Theatre Arts

Theatre Arts Program Overview

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The Centre for Performing & Visual Arts (PVA) Theatre Arts program is a three-year, enriched program open to all students across Calgary. This enriched program is divided into the following components:

Studio Work

Every day, PVA Theatre Arts students work with a well rounded team of professional artist/teachers to develop skills required to confidently find success in performance work. Through a conservatory approach focused on specialized instruction, students are encouraged to develop strong acting, movement/dance, and vocal skills. Area of study across three years are: acting technique, physical theatre/movement, collective creation/devised theatre, improvisation, mask, clown, puppetry, choreography, singing, acting on camera, audition and monologue, directing, and playwriting. Each year, students will earn 10 credits for Drama 10/20/30 and Musical Theatre 15/25/35. 

Production Work

All PVA Theatre Arts students can be involved in at least one major production (for the length of a single semester) every school year. In this work, students are given the opportunity to participate as either a performer or as a member of the tech crew. Production work requires commitment to an extended school schedule as rehearsals are after the regular school day and performances are in the evenings. Production work is a central component of the PVA Theatre Arts Program. We are proud to offer a program that can produce multiple musical theatre and play productions each year. Our performers work with guest-artists-in-residence who are seasoned vocal directors, choreographers, costumers, and directors. A single production is a 5-credit Advanced Acting/Touring 15/25/35 course.

PVA Technical Theatre Program

The PVA Technical Theatre Program is a practical learning experience that provides hands-on opportunities for students interested in development of skills, knowledge and experience in the technical side of the theatrical world. The experiences and skills developed in this program are directly transferrable to post-secondary technical theatre programs as well as preparation for exploration of technical work in broadcasting, motion pictures, stage and multi-media. Students will enrol in year-long tech theatre courses that include practical classroom exercises, theory instruction, design instruction, safety training and working roles that support school productions and theatre bookings.

Students will explore the following six components of technical theatre:

  • Set
  • Properties (Props)
  • Make-up
  • Sound
  • Lighting
  • Management (Stage and Front-of-House)

Theatre Arts FAQ

  • Can I perform in a play or musical theatre production if I am A PVA student but not enrolled in PVA Theatre Arts? All PVA Theatre Arts students are invited to have a performing opportunity in one of our four main-stage productions (musicals and plays). For this reason, we do not cast students fro other PVA Disciplines in our main-stage productions.
  • What after-school time commitments are required from PVA Theatre Arts students? All PVA Theatre Arts students are involved in at least one major school production every school year. Production work requires commitment to an extended school schedule as all rehearsals begin at 3:30. We require some Saturday rehearsal attendance, and performances are in the evenings. Students earn Advanced Acting 15-25-35 credits for their production work and attendance and course work is mandatory.
  • Does attendance affect my mark? Theatre Arts units of study are often structured around group work and time learning with guest artists in residence thus requiring students to be committed to the program and in class every day. Theatre Arts classes are run during the regular timetable as well as after school (main-stage productions only) and consistent attendance is expected of our students. All absences effect student growth and achievement and impact their long-term enrolment in PVA Theatre Arts, but grades are not assigned to attendance. 
  • Can I participate in two PVA programs simultaneously, for example Vocal Music and Theatre Arts? Due to the intense study and commitment required for one PVA program, it is difficult and challenging to complete two PVA programs during your high school career. Depending on academic course needs and schedules, participating in two PVA streams may be possible if the teachers agree to it. Requests will be handled on an individual basis and should be discussed with teachers at the audition/interview, but Dual-Pva placements are not a guarantee. 
  • When do PVA Theatre Arts students take Leadership in the Arts 35? All PVA students are required to complete Leadership in the Arts 35. Students will experience a combination of teacher-directed assignments/activities combined with student-directed and/or on-line projects and will learn about drama related careers, attend workshops and meet local artists. For PVA Theatre Arts students, this course occurs in grade 12 by earning the CBE Fine & Performing Arts Certificate. Completing this course is mandatory for students who wish to attend the PVA Grade 12 International Tour to New York City.

  • I am not good at either dancing or singing but I love to act. As part of the PVA Theatre Arts program, do I need to participate in vocal and dance instruction? Our goal is to encourage young actors to develop a broad range of skills that include both singing and dancing. Instruction in these areas will be non-threatening and will provide a strong foundation for all students regardless of their previous experience or comfort level. In auditions, potential candidates do not need to be highly skilled at either singing or dancing.

  • Do I need drama training/experience to apply to Central’s PVA Theatre Arts program? Yes and no. We find that students, successful in PVA Theatre Arts are passionate, keen to develop skills, are willing to take risks, and are committed to their work. If you have these characteristics but lack experience, more than likely you will learn quickly and find success. That being said, many of our students come to Central with a background in theatre. Extra effort may be required for you to attain skills previously mastered by more experienced peers.

  • Can I do Tech Theatre and perform in a main stage PVA performance? The Technical Theatre course schedule includes attending rehearsals and performances as well as some classes after school in Semester 1 or Semester 2 or both. These hours combine to meet the requirements of this 3 to 5-credit course. Due to the extensive time commitment, every Technical Theatre student has the opportunity to negotiate scheduling conflicts. Each conflict will be considered on an individual basis. This would allow PVA Theatre Arts students to perform during one semester and be enrolled in Technical Theatre for the other. These situations must be discussed and approved in September with teachers. Technical Theatre is offered inside the school timetable and outside the school timetable, both semesters, so there are a variety of options for taking the course along with other commitments. 

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