By Wendy Wright

Denise Krawczuk is the heart and soul of Applauze Productions, which has been serving Thunder Bay for over 25 years. Applauze is both a school and production house for those looking to learn voice, acting, and dance—the triple threat of skills required for any student looking to perform, whether in big live productions or the current online stage.

With the onset of the pandemic, the 25-year celebration has been put on pause. Krawczuk and her students, however, have not. Lessons are being taught online and there are small productions as well. Everything has been adjusted to a different delivery method and everyone involved is learning and going with the flow. “Kids need a creative outlet now more than ever to express themselves and this a safe place,” says Krawczuk. The troupe is still able to enjoy group work online, virtual recitals on YouTube, and even virtual festivals. While everyone is excited to perform for a live audience again, perhaps outdoors, there are many virtual ways to “get back into the groove,” as Krawczuk says. From games to movement classes with music to acting skills, the virtual world of learning and teaching is an adjustment, not an end.

A combined cast of musical theatre groups and the cast of Legally Blonde in December, 2019

Over the years there have been many highlights. The first big, licensed production from Applauze was Rent, and is a special memory for Krawczuk. “That production brought so many talented people into my life,” she says. This type of undertaking is a big part of Applauze when there is no pandemic to work around. Stay tuned to learn more about attending live when times allow.

Students participate in provincial competitions, which helps to support Krawczuk’s sense of pride in her pupils. Coming in first place is not the main point; learning confidence and new skills always outshines winning. “At Applauze it’s about skills, but also learning to be you and to be true to yourself. Kids need to be comfortable in their own skin to perform on stage,” she says. Students learn how to accept criticism and learn that it is not a personal attack with Krawczuk’s guidance and nurturing approach. “Joy of performance will always be the most central point of the final product,” she adds.

Coming this fall, Applauze will be rebranding. They are very busy on social media and will continue with this, along with conjuring up possible productions and projects. Performers ranging in age from four to over 80 are part of classes and productions. There is truly something for everyone. And soon we will be able to watch live as well.

You can follow the journey of Applauze Productions and Denise Krawczuk at the following places:, Applauze Productions on YouTube, and @ApplauzeProductions on Facebook and Instagram.