Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Danny, King of the Basement, at MTYP

Guest post by : Greg Klassen

Good day. I’m the new marketing manager at Manitoba Theatre for Young People. Some of you may know me already. I’ve worked at the RWB, PTE and Manitoba Museum, over the past 30 years. But I’ve never worked in children’s theatre before.

I am truly excited to be at MTYP. Nearly every weekday, six hundred kids bound through our doors on their way to experience the magic of live theatre. Many for the first time. They hold nothing back. They are the most honest audience I have ever witnessed. They laugh loud when the situation onstage is funny and fidget when they’re bored. And sometimes, during a serious scene, they are alarmingly silent. I’m sure even their parents would be amazed.

The live performing arts are more important than they have ever been. With so much of our time spent behind screens these days, interaction with live performers is almost shockingly novel in today’s world. As is the experience of being in room with peers, phones turned off, all listening to each other react in real time.

I remember my first live performance. I was a student at Carman Collegiate and Contemporary Dancers came to perform. I was mesmerized by the movement and the costumes and the otherworldly place this experience took me to. I fell hard and wanted more!

Live art is an excellent way to start conversations about topics that are difficult to address in real life. MTYP’s first play of its new season is a great example. Danny, King of the Basement, is a warm, funny play, that opens the door to empathy toward those less fortunate. Far from being a bleak play about homelessness and poverty, Danny illustrates that the imagination can be wonderful tool to open new realities for children.

Every day MTYP plants the seeds of curiosity and wonder in our young audiences. I look forward to discovering more about how MTYP works behind the scenes and to being at the Forks every day. Hopefully I’ll run into you and you can tell me your stories about what the performing arts mean to you. And by all means, come and check us out.

See you soon,
- Greg