My MTYP is a project created to celebrate Manitoba Theatre for Young People’s 40th birthday. The following is a collection of folks’ MTYP stories.
Do you or the young people in your life have a favourite MTYP memory? Maybe a favourite course? Friendships that were made during summer camp? A play that touched your heart? Let us know how MTYP has made an impact on your life and share them with us by emailing them to [email protected].
Write your memory as a story, make a video, draw a picture, or however you want to share your MTYP story with us. We will be posting them on this page to share with friends far and wide!
A Message from founding Artistic Director Leslee Silverman
Once upon a time, there was a very old building on a very old street called Princess in the Exchange District. And the good people of Winnipeg invited their children from all over the city to learn about theatre at Actor’s Showcase as this place was called back then. And the floors squeaked and the radiators leaked and we shared the space with an extraordinary company, The Contemporary Dancers, and tried hard not to step on each other’s toes.
I have many favorite memories of MTYP but one of my favorite was one day when I was coming in for a board meeting and the lobby was full. Kids were heading up the stairs to go to theatre school classes and buzzing with all the energy their anticipation generated. That is a usual evening at MTYP.
But that day there was some extra special anticipation in the hall as Argyle school was there to have their high school graduation. Graduates were there in their finery – which included doc martens, high heels and runners- and their parents, friends and other members of the community were also there, getting ready to go into the theatre for the ceremony, excited about all that lay ahead for those soon-not-to-be kids.
And in that moment I thought: this is why community spaces are important. I love this place.
– Valerie Shantz
I just wanted to add my little contribution: We are immigrants from South America (Argentina). We moved here with my wife and it was just the two of us in the beginning. Then, our 2 daughters were born here, in Canada. We had to learn how to be parents in a place we didn’t know, some of our experiences were not applicable and things are different but there were things we could always rely on. Both my wife and I had very fond memories as kids of going to theatre with our parents in Buenos Aires to see different kinds of plays and we knew that was something we wanted to pass on. We wanted to also build those memories with our daughters as well so that brought us to The Forks and our first few visits to the MTYP.
Fast forward 10 years and now our 11-year old daughter is at Theater school and our 4 year old one can’t wait to see the next MTYP play, they have been bitten by the theater bug and while doing that we managed to share those experiences and see their faces express joy, sorrow, surprise and everything in between while sitting inside this wonderful place.
Thanks for helping us make Winnipeg home, places like MTYP have given us way more than just theater (which would be more than enough). In the process of looking for entertainment for our little ones we ended up finding way more than that: a sense of belonging in this community and in this place in Canada.
Happy Birthday MTYP!
Martin, Valeria, Lucia and Milena Surasky
As a fifty-something year-old MTYP staff member, I have been witness to many indelible moments at MTYP. I love hearing stories of young theatre school students finding their voices and a safe space to explore their identities at MTYP. Watching the Dutch company perform the delightful, colourful Tetris, which included the performers coming out into the audience and then inviting the onstage was absolutely incredible. Seeing It’s Dark Outside, as performed by Australia’s The Last Great Hunt, still brings tears to my eyes. What a beautiful, sensitive portrayal of someone slipping into dementia. But perhaps it’s because of the pandemic, where we couldn’t have live performances, or maybe it was the sheer, raw energy of the cast, but my highlight was Brush Theatre from Korea’s recent performances of Doodle POP. Hearing the young audience scream with delight at their antics, seeing the raw joy on the cast’s faces as they performed and so wanting to believe in the core “message” that imagination belongs to all of us and is our superpower. All of this and more. These are memories I’ll always cherish. It didn’t hurt that each of the seven-member company were delightful humans who absolutely glowed when they were onstage.
Zander has been attending classes at MTYP since 2015. He now takes classes with Native Youth Theatre. He has made many friends & memories throughout the years. His most memorable moment was when he participated in the extra-curricular play The Wizard of Oz. He played a businessman munchkin & a flying monkey.
My first venture into the world of theatre started at MTYP in 1993.
I remember 89 Princess Street very well, including a model in the lobby of what’s now the current MTYP building at The Forks.
I remember making several connections and friends that I’m still in touch with nearly 30 years later.
I was cast in five MTYP school shows which were performed at what was then called The Gas Station Theatre. The shows were: A Crowded House (1994), Beat That Bongo (1995), Cinderfella (1996), Names and Nicknames (Junior Company 1997) and Branta Canadensis (1998).
The instructors were all so wonderful. I have memories of Pauline Broderick, Kent Suss, Phillip Duncan, guest-instructor Stan Lesk and the late but great Joseph Bahr.
The image above is a brochure from the 95-96 season. I still remember getting it in the mail and being blown away that my photo was being used! The photo is from Beat That Bongo.
Thanks to MTYP for kick-starting my love of theatre. And of course to my parents who drove me downtown each weekend!
Congrats on 40 years!
– Chris Reid
I’ve spent nearly fifteen years of my life at MTYP. To pick one story out of the dozens of courses and camps that I’ve been a part of was extremely difficult, but here’s one that stands out. The ASL filmmaking program in the spring was one of my favourite times spent at MTYP. We had dozens of people coming together to create three riveting, intertwined stories (and I was the big baddie weaving it all together!). Being in front of and behind the camera, and building a bond with people who were just as passionate and committed as me was such a thrill. And at the end, throwing the big screening party in the Cargill Theatre was such a fulfilling reward. That’s the magic of MTYP. When you’re having fun, you can call it hard work. Seriously.—William Krovats
J and I met at an MTYP summer camp in 2018, run by Erik Fjeldsted and Ryan Black (best instructors there). We didn’t talk at all during the two weeks, but we started talking on Snapchat a few weeks after it was done. Four years later, she’s my best friend and we talk every day. So glad I impulsively decided to go to film camp one summer.
– Amy Sisson
Congratulations to MTYP on its 40th birthday anniversary! I will be forever grateful to the founders of MTYP for making outstanding children’s theatre available to Winnipeggers. Both my sons, Stephen and Jonathan, loved attending MTYP productions in the early 90s and were particularly transfixed by Comet in Moominland. I know my friends have taken their children and grandchildren to countless productions and they too have been entranced by the magic of live theatre. Productions just seem to get better and better and I applaud some of the recent productions such Frog And Toad and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, which were both heartwarming and entertaining and showcased our fine Manitoba talent.
I also remember the excitement of trying to get the new MTYP building finished in time for the 1999 Pan Am Games. I even recall that the newly poured cement was not actually dry when they were laying the carpet and the paint had barely dried. I applaud everyone who worked on the capital campaign to create this magnificent home for MTYP.
Congratulations again and here’s to the next 40 years or more!
All the best,
Gail Asper, O.C., O.M., LL.D.
President, The Asper Foundation
Click to read a message from Prime Minister Trudeau
Click to read a message from MP Leah Gazan
I’ve always enjoyed attending the various plays that MTYP has put on at their beautiful facility at The Forks in Winnipeg. It always makes you feel like a kid again witnessing the laughs and giggles of children and adults alike in the audience. Best wishes as you celebrate this important milestone.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Click to read a letter from the Johnston Group
Click to read Natasha’s letter