A local theatre school is one of the first out of the gate to receive a grant from the province that will allow them to teach online masterclasses in theatre arts that allow the public to tune in for free.
Winnipeg Studio Theatre received a Safe at Home Manitoba grant recently and is preparing to offer 26 online classes starting Jan. 10, 2021, featuring top performing arts professionals from Manitoba who now perform and create for the world stage.
The sessions cover all aspects of theatre arts performance — from acting, singing and dance technique to voiceover, acting for camera, mime and makeup for the stage.
"I’m thrilled that I can support 12 artists, along with a videographer, web design and promotion people with this grant," Winnipeg Studio Theatre co-director Brenda Gorlick said, adding the classes come complete with American sign language interpretation. "As artists, it’s so hard to earn a living during the pandemic. This grant means they’ll be paid their true worth for the workshops."
The roster includes artists Andrea Macasaet, pop vocal diva and newly-minted Broadway star of Six the Musical, Mary Antonini, dancer extraordinaire of the Broadway show The Prom, choreographer-dancer Josh Assor from Newsies and Mary Poppins on Broadway, plus stage and screen actor Markian Tarasiuk.
There’s also Joshua LeClair, a voiceover specialist who appeared in ‘Matilda’ the World Tour, Samantha Jeanne Hill, star of Broadway’s Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera, Jean-Marc Lafond, a theatrical make-up specialist, Shannon Guile and Joanna Hawkins from 100 Decibels (a deaf mime troupe) and Gorlick — master teacher of All Abilities Dancers.
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Each live Zoom session includes instruction, as well as a question-and-answer session with the guest faculty. Auditors are welcome. Training videos of each session may also be accessed asynchronously.
"The keener that I am, I got that grant application written and submitted in 12 hours," Gorlick said. "I looked at the other organizations that were already up on the Safe at Home website, and saw the big ones, like Sport Manitoba and the (Royal) Manitoba Theatre Centre."
Gorlick said she and her co-director Kayla Gordon are ahead of the game in that the Winnipeg Studio Theatre taught online Made in Manitoba masterclasses in musical theatre this past summer with a second set in the fall.
"I knew how to budget for this already. I have the people in place to teach the classes, and I wanted to be able to expand what we already do, to reach as many people as possible," Gorlick said.
Winnipeg Studio Theatre is based in Tuxedo, but all in-person training and performances are on hold due to the pandemic.
For more information, see winnipegstudiotheatre.com
Susie Strachan The Sou'wester community journalist
Susie Strachan is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Susie got her first paying job as a journalist in the late '80s on the Free Press Weeklies, then followed that with 20 years as a reporter, photographer and specialty editor at the Winnipeg Free Press. She then spent 10 years working for WAVE magazine with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, before returning to her roots as the reporter/photographer for The Sou’wester.
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