Production is underway in Toronto on Backstage, a new scripted series from prodco Fresh TV about students in a performing arts school set to bow on Canadian net Family Channel in spring 2016.
The 30-episode, half-hour drama series, set at the fictional Keaton School for the Arts, will be shot docudrama-style and include confessional-cam segments. Each episode of Backstage will also feature dance, instrumental and vocal performances from the cast.
In keeping with the music theme, many of the directors attached to Backstage have music video credits to their names, a strategy meant to reflect the diverse talents of the cast, says Brian Irving, partner at Fresh TV and executive producer on the series.
“These are all individuals who themselves represent the concept of the triple-threat,” says Irving of the directors on the series. He also notes that many of the writers have also held a number of roles in the performing arts world, such as acting or songwriting.
For Family Channel owner DHX Television, the greenlight of Backstage is part of a larger strategy to provide more event-style, dramatic shows throughout the week, says Michael Goldsmith, DHX Television VP of original production. While the channel has two other music- and danced-themed series in its originals lineup – Lost & Found Music Studios (formerly The Music Room) and The Next Step – Goldsmith says that there is so much interest in music and dance from the channel’s tween target demo, adding a third series in the genre made sense.
Backstage was created by Jennifer Pertsch and Fresh TV in association with DHX Television. Irving serves as executive producer and producer along with Pertsch, who also co-developed the series and writes. Other executive producers are Lara Azzopardi, who also serves as showrunner, director and co-developed the series, and Fresh TV’s Tom McGillis and George Elliott. Backstage stars Devyn Nekoda (pictured), Alyssa Trask, Aviva Mongillo, Joshua Bogert, Julia Tomasone, Matthew Isen, Kyal Legend, McKenzie Small, Isiah Hall and Adrianna Di Liello.