Fi­nal cur­tain call ahead for Y Stage

Se­ries’ artis­tic pro­ducer takes a look back at happy his­tory

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - Aaron Chatha Metro | Cal­gary BY the nuM­Bers

Ver­tigo Y Stage artis­tic pro­ducer Nathan Pronyshyn has a smile more in­fec­tious than any of the kids who see his shows.

It’s that un­bri­dled pas­sion that’s made him so suc­cess­ful run­ning the youth-tar­geted theatre se­ries for nearly 10 years.

But it’s heart­break­ing to hear a man like him talk about the end of the Y Stage se­ries, which will shut down af­ter one more pro­duc­tion later this month.

“I broke into tears on our last open­ing night,” he said. “I had fam­ily come — the daugh­ter, she’s a teenager, has been com­ing to the se­ries since she was five years old. They haven’t missed a show. What a cool thing.”

While Ver­tigo is known for its mys­tery se­ries, the com­pany launched the Y Stage in 2003. Pronyshyn took over in 2007.

In Novem­ber of last year, he an­nounced he would be de­part­ing the Y Stage, and just a few months into the New Year, he was told the Y Stage would not con­tinue with­out him.

“As the com­pany has evolved, the need to fo­cus our re­sources on ar­eas that align most di­rectly with our artis­tic vi­sion make it nec­es­sary to re­struc­ture our pro­gram­ming in or­der to cre­ate the great­est op­por­tu­ni­ties for suc­cess,” said artis­tic direc­tor Craig Hall.

Pronyshyn said it’s be­com­ing harder to pro­gram for youth. Artist fees are go­ing up, but the­atres must bal­ance pay­ing qual­ity artists with be­ing af­ford­able to young au­di­ences. Defin­ing Mo­Ments

Over his ten­ure, one of the big­gest mo­ments for Pronyshyn was the pro­duc­tion of n00b. It was the first orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion by Y Stage, a video-gamed-themed play writ­ten by Cal­gary scribe Christo­pher Duthie.

“I just knew there was some­thing in it,” he ex­claimed. “We mined it, de­vel­oped a men­tor­ship for it, I brought on Bob White back when he was in Cal­gary, and Terry Gillis, and we made this play hap­pen. Then it ended up blow­ing up; it sold out here and two sea­sons later it ended up tour­ing na­tion­ally. That was a spe­cial time for me.”

Other high­lights in­clude bring­ing a cir­cus to town with Theatre Junc­tion and Fluid Fes­ti­val and bring­ing down a sim­ple, beau­ti­ful show for very young au­di­ences. There was also this sea­son’s part­ner­ship with the Eat­ing Dis­or­der Sup­port Net­work of Al­berta to do Mess, a show about anorexia. Alvin sput­nik

The Ad­ven­tures of Alvin Sput­nik: Deep Sea Ex­plorer will be the fi­nal pro­duc­tion by the Y Stage.

It’s a tiny tale about a soli­tary ex­plorer with a heart as big as a whale. The story fuses an­i­ma­tion, pup­petry and live mu­sic as Sput­nik searches for his lost love in the ocean.

Pronyshyn worked for three years to bring the show up from Aus­tralia.

“I saw the show, and I balled like a baby, and I’ve been try­ing to find a way to get it to Cal­gary ever since,” he said. “The fact that it’s fi­nally hap­pen­ing, and as the last show, I think it’s a good farewell.”

AAroN ChAthA/Metro

Cour­teSY BeN­jAMiN LAird

n00b was a stand­out mo­ment — their first orig­i­nal play.

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