Vertigo Y Stage expands series for growing audience

After a decade of presenting professional theatre for kids and teens Vertigo Y Stage has gained enough audience members to start running some shows over two weekends instead of one.

Nathan Pronyshyn Y Stage Theatre series producer says the goal right from the beginning was to have two-week runs which provide a better gig for the artists and more opportunities for audiences but there wasn’t enough interest to fill the seats.

“Calgary audiences were really slow to respond to the series” he says. “I feel finally like we’re ready to start expanding the runs a little bit.”

Pronyshyn attributes the shift not only to an increase in population but also to a change in attitude. He says people used to think of the city as a place to work and now they are thinking of it as a home.

“I think Calgary is in a really cool spot right now. I think in the last 10 years the city has really taken ownership of itself” he explains adding that arts culture and lifestyle have become more of a focus. “They think it’s important to introduce their families to professional work.”

This season two out of the five shows on the bill will have a longer run with public performances on weekends and school performances on weekdays. The first is Jason and the Argonauts described as a “hugely physical and irreverent retelling of the legend” by Visible Fiction out of Glasgow Scotland which runs in November. Pronyshyn says extending the run makes it more feasible to bring a production from overseas. The second is a return performance of nOOb by Chris Duthie of Calgary produced by Vertigo Theatre which also showed during the 2011-12 season. The play which runs in March is about a teen whose parents take away his video games because they think he is spending too much time in a world that doesn’t exist. “We’re bringing it back and we’re revisioning it” says Pronyshyn.

If all goes well this year he says next year they might extend the run of more shows in the series.