Celebrating Creativity of Young Minds with Diverse, Ambitious Lineup
Annual event’s powerful youth performances transverse genres and centuries
Arts Umbrella announces its 2016 Theatre and Music Expressions Festival: an annual showcase celebrating the boundless creativity of young talent in the organization’s pre-professional theatre program, running from May 11 to 22, 2016, at Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island. With an expanded festival run of two weeks this year, five wonderfully varied productions highlight the talents of Canada’s next generation of theatre artists, including beloved favourites such as The Drowsy Chaperone and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and student-created originals such as Dangers of a Total War.
To hone their work, student performers have toured the productions in schools across the Lower Mainland, and worked with professional directors and designers. Both innovative and inspiring, the Expressions Festival enables these driven youths to take pride in their accomplishments by sharing their vision and ability with the community.
“We are immeasurably proud of our Expressions Festival lineup, which showcases the talent, versatility, and dedication of almost every student currently training with Arts Umbrella,” explained Paul Moniz de Sá, Artistic Director of the Theatre & Music Program at Arts Umbrella. “As a professional actor whose journey began at Arts Umbrella at sixteen years old, I can vouch for what a milestone this festival is for an emerging artist. It’s a joy to see other young people begin lifelong relationships with art here, as they get a taste of the stage through the Expressions Festival.”
2016 Festival highlights include:
Dangers of a Total War, performed by the Laboratory Theatre Troupe
May 12, 21
A powerful, original creation by the Laboratory Theatre Troupe students, Dangers of a Total War explores the hardships and tribulations of children evacuated from England to Canada during World War Two. Taking inspiration from a letter sent by King George to every child of the United Kingdom, the play demonstrates how war touched everyone in the country – and the long-lasting consequences for even its most innocent citizens.
The Drowsy Chaperone, performed by the Musical Theatre Troupe
May 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22
The charming and multi award-winning The Drowsy Chaperone wryly parodies musical comedies of the 1920s with its “musical within a comedy.” When an antisocial, dedicated theatre fan plays his favourite record, the characters come to life on stage to perform in front of his very eyes. With music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, and book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, the production is a toe-tapping, knee-slapping whirlwind of talent.
Julius Caesar, performed by the Senior Theatre Troupe
May 12, 14, 19, 21, 22
History repeats itself: even the well-documented assassination of Julius Caesar and Rome’s ensuing war feels like an echo of 21st century subterfuge and battle. Arts Umbrella’s Senior Theatre Troupe offers a modern perspective on Shakespeare’s classic, Julius Caesar, with dramatic explorations of political game playing.
Story Stew: A Fairy Tale Revue, performed by the Junior Theatre Troupe
May 14, 19, 22
What if the children of the little old woman who lived in a shoe were actually fairy tale characters, such as Jack, Jill, Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks? Story Stew by Stacey Lane interweaves familiar folk tales on a delightful romp through Enchanted Forest locations, such as the candy house and magic beanstalk. The Junior Theatre Troupe playfully shares a story of heroic adventure with plenty of twists and turns.
Theatre and Music Showcase, performed by Theatre Intensive Program students
May 14 and 15 (various times)
One of the highlights of the season, the Theatre and Music Showcase reveals the honed, dynamic talent of the Theatre Intensive Program students through a kaleidoscope of short musical and theatre performances across a range of genres.
ABOUT ARTS UMBRELLA (artsumbrella.com)
Founded in 1979 by five passionate parents with a belief that art is for everyone, Arts Umbrella is a not-for-profit arts education centre based in Vancouver, B.C. Specialising in providing support and training to young performers from ages 2 to 19, Arts Umbrella’s programming reaches more than 21,500 children and youth every year through 785 classes in four locations. Offerings include free-of-charge outreach programs that bring the arts to socio-economically challenged families.
ABOUT THE ARTS UMBRELLA PRE-PROFESSIONAL PROGRAM
The Arts Umbrella Pre-Professional Program includes four troupes – Junior, Senior, Laboratory and Musical Theatre – and a Young Directors Program, who train for a minimum of six hours per week throughout the year. Students work with industry professionals to develop both on- and off-stage skills, resulting in many alumni working as professional actors around the world.
Arts Umbrella’s Expressions Festival
Wednesday, May 11 to Sunday, May 22, 2016
Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright Street