The viewpoint of a hat maker


Jacob Summerville

Diana Canatella, a senior family and consumer sciences major, poses wearing garbs of her most recent role as Alice Stedson, a hat maker. She enjoyed the last decade of acting in the Renaissance Festival.

Jacob Summerville, Staff Reporter

Celebrating the atmosphere of the Renaissance culture, Diana Canatella, a senior family and consumer sciences major, has been an actress at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival for the past 10 years.

Canatella’s journey started in 2007 in Hammond when she attended her first Renaissance Festival.

“It wasn’t until I went there, just out of the blue, that I fell in love with the place,” said Canatella. “I watched the performances, and they had the people in the lanes playing, actually playing. Think of it: adults that play games. Yeah, I wanted to be a part of that.”

The next year, Canatella joined the festival as an apothecary by the name of Jane Eggard. During her time, she has also played as a pirate and currently acts as Alice Stedson, a hat maker who wanders the streets of Albright.

One of Canatella’s roles is being a backup demonstrator.

Canatella explained, “If somebody needs to have a break for whatever reason, I will take over their demonstration whether it be the dyeing demonstration where we dye fabrics or the butter-churning demonstration where we churn butter.”

If attendees search for Canatella at the Renaissance Festival, they may get her confused with a couple other actresses.

“I’m one of three that look alike,” said Canatella. “Her majesty always gets us confused. We never knew each other before the Renaissance fair. However, if you see a picture of the three of us together in our garb, all three of us will look alike. We’ve been known to present ourselves to the queen as one another just to have some fun with her, and when she finds us out, guess who’s in the stocks?”

Canatella shared that preparation for the festival starts in March with monthly meetings up until November. At these meetings, cast members learn about the characters’ backgrounds, improvisational acting, the games that are a part of the festival, and the Renaissance dances.

Since she is not a specific character from history, Canatella does not need information beyond a general background of the time period and on her character’s profession. Actors who play more specific roles need more knowledge on their character.

“Some of our cast members are playing historical characters, real people from history, and need to know the full background of those characters and their personal history,” Canatella shared. “Most of the general history is taught at our workshops throughout the year.”

Canatella explained that the Renaissance Festival is an “interactive theatre experience” that has something for everybody.

“If you’re a history buff, you can learn a lot about what went on back in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, which she is our reigning monarch,” said Canatella. “She’s there doing knighting ceremonies. You can do some shopping. There’s always things to look at if you don’t have the money to buy it. The shows, juggling acts, interactive to the point where if you heckle them, they’ll heckle you back, and it’s always fun.”

Canatella shared that she turned her love of the festival into a lifelong commitment.

“RenFest will always be a part of my life,” said Canatella. “I’m never going to break away from that. I’ve never seen myself away from it.”

The Louisiana Renaissance Festival will take place every weekend until Dec. 9 as well as Friday, Nov. 23. For more information about the festival, visit