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Former participant of Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company program shares experience

March 14, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Kristian Warburton was very happy to talk about Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company and the difference his experience with them made to his life and the lives of other young people he knew in the group.

“I started acting when I was eight years old,” he began, having posed the question, “how do I get on TV?”

With an agent, he was doing commercials at the age of 11 but wanted to do more.

At last, he auditioned for Young Company and got in for the year they produced and performed “Guys and Dolls.”

He told us, “There are workshops and theatre professionals leading them. They treated us like adults.”

The year Young Company produced “Les Mis,” Kristian was 14 years old, an astonishing feat to stage such a show for performers his age and up to 18. 

He said, still so impressed with his memories, “It’s entirely sung, except for a few spoken lines. We put on a remarkable production.” 

Growing up in a rural high school, as a boy interested in the arts, and reading books, Kristian was not embraced. Theatre was considered “girly,” dressing up and pretending to be someone else. Few boys were in theatre arts but if you were a boy, you were welcomed.

“That was great for me because they said, ‘We need you.’”

To finally be good at something, not sports, but in the connection of theatre, was wonderful for him.

“It really is a family,” Kristian said.

Young people sometimes dabble in things that they might end up doing for the rest of their lives, so learning about the arts is so important to the whole of their lives. 

What Young Company brings in such a group of people is a profound experience; to put on the best performance that you can.

“In theatre,” Kristian opined, “the journey is more important than the production. It’s why you keep going – what’s so good about it.”

And he observed that in the workplace you never have that feeling again of a collaborative family. In the workplace, it’s often adversarial. 

For theatre kids especially, it is not to prey on the weak but to help the weak.

He made the point that having Theatre Orangeville in Canada is important. In the Canadian professional industry, there is huge film production but it is rare that Canadians are considered.

Yet, “Theatre Orangeville is the one singling us out.”

Here at home, it provides a safe place for kids to be involved in theatre arts; they are broadly supported. 

“I do not know what my life would be like if I hadn’t had TOV in my life,” he stated simply.

For three years, he was with Young Company. After “Guys and Dolls” and then “Les Mis,” he was part of “The Hobbit.”

The clear importance of a local professional theatre, Young Company does foster the next generation of creatives in this country, an experience that is so important for their confidence; for some people, Kristian is sure, it saves their lives.

Kristian still does theatre classes and stand-up in Toronto, and it remains an important part of his life. The skills that Young Company gave him are also still part of his life, to become a confident professional. His ambition is “to make my living creatively. Right now, I make videos and put them online.”

He summed it up, “There’s lots of opportunity for sports for teens but there is only one theatre program.” 

Currently, Theatre Orangeville is promoting a donations campaign: “I Love My Theatre Orangeville.” Young Company is one of the many important programs that are part of TOV’s mantra. For more details and to participate by donating, go to

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