If you’ve seen a Musical Theatre Company or Young Company performance at MTYP in the last five years, chances are you’ve watched Andrew Riley perform. Andrew has been a student at MTYP for 12 years. Now, before he begins his next journey as a student at Sheridan College, he’s performing in his final MTYP production as part of Summer Studio.

Summer Studio is a pre-professional company for young people between the ages of 13-18. After auditioning for a role in the show, participants are involved in every aspect of production, from designing and building props and costumes, to budgeting and marketing their play to a potential audience. This all culminates in a seven-show run in the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

We chatted with Andrew about spending his final summer in Winnipeg at MTYP – here’s what he had to say!

What is your name and how long have you been a student at MTYP?
My name is Andrew and I have been a student at MTYP for 12 years!  

Have you participated in Summer Studio before?
This is my first time participating in Summer Studio!  

Why did you audition for Summer Studio?
I’ve always wanted to audition for Summer Studio, but every year it just didn’t work out till now. I also auditioned because I have done the other pre-professional companies at MTYP since I was 13 and I have enjoyed them so much.

Have you ever taken summer camps at MTYP?
I have not taken a summer camp at MTYP, but I have been a Teaching Assistant before and it is super fun!  

The name of the show Summer Studio is presenting is called Sapphire Butterfly Blue, what can you tell us about the show?
The show is about the first woman who was killed during the Salem Witch Trials and it explores her journey before death through text, movement, and music. It’s a social commentary on the patriarchy and oppression of women, shown through a theatrical experience.  

What are you most excited about being part of Winnipeg Fringe Festival?
I’m really excited to be a part of a show, but also being a part of a community of performers in the Fringe. There are so many incredible and interesting shows to see. I’m really excited to be able to experience performing and watching other performers!  

Describe Summer Studio in three words. 
Fun, creative and supportive!  

Describe MTYP in three words.
Friends, community and home! 

Andrew (right) in Urinetown: The Musical, performed by MTYP's Musical Theatre Company this past April
Andrew (right) in Urinetown: The Musical, performed by MTYP's Musical Theatre Company this past April

Why should people come out to see your show?
People should come see our show because it has a really important message. Though our show explores oppression of women, it can also be related and seen through many different outlets of oppression. As a company we have had a lot of conversations about the current oppression of women in North America, but also the oppression of many other groups, and as a company we are so excited to be given the opportunity to perform a show as important as this one.  

What would you say to a teen who is considering signing up for a class or camp at MTYP, but is unsure?
I would say go for it. There are so many classes, camps, and companies where you can find your space and what you love. I personally love being a part of shows, but I know lots of people that enjoy the film or improv program. There’s so much to choose from and in every area of MTYP there are people to make you feel at home! 

What’s the best part of spending your summer at MTYP?
The best part of spending my summer at MTYP is getting to do it with all my closest friends. I have met all of my closest friends and formed so many amazing relationships with people at MTYP and it’s really cool that I get to spend the summer with them performing! For a lot of us in this company it’s our last show at MTYP as a student and I’m so grateful and happy to get to experience it with all of these amazing artists!  

The Summer Studio is performing Sapphire Butterfly Blue as part of the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Keep an eye on the Winnipeg Fringe website for show times and to purchase tickets. Know a young person that wants to spend summer at MTYP? There’s still time to register for Summer Camps!