By Laura Paduch
Meet the Acting Up Stage Company team at the office: a chance to get to know the people truly behind the scenes!
Paul Beauchamp – Producer & Operations Manager
Paul is a Toronto based producer and arts administrator and has been with Acting Up Stage Company for the past 2 years. In his role as Producer & Operations Manager, Paul helps to run the day to day operations of the company, as well as implement the short-term visioning of the company’s activity. To list all the tasks and duties this entails would be daunting. Paul’s multitasking abilities and endless efficiency make it hard to imagine Acting Up without him, but before beginning in this position in July of 2012, Paul previously was engaged as the apprentice stage manager on Caroline, or Change in January 2012, and initially as a volunteer stage manager for 2010’s One Song Glory.
After graduating from Ryerson University’s Performance Production program, Paul gained extensive stage management experience, working with such companies as Mirvish Productions, Tarragon Theatre, Soulpepper and, of course, Acting Up. With this valuable experience, Paul worked towards transitioning fully to producing and arts administration. These long term goals of his were realized when he was hired as the 2012 Luminato Festival’s Production Coordinator.
Currently, in addition to his docket at Acting Up Stage Company, Paul is the General Manager of the Artists Mentoring Youth (AMY) Project, a barrier-free, arts-education organization that enables young women who face various barriers (social, economic, physical, racial) to tell their own unique story. It’s an incredible amount of work, but it is worth the pay-off of seeing how profound and important this work is to the program graduates each year.
Deniz Kepenek – Audience Relationship Manager
Acting Up Stage Company is excited to welcome our newest staff member to the team! Deniz joins Acting Up as our Audience Relationship Manager. She will direct the approach to develop and maintain the company’s relationships with our audience, and the theatre-going community of Toronto. This includes managing communication plans, organizing events and engagement activities, providing insight and direction for the company’s marketing strategies and overseeing web and social media activities.
Deniz is an established arts administrator and specializes in performing arts marketing and communication strategies. She has very recently moved to Toronto from Montreal, where she was engaged by the Quebec Drama Federation, Quebec’s English-language theatre service organization. Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Deniz graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a degree in Marketing Communications. It was while there when Deniz developed her capacities in arts administration, working positions in marketing and sales, publicity, development and front-of-house management for various theatre companies. Presently, Deniz also is a marketing and communications consultant for Beautiful City Theatre, an up-and-coming Montreal-based theatre company.
Deniz believes modern musical theatre breaks the rules of traditional theatre, and is an entirely different approach to bringing stories to life. It brings light to socially, politically, economically, and environmentally relevant issues, and offers alternative perspectives:”Modern musical theatre is one that makes me think and it’s one that boils my blood”.
Ari Weinberg – Metcalf Foundation Intern Artistic Director
Ari’s position as Intern Artistic Director with Acting Up is made possible by the generosity of the Metcalf Foundation. Through this opportunity, Ari is able to shadow Mitchell Marcus, assisting with the tasks and work necessary to prepare for the upcoming company activities for 2014/15. He is also overseeing One Song Glory and contributing to the Syd and Shirley Banks Prize program. Prior to this position with Acting Up, Ari worked with the company as a Producing Assistant in the spring of 2014.
Ari graduated from Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Performance Program in 2006. Since then, he has worked extensively as an actor, including credits with Stratford Festival, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Globe Theatre (Regina) and Drayton Entertainment. He has also begun exploring direction; he co-directed Godspell for Theatre Sheridan and recently directed Hugh and I at the 2014 Toronto Fringe Festival. He was the recipient of a Professional Theatre Training Grant from Theatre Ontario in 2013, to assistant direct Salt-Water Moon at the Thousand Islands Playhouse with Ashlie Corcoran, and to be mentored by Steven Schipper, Artistic Director of the Royal Manitoba Centre.
In addition to his position with Acting Up Stage, Ari is also the Internship Advisor for students in their third year of the Music Theatre Program at Sheridan College, and a teaching artist for the Stratford Festival. While he works towards his life goal of becoming the artistic director of the Stratford Festival, Ari is inspirited to learn from as many people in the industry that he can, and to continue to grow as an actor, director and arts administrator.
Ari believes modern musical theatre means, “using the art form of musical theatre to illuminate contemporary themes and deepen the meaning of our shared experiences. Modern musicals inspire far more personal reflection than the classic musical theatre, it makes us think about who we are, the world we live and how we live our lives”.
Our team members were each asked to describe their favourite musical theatre experiences, ever:
“I can’t choose, so I’m going to have to describe two! As an audience member, one of my favourite experiences was watching Patti LuPone on stage as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd. On the flip side of things, as a theatre professional, my favourite moment came during the run of Caroline, or Change. I truly fell in love with the show and the cast when I worked backstage on this production.”
– Paul Beauchamp
“I feel like it’s so hard to pick a favourite musical theatre experience, let alone describe my favourite one!…When I was 9 years old, I was on a family vacation in London when my parents took me to see the English production of the French-Canadian Notre-Dame de Paris. I was a little girl at the time, and was in love with the Disney animated movie of the story. Little did I know, the musical was nothing like the movie. Interesting enough, the musical ended up being more appealing to me than the movie. The dancing was beautiful, the acting and singing were breathtaking; most importantly, the music was seriously out of this world. I never knew such beauty could exist, and was even more amazed to see that everyone else around me – including my parents and all the strangers in the house – were experiencing similar emotions. It felt great to be surrounded by that energy.”
– Deniz Kepenek
“1. Seeing Patti Lupone in Gypsy. I am a big Patti fan and her performance was everything I had ever envisioned Mama Rose to be. 2. Seeing Into The Woods at Canadian Stage in 1995. The first time I was introduced to the work of Stephen Sondheim. The cast was filled with phenomenal actor/singers and the set was a combination of ramps, stairs, platforms and giant projection screens, it instantly became my favourite musical… it still is.”
– Ari Weinberg