Auburn teen lauds Blyth Festival co-op - May 23, 2019
BY DENNY SCOTT
For years, the Blyth Festival’s Young Company initiative has been exposing Huron County’s youth to professional artistic endeavours.
This year, several graduates of the program are returning to the Festival in a professional capacity.
The Blyth Festival has a long history of inspiring people to get involved with the arts, and it’s paid off with people like the Festival’s General Manager Rachael King, whose first brushes with theatre came in Blyth in her teens, being a part of the organization. This year, King was happy to announce that other graduates would be working for the Festival, including St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School student Annika Balzer, a graduate of the Young Company program, who will be co-ordinating the Young Company offering in the Phillips Studio.
Balzer explained she was a co-op student at the Blyth Festival.
“That kind of started it all, got the ball rolling as it were,” she said in an interview with The Citizen. “I always had a passion for theatre, that was one of the things I wanted to do as a co-op opportunity.”
She said, through that experience, she met a lot of people with similar passions as her, which led to her becoming a part of Young Company.
“It wasn’t available the first year I wanted to,” she said. “When it was, though, I met even more people who were like-minded. It opened up a lot of doors for people that were there. It gave me a whole outlook on what it’s like to be in a professional theatre group working with professionals.”
She said it was a really good opportunity for her, as it could be an eye-opening adventure, and expand upon other experiences she has had like drama club.
Balzer said her time at the theatre, primarily through her co-op experience, played into her being contacted to become a part of the Festival.
“This is going to be a new experience altogether,” she said. “I was quick to say yes.”
As Young Company co-ordinator, Balzer will be director Pippa Johnston’s right-hand assistant. Balzer said her responsibilities will include arranging rehearsals, making sure everyone is working off the same script versions and doing everything necessary to ensure the Young Company runs smoothly.
She said her experience in Young Company will help her connect with the work and participants, which will make for a great production.
“Young Company is quite different from drama club, and this is quite different,” she said. “It can be nerve-wracking, but if you’re around people who want to do the same thing you’re doing, it can be fantastic.”
Balzer, who is in her fifth year of high school right now, plans to study theatre by pursuing a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts.