About Us

The Canadian College of Performing Arts is extremely proud to be a unique training institution offering the highest level of performing arts instruction with a national scope and vision. Through our training programs, performances and alumni successes, the College fosters development, education, and appreciation of the performing arts in British Columbia, Western Canada, across the nation, and internationally.
Smokey Joe’s Cafe, 2015 | director Darold Roles | photo credit David Lowes

Mission Statement

To offer the highest quality of training in a broad spectrum of skills which will prepare the students for careers of excellence in the performing arts locally, nationally or internationally.
To provide a stimulating, positive and constructive environment where students are encouraged to develop high standards of work ethics and conduct which will serve them in any field of endeavour in their future.
This Little Light, 2016 | director Jane Johanson | photo credit Don Craig

Values Statement

To create a versatile, well-rounded performing artist with a strong professional work ethic.
In particular, to continue to offer unique training programs in Canada where students can develop their performance and career management skills under the close supervision and guidance of highly qualified professional teachers, mentors and theatre artists.
The Penelopiad, 2018 | director Ron Jenkins | photo credit Peter Pokorny


The Canadian College of Performing Arts was founded in September 1998 as a private, post-secondary training institution. Created by co-founders Jacques Lemay and Janis Dunning, the College was born out of their highly successful three-month summer training and performance program, Spirit of a Nation, which originated at the Confederation Centre for the Arts in Charlottetown, and toured nationally throughout its existence.

Spring Awakening, 2015 | director Michael Shamata | photo credit David Lowes

The College was established as a multi-disciplinary training institution, with an equal focus on acting, dance, singing, and career management training. From its initial offering of a single- year Performing Arts training program, the College quickly grew to offer an optional second continuing year in 1999. In 2005, a third program, the “Company C” Studio Ensemble, was created as a practical four-month program for graduates of the second year program to work as an arts collective, producing three shows in a professional working environment under the direction of nationally acclaimed Canadian directors.

Lemay and Dunning were the College Directors for twelve years, until their retirement in 2010. The College was then managed by Ron Schuster as College Director and Darold Roles as Artistic and Education Director from 2010 to 2017. Under their leadership, the two one-year programs were amalgamated to create a two-year Enriched Performing Arts Diploma, and a one-year Certificate in Performing Arts program. This program was created for professional artists and graduates of a degree program who wanted a year of intensive practical training. The “Company C” Studio Ensemble was expanded to its current length of twenty-one weeks, allowing for continued training, workshops, and mentorships, in addition to its core curriculum of three productions. The College also solidified an accreditation process, creating a path to university transferability for graduates of the Enriched Performing Arts Diploma and the “Company C” Studio Ensemble programs to obtain a Bachelor of Performing Arts degree.

Middletown, 2018 | director Stuart Aikins | photo credit Peter Pokorny
Every year since its inception, the College has enjoyed strong competition for student entrance, due to the excellent teaching standards of the faculty, the national and international successes of its graduates, and the respect earned by alumni in the performing arts industry. As one of the most uniquely focused conservatory style training programs in western Canada, the College has graduated well over one thousand students, and has brought hundreds of artists together in collaboration as coaches, educators and trainers. Having an institution like the College in Victoria BC, national in its scope and ambition, is a rare gateway for emerging Canadian artists to find success in the professional performing arts industry.

The College completes its 20th season and graduating class led by a new management team: Managing Artistic Director Caleb Marshall and Director of Education and Programming Heather Burns. Together they bring leadership that is deeply rooted in the institution, while embracing the current and emerging priorities of the evolving landscape of the performing arts industry.