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THUNDER BAY, ON ------    April 20, 2013  ----     Earlier this week I had the opportunity to interview Magnus Theatres Artistic Director Mario Crudo and to chat Alison Smythbriefly with the cast of their touring school programme.

The cast directed by veteran Lil Cano will perform two different plays daily at over 40 of the regions schools. Naturally the cast looked younger than their press photos since they we performing plays meant for a student audience. These are professional actors and their dress an manners were so much like high school students that I had to ask is they were university trained professional actors. To my surprise they all were.

Presenting a touring school programme is nothing new for Magnus Theatre. Mario Crudo told me that the theatre has been presenting plays for schools for at least the past 24-30 seasons. They produce plays for the elementary schools as well as a separate play for the senior schools. The plays are focused on student issues. For example the play “The Day Billy Lived” intended for students from grades 7 -12 . This plat won the Sterling Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theatre for Young Audiences.

The actors are young but accomplished, Alison Smyth is the Winner of “Best Featured Female” in the 2010 Broadway,com Awards. Her career has included theatre, music and film.

Likewise Jonathon Fisher

Mario Crudo mentioned that the plays are selected for their suitability for performance in schools. They are 45- 50 minutes in length to accommodate the school schedule. It is also a length of time suitable to the attention span of young theatre audiences. In presenting the school programme, Magnus is not only dealing with current student issues, they are also presenting first rat theatre to students who are more used to getting their information from their smart phones than the theatre.

 Amy Myers will be remembered for her recent role in Magnus’s production of Hanna’s Suitcase. She is also participating for a second time in the school touring Amy Myersprogramme. A graduate of Windsor’s BFA acting programme she is excited to once again touring with Magnus Theatre. She likes the real connection a well presented play makes with the audience, she can judge how the audience reacts to the content of the play.

The actors on this tour have two very different plays to perform. “Head á Téte” is a play for the junior grades by David Craig and Robert Morgan. It is about life in an apocalyptic world where life is about the struggle for food and survival. The play teaches the advantages of working together to improve your odds of survival.

Stephen McLarty is the one person on the cast new to Magnus Theatre. Stephen McLartyHe holds acting degrees from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYS as well a B.A in Theatre from Brock University. He is thrilled to be working on the Theatre for Young Audience tour with Magnus Theatre.

Before the tour begins there will be a preview of the plays presented at the Waverley Street Library on Saturday at 2 p.m. Lets hope we are dug out by then.

The tour begins on Monday April 22nd. To book your show or to get more information about the shows please call Amanda Cyr at 807 345-8033 x 231.

Bert Rowson
Arts Editor: LakeSuperiorNews.com


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