartbeat of the Maritime film industry, 86-year-old Alvena Poole, also known as "Mama Alvena," is still making appearances on the silver screen.

“You can’t get a bigger compliment than to say to somebody you were very believable,” Alvena told CTV Atlantic's Katie Kelly in an interview Monday.

“As long as I can hear the cue, because you know, my hearing is not that great.”

In fact, the Nova Scotian performer has been busy on set for a new film.

“I am working on ‘Dancing on the Elephant,’” she said.

Alvena has been in the industry for decades and she says, in that time, she’s run into some great people.

“There’s people that I’ve met on set that have been here years and years, not necessarily in the '80s but it’s fun to work with them,” said Alvena.

Alvena is pictured in an interview with CTV's Katie Kelly on March 4, 2024. (CTV/Katie Kelly)

In 1991, she landed a role on "Street Cents," which also featured East Coast actor and director, Jonathan Torrens, who’s worked with her on many projects since.

“Alvena’s like Nova Scotia’s very own Prince, or Cher, or Madonna. A one-named entertainer that, at the very mention of the work ‘Alvena’ and you can’t help but just smile,” said Torrens in an interview with CTV.

Alvena and Jonathan Torrens are seen together in a photo.

Alvena has appeared in everything ranging from the "Trailer Park Boys" to government ads.

Most recently, she’s been playing the role of "Phyllis" in an upcoming feature film.

“Don’t give up, anybody my age, yeah, keep going,” she said.

When you ask her fellow actors, they often describe Alvena as the bright spot on any set, always professional, but also bringing laughs along the way.

“The film industry here is a film community and it has a lot of different limbs and important appendages, but Alvena is its heart,” added Torrens.

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