Backstage at CCPA is our behind-the-scenes blog. Contributors are students, faculty, and members of our community.
Joscelyne Tamburri tells us about her experiences as a Year II student, from the classroom to the stage.
At the end of each school year, CCPA students disperse to the four corners of the world for their summer respites. As I mentioned previously in the blog, I am fortunate enough to spend my summer in Vancouver; landing a position with Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) production of Mary Poppins. So far, my summer away from CCPA has been a jam-packed, thrilling adventure of the theater and film industry here in Vancouver.
Just two days after finishing my first year at CCPA, I was moving all the essentials I would need for the entire summer to my new home in Vancouver. This was the start of two months of rehearsals, preparing for a 2-month run of Mary Poppins. In the famous Malkin Bowl Theatre, I have had the privilege of working with an amazing cast and crew; including, local director Shel Piercy from Infinity Films, the incredibly talented choreographer Nicol Spinola (who has performed on Disney cruiseships!), the musical genius of music director Wendy B Stuart (who created multiple different harmonies for 30+ people at the drop of a hat) who makes us not just practically perfect, but perfect in her ambitious Wendy standards, and our hilariously funny Stage Manager Susan Miyagishima who continually goes above and beyond her call of duty. As for my cast, I could write an entire novel on how talented each person is. You can just imagine how wonderful they are and the vast talent required to give the surge of whimsy that is so imperative in Mary Poppins.
As I am writing this newsletter, we are roughly halfway through our total performance dates, with our show extension just being announced! Although we always prepare for an extended run, this year it was a no-brainer to add the extra shows. The audience turnout for Mary Poppins has been breaking TUTS records left, right and center. The show has been selling out most nights, so far, with rave reviews. It is so exciting to be a part of such a well-received production in the famous Malkin Bowl. Mary Poppins constantly brings smiles to the faces in our audience that range from month old babies to their great grandparents. This production is a show whose character is leaving its supercalifragilisticexpialidocious mark on the Vancouver theater community.
It’s so encouraging to see so many CCPA alumni have taken this same path to hone their craft. Reading the bios of the cast and crew from current and previous productions, I’m humbled to work amongst those who have a multitude of credits and education under their belts.
As if I wasn’t busy enough with the production, I decided to try to make some money on the side (since TUTS is volunteer based). Vancouver is a happenin’ place for film, with many TV, online, and movies productions being created in the Lower Mainland. I decided to try my luck with background / extra work on my off days. At first, it was slow to pick up… I got a gig here and there, but as soon as July hit, I was booked on every off-day for weeks on end. I didn’t have an afternoon to myself for 2-1/2 weeks, and I couldn’t be happier. It was extremely exciting and tiring, but mainly an awesome learning opportunity. I love working on set. I’ve realized how much I would like this to be a major part of my life, along with my passion for musical theater. This new line of work for me is so fascinating and entertaining. I don’t mind (much) getting home at 2:00 am, only to have to get up by 4:45 am and be back on set by 6:00 am. It’s thrilling to be a piece in a giant production, that puts together a product that can be enjoyed by tons of people. I think that right there is pretty cool and worth the early mornings. I am super stoked that I was able to be a small part on the sets of Riverdale, Super Girl, The Man in the High Castle, and a Nickelodeon movie called Inside Voice, to name a few. With all these opportunities, I’ve managed to work enough to be considered for the background performers union if I want to, which I think is pretty nifty.
So, in a somewhat brief summary, this is what my summer away from CCPA has been like so far. Even though it’s been pretty rad, I can honestly say I am super excited to return home, to the amazing CCPA family, and get back to work! It is the lessons I have learned at CCPA that have taken me this far, and I firmly believe it is the training I have yet to do in the next 2 years that will take me all the way to my dreams and goals.
As we say in Mary Poppins, “If you reach for the heavens, you get the stars thrown in.”