Young Actor Finds Home at MTYP
The first thing you notice when you meet Natalie Stefanson is her energy. The seventeen year old virtually vibrates with verve.
Known for her huge stage presence, last season the seventeen year old actor auditioned for MTYP’s Young Company and Musical Theatre Company and got into both.
In the Young Company’s production of Radium Girls, Natalie was cast as factory boss Arthur Roeder (pictured above), an idealistic man who cannot bring himself to believe that the same element that shrinks tumors could have anything to do with the terrifying rash of illnesses among his employees.
“I’ve never worked so hard on a show,” said the talented young woman, who is entering Grade 12 at St. Mary’s Academy this fall. “I wanted the audience to see that my character wasn’t a bad person. He wasn’t. He just didn’t know (what the radium was capable of).”
“I wanted the audience to feel empathy for me. And not portray my character as black and white,” she says. “(MTYP Artistic Director) Pablo Felices-Luna came to a rehearsal and suggested that instead of raising my voice, I needed to persuade or encourage.” That was a turning point for the young actor, who felt she really grew by performing the role.
How It All Started
Natalie was about six when her parents put her in a summer camp at MTYP, but she wasn’t immediately hooked on theatre. She was a typical kid, playing hockey and soccer from a very young age. At 15, she enrolled in a drama class at school, and “my teacher said, you have something special.” My mother encouraged me to go back to MTYP and join a musical theatre class.
“Soon, I had to make a decision. It was super tough. You have these two places where you flourish as a person. Do I go for the physical activity, that’s less social? I just couldn’t. My heart was into acting.”
When Natalie was accepted into both companies, she knew the workload would be difficult. “I knew if I got accepted into both, I couldn’t choose. Young Company really teaches you to assess yourself and your learning style when acting, your tactics and intentions, and how to improve yourself. It’s really helped me grow as an actor.”
“Acting is the one thing in life I’m willing to work the hardest at,” she says. “I’m willing to stay up however late it takes or work however hard it takes to bring my character to life on stage.”
At the end of this school year, the young actor is planning on auditioning for several performing arts schools across Canada. “Acting and theatre is my life. In life, everyone has a home. This is my home. I feel more at home here than I do at my home sometimes. I’m the wild card in my family. I’m the loudest at family dinners. I’m often told to calm down. Here I don’t have to control my expression. I can just be.”
Auditions for Young Company (Ages 13-19) take place on Wednesday, September 11 from 5 to 9 pm and auditions for the Musical Theatre Company (Ages 13-19) take place on Thursday, September 12 and Friday, September 13 from 5-9 pm. All auditions are at MTYP, 2 Forks Market Road.