A Year of Firsts at the Yukon Arts Centre

There’s a lot to look forward to at the Yukon Arts Centre (YAC) this coming season. “We want all Yukoners to enjoy the arts and not have to go down to Toronto,” says YAC Marketing and Development Director Sarah Frey.

This season the centre is celebrating its 25th anniversary year.

“It’s a big year for us with a lot of milestones,” Frey says.

Frey is excited about the 2018 lineup, and she isn’t the only one.

“The season offers a diverse range of outstanding performances from across the country including great homegrown Yukon work,” says Yukon Arts Centre Artistic Director Eric Epstein. “There is music, dance, theatre, comedy and more.”

He’s looking forward to revisiting some of the golden oldies. “In celebration of our first quarter century, we are thrilled to bring back The Grapes of Wrath’s Kevin Kane who performed during the YAC Opening Festival in 1992. Featured on the same program will be Yukon favourites Manfred Janssen and Jim Vautour in a rare duo performance,” says Epstein.

The National Arts Centre in Ottawa has announced a year-long project teaming up as presenting partners with arts organizations across the country this year. The National Arts Centre’s involvement will allow the Yukon Arts Centre to present a series of locally curated, high demand performances that would otherwise be inaccessible to many Yukoners.

“We’re reaching new heights with the National Arts Centre series,” says Frey.

The tent pole of the season is an adaptation of Pushkin’s poem and Tchaikovsky’s subsequent opera Onegin. Presented by the Yukon Arts Centre in partnership with Nakai Theatre, the romantic theatre piece by Veda Hille of the the Vancouver Arts Club is seen as having solid Broadway potential. Onegin debuts on the Yukon Arts Centre’s Mainstage February 1-3.

“We haven’t had anything like that on the stage in a while and we’re really excited to bring that level of performance to the Yukon,” says Frey. “The fever is catching among staff.”

Yukon themed programming includes Busted Up: A Yukon Story presented by Open Pit Theatre from September 13 to 23 at The Old Fire Hall. The piece by Genevieve Doyon features stories about how Yukoners ended up here and aims to capture the uniqueness of Yukon characters.

“it’s the magic of the land that draws us and then keeps us here. What’s your story? We get to see a reflection of ourselves on the stage,” says Frey.

Individual tickets are on sale now and Frey predicts the CBC’s This Is That on October 13 at the YAC Mainstage to sell out quickly.

Another favourite of the crowd, Ferron and Her All Star Band, kick off the NAC Presents series September 17.

What’s up Yukon’s editorial board’s personal favourite is Klondike Karaoke, happening on multiple dates in October, in partnership with the Yukon Filipino Community.

Deeper into the winter months the Longest Night Society presents its traditional winter solstice piece with a Canada 150 twist. Daniel Janke composed a special something for this iconic year in Canadian history. The fruits of his labour are brought to the Yukon by the Problematic Orchestra and will be showcased on December 21 at the YAC Mainstage.

The season begins and ends performances celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Yukon Arts Centre. Kicking off with a formal Hall of Fame Gala in September to celebrate iconic Yukon artists in the community and ending with an Audience Choice Concert.

Aforementioned Artistic Director Eric Epstein is taking suggestions for which Canadian musicians Yukoners would like to see live, with bids open until June 30.

This season will also pilot a new “choose-your-own” style Northwestel Art Lovers Subscription Series. “We want to empower patrons to curate their own YAC experience,” says Sarah Frey.

Single tickets are currently on sale to the general public and subscribers have until September 29 to select five of the available performances, and get their 20 per cent discount. All ticket prices are listed at YukonArtScentre.com and the event page YukonTickets.com. The Yukon Arts Centre has special pricing on some shows for Yukoners who identify themselves as low income – which is great for starving artists of all ages but especially millennials.

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