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Kait and Colin talk to the Citizen about Young Company

By Constance Scrafield

The big news is that Young Company is back in August: to do Clue! After all the cancellations of last year, it is wonderful news that Young Company will be able to rehearse in the rehearsal hall and perform their much-loved comedy at a venue yet to be announced. Meanwhile, other theatre programs for the summer are also in the plans.

“First of all, there are two youth programs,” said Kait Gallant, newly hired to Theatre Orangeville's staff as program coordinator.

She told the Citizen, “They are camps for younger people, grades 2 to 6. The dates are from July 5 to 9 and July 26 to 30, on Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.”
As in the past, these camps are centred on theatrical games and imagination, leading to exciting theatre skills. Tremendous fun for youngsters that also stirs a love for the theatre in their hearts.

From July 12 to 13, for Young Company participants, coming from grades 7 to 12, Colin Simmons is leading the way this year with, “We do have the Musical Theatre Intensive. While Covid restricts singing a show, for that program I am creating and running, we'll be looking in depth at the structure of musical scenes which are written differently from drama scenes or anything that is not a musical.

“Musicals have very specific scenes,” he explained. “I'm really looking forward to it; it will be a deep dive into the musical. This will be focussing on the craft of musical theatre.”

Not a production focussed course, as Covid-19 protocol has prohibited live singing, the dates for the week's Music Intensive are July 12 -23, Monday through Friday.

How he put it: “I can't take credit for [the idea] Sharon [Ayliffe, General Manager] and David [Nairn, Artistic Director] approached me about teaching a musical theatre intensive. So, I thought back to my younger years and thought what I would have loved to learn, which was how to transition from speech to song to dance. In my opinion, it is the hallmark of a great production: the scene is energized and swept up into the song. When it's done really well it has an energy that is fantastic.”

For his personal favourite, Colin named Once Upon this Island, which he saw in New York. “That's a musical where every scene just crazed to move into song,” was his critique. “That's probably the best.”

The music theatre intensive will be looking at moments in a movie as examples, “whatever I can get my hands on. But,” he was sure, “not La La Land. That was the worst, my least favourite.

“We have 10 days to make this happen. Everyone will be masked. If we can take it outside, we will. Otherwise, there'll be plastic barriers and we can only take 12 participants.”

Even though that does not sound like many and it certainly is fewer than in easier times, Kait Gallant wanted everyone to know, “There are still spots. The way to register is on scroll through 'Youth Programs,' then 'Young Company' and they'll be able to find 'The musical theatre intensive'- ages grade 7 to 12.” 

“There will be some kind of showcase for the participants and their families at the end.

“The bulk of the program is on our feet, acting exercises; there's an experiential aspect to it,” Colin elaborated.

“Follows, Young Company [drama/comedy] in its usual timing of the whole month of August: from August 3 to 29. Colin confirmed that the production is a comedy, saying, “... and we're really looking forward to it. We haven't confirmed a venue yet, but definitely not in the theatre.”

He remarked, “For the Young Company, the production is the focus.”

As to how and where, “That's not confirmed but it's certainly keeping our creative juices going,” he said.

Like other Young Company productions, this feels basically back to normal; superficially, it is unlike any other but in the core, it's just like others. The protocols make the difference. Precisely like the Theatre Intensive, with masks, distance and going outside. In the Rehearsal Hall, there is increased ventilation and plexiglass “walls”. Theatre Orangeville has a dedicated Covid team keeping up with the latest information coming from the government. This should be all happening in the rehearsal hall, where, last year, there were no programs.

Auditions, which were originally scheduled for May 25 and 26, have been rescheduled for June 8th -9th via Zoom and can be booked by emailing Kait Gallant directly. Show date information will be available at a later date.

Ms. Gallant's history with Theatre Orangeville goes back to her early days as well. She did a lot with TOYS. In 2010, she says she had the opportunity to be on the main stage in Anne. Studying at York University introduced her to Devised Theatre, a collaborative style of putting a play together.

“My focus was on that type of creation,” she commented. “Any of the participants can write the script or work from a script; there is less or no hierarchy. This means that a sound designer could have a say in the script itself; a performer could have a say in what the show would look like.”

No far from that, Colin Simmons studied Viewpoint as his root in theatre, including some overlap with devised. Viewpoint is a form of theatre hybrid. There are nine “viewpoints” of time and space. It is a way of talking about theatre and a physical practice. 

A familiar figure around Theatre Orangeville since he was very young, Colin is now engaged with Theatre Orangeville as the Graphic Designer and Marketing Assistant, having worked as a “side-bar” on graphic and web design between his theatrical jobs.

“It's been a treat to return to the Theatre Orangeville family in a brand-new capacity. (Even after 17 years of being a part of the Theatre Orangeville family!)” he said.

Reassuringly about the auditions, Ms. Gallant promised, “We will see everyone who registers to audition.”

To book an audition, email

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