Vanier honours 40 years of theatre

Vanier College Productions celebrates its 40th anniversary with two upcoming theatre productions. - Romina Julian

VCP to stage two celebratory theatre productions

Romina Julian
Staff writer

Vanier College Productions celebrates its 40th anniversary with two upcoming theatre productions. - Romina Julian


Vanier College Productions (VCP), a theatre company operating at Vanier College at York, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a bang. To celebrate, the company is producing three shows this season: their annual one-act play festival, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Festival IV.

The season starts off with the one-act play festival, held from November 16-19. Four one-act plays, all of them written by York students, will be directed by Catherine Bernardi, Debra Felstead, Aaron Rothermund, and Jonathan Shaboo.

From February 1-11, The Drowsy Chaperone will be performed at the Fred Thury Studio Theatre, where most VCP shows take place.

Directed by Michael Yaneff, with music direction by Tom Kerr, this Tony Award-winner can be described as a “musical-within-a-musical”. The story follows a musical theatre fan playing his favourite Broadway musical. As he plays the record on the turntable, the musical is brought to life in his living room, as he enacts the story of a Broadway starlet trying to find and keep her true love.

The VCP season will wrap up with a production of Festival IV, written by VCP founding artistic director, Fredrick H. Thury. With the play previously performed in 1995, 1997, and 1999, many will be overjoyed when it returns to York in March 2012.

The premise with Festival is that it takes place at a one-act play competition, with three theatre companies presenting the same play, a one-act murder mystery. Mike “Nug” Nahrgang, Ryk Simpson, and Jean-Paul Yovanoff will each direct one of the three acts, representing each of the three fictional theatre companies.

Along with these shows, VCP also has the Vanier Improv Company (VIC), as well as a show choir (think Glee),  both to host shows throughout the school year. VCP is also offering a number of workshops this season that will provide theatre tips, such as how to audition and how to do improvisational comedy.

VCP is open to all York students, regardless of faculty or program.

Brian Goldenberg, artistic producer for VCP, said that one of the main goals this year is to create more opportunities for anyone in the York community to get involved.

“VCP is one of the recipients of York’s new Academic Innovation Fund,” says Goldenberg. “[That] funding is helping us provide many new opportunities for York students, including the show choir, workshops, and experiences with guest artists on campus.”

VCP has come a long way since it was founded by Thury back in 1972. Performances used to take place in the Vanier Dining Hall (now the Vanier Lecture Hall). Both Thury and longtime executive producer Nancy Accinelli shaped the company to what it is now, with many productions mounted during their time, including West Side Story, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Man of La Mancha.

When asked about how he plans to continue Thury and Accinelli’s legacy, Goldenberg said that VCP alumni will continue to play an important role.

“As they have worked with Fred and Nancy in the past, it is natural for them to carry on the traditions and teachings left by them to a new generation of VCP members.”

He also said that in addition to running a theatre company, VCP is about “fostering self-esteem, empowering students to take ownership of what they’re doing, and to have a sense of pride about what we all accomplish together as a team.”

While the seasons change and members often come and go, VCP has always been welcome to both new and old members, and it still maintains its purpose as both an educational and theatrical experience. Both Thury and Accinelli have since passed on, but their spirits linger in the theatre.

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