Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company back with Les Miserables, Peter Pan

July 20, 2017   ·   0 Comments

THEATRE ORANGEVILLE’S YOUNG COMPANY returns for another year this summer, This year the group will be challenged to appear in both a musical and a drama on stage, with performances of Les Miserables and Peter Pan penciled in over the coming weeks.

By Constance Scrafield

To every intent and purpose, Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company productions during the summer season are professionally produced. The difference is that the actors are students of the theatre while they are engaged with the company for July and/or August. One month is given over to preparing and rehearsing for each of the shows: a musical and a drama: this year, on stage, Les Miserables and Peter Pan.

There’s such excitement for the cast to be performing ‘Les Mis’ in July. The last time Young Company did this show was in 2003. Artistic Director David Nairn has been wanting to bring it back for some time.

Said Sharyn Ayliffe, the theatre’s Programs Manager, “It [Les Mis] has been on the academy’s radar for about three years but the rights have been tied up for a long time  – they were not releasing the rights until recently. I was watching it [closely] and as soon as it was possible, we went after it.”

With Les Mis, the royalties are based on a number of factors, including what company is doing the show, and whether it’s educational or professional.

“They have some magical formula,” Ms. Ayliffe remarked. “We have to rent the script – it’s a big show, 28 cast members.”  The current and 2003 versions are “the biggest Young Company has run.”

The creative team for Les Mis is the largest too. As Ms. Ayliffe put it, “Lots of cooks in the kitchen – the kids are really lucky to have such a talented professional production team for this.”

Theatre Orangeville’s Production Manager, Beckie Morris, is the designer for the show and, with such a team, the set will no doubt blow us all away. As she was not with the theatre in 2003, this will be a whole new show for her.

“There’s no shortage of people involved,” Ms. Ayliffe commented. “This show’s massive.”

In the leadership roles for the performers are Pam Demetriou as Director, with Dan Reale as Assistant Director; Joy Bell is Music Director. The Vocal Director is Mark DuBois, who also worked with the 2003 production. New to the scene is pianist Nicolas Mustapha as accompanist for the performances.

The month of August is given over to preparing and performing Peter Pan. Big news for this show – it will be the first Young Company production on the new stage at Island Lake.

Primarily, this presents some really interesting challenges to Beckie Morris – will she make Peter Pan fly? The answer is very likely “yes” but we will all have to go and see how – or rather, see that she has managed and wonder how.

Dan Reale will have his first chance to take the reins as Director for this show and David Nairn, his long-time mentor, will back him as Assistant Director.

With a fairly large cast at 21 members, plus the special aspects of the story – Peter Pan himself and Hook – with the stage fighting and the flying on the Island Lake, the creative and performing teams have their work cut out for them.

Ms. Ayliffe said of the stage there, “The dome over the stage is structural so there are opportunities available – there is the possibility of ‘using air’.”

She added: “We want everybody to come.”

For many reasons, primary of which is to have fun, the youngsters of the community are welcomed to have their time in the theatre arts too. There are two one-week camps for the children.

The first of these, open to young people ages four to six, ran from July 10 to 14, offering half and full days was called “Bippidy – Boppidy … Where are we?” This was a week of imaginary travel with a different theme every day, using magic wands, wonderful stories, dramatic play and games, crafts, dress -up and lots more.

This second week, designed for youngsters aged seven to 10, is an all-day camp, with before and after care available. It is titled, “If Kids Ruled the World.” Just imagine!

The possibilities are “endless,” in a week of exploring how things would be if kids “were in charge.” Let their imaginations find inspiration from various stories and watch the ideas that come.

The camp builds on drama skills through activities, skits and games. At the end of this week, they put on a fun presentation for the parents.

Jane Lanktree, as director of the camps, has been running these programs for years and is wonderful with the children. She is assisted by several youth leaders to keep the ratio small.

For information on tickets to the shows of Young Company or to inquire about the camps, contact


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