CATCHING UP WITH NATALIE
Natalie Stefanson is a professional actress who is currently studying theatre at York University and specializing in Devised Theatre. Natalie is back in Winnipeg this summer to teach at MTYP’s Summer Camps. Previously, she was an MTYP student while in high school, performing with both the Young Company and the Musical Theatre Company. Natalie is trained vocally (Tiffany A. Wilson) and in improvisation (Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Stephen Sim). Some of Natalie’s acting credits include Red Earth (One Trunk Theatre), In Plain Sight (Frantic Films), and Heartland Homicide (Farpoint Films).
Natalie will be teaching Story to Stage (Ages 5-6) from at the summer camp from August 8-12.
Q What have you been doing over the last couple of years?
A I am studying at York University. I just completed my second year of devised theatre, which is the creation of a story, and then putting the story up on its feet, all by the same people.
Q What about devised theatre appeals to you?
A I love being able to create the story and the people who are going to perform it. That develops a much stronger connection between the artists and the audience. And next year, I’m starting the three year acting program at York.
Q As a high school student, you were in MTYP’s Young and Musical Theatre Companies. How did those experiences prepare you for your current theatre training?
A The description in MTYP’s brochure is accurate. It’s just like in the professional theatre world. It’s a very professional environment and they are intense programs. You need to be very dedicated to the work.
For example, I played Arthur Reader in Radium Girls. He was a very unlikeable character and I thought he was a really bad person. He created an unsafe workspace which ended with many women dying. I needed to extra work for this role and had rehearsals outside of rehearsal time, and the director was willing to do this with me.
Q How many camps are you teaching this summer?
A I taught four. I was only scheduled to work one and expressed interest in more. Living in Toronto, I need to work a lot to be able to sustain living there.
Q What’s your favourite thing about them?
A I love how children are so open to expressing their own creativity. It’s such a non judgmental environment. Even in my university course, sometimes people aren’t comfortable in their own skins. That’s not the case here. Kids are so excited and open to learning and taking risks with theatre.
Q Last week you taught Into the Wild camp for Ages 7 and 8, how did it go?
A They were the most caring, innovative group that I have ever taught. They were so supportive of each other and loved all of the teachers and staff and were vocal about it. When one camper got sick, he was so sad about being sick because he had to miss a day of camp.
Q What do you think the campers get out of a weeklong MTYP camp?
A It is an incredible opportunity to be in a safe environment where they can hone their creativity as well as make friendships that last and are genuine connections.
Q How did your final performance go today?
A They were performing The Wonderful Wild Things, Witty Adventure. It is a play that we wrote together. They were nervous off the top, but as soon as the performance started, they got right into it. The kids have such an unconditional care and forgiveness for each other. It’s instant forgiveness. I believe that kids have a lot to teach us.