History

The Canadian College of Performing Arts was founded in 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 regarded summer training and performance program, Spirit of a Nation, which originated at the Confederation Centre for the Arts in Charlottetown, and toured nationally.

The College was established as a multidisciplinary training institution, with an equal focus on acting, voice, dance, and career management training. From its initial offering of a one-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 productions 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 until 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. The Certificate 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 Performing Arts Diploma and the “Company C” Studio Ensemble programs to obtain a Bachelor of Performing Arts degree.

Since 2018, the College has been led by a new management team: Managing Artistic Director Caleb Marshall and Director of Education and Programming Heather Burns. Together they bring leadership that honours the legacy of the College’s founders, while embracing the current and emerging priorities of the evolving landscape of the performing arts industry.

Production History

2019-20
2018-19
2017-18
2016-17
2015-16
2014-15
2013-14
2012-13
2011-12
2010-11
1999-2010

 

Studio Ensemble
The Birds directed by Keith Barker
Unity (1918) directed by Glynis Leyshon
The Light in the Piazza directed by Roy Surette

Year II
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) directed by Janet Munsil
The Crucible directed by Caleb Marshall

Year-End Project directed by Jessica Hickman

Partnerships
A Concert of Remembrance with the Band of the 5th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, and the District of Oak Bay
Showtune Cabaret Bar with the Veneto Bar Ristorante at Hotel Rialto

Alumni Company produced by the Canadian Heritage Arts Society
in co-production with Sturrock Studios & Sociable Films
Dreamers & Dissenters conceived and directed by Joel Sturrock

 

Studio Ensemble
Twelve Angry Jurors directed by James Fagan Tait
The Penelopiad directed by Ron Jenkins
Sweet Charity directed by Barbara Tomasic

Year II
Middletown directed by Stuart Aikins
Stage Door directed by Jim Leard

Year-End
West Side Story directed by Matthew Howe

Partnerships
A Concert of Remembrance with the Band of the 5th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, and the District of Oak Bay

Alumni Company produced by the Canadian Heritage Arts Society
Kitsune Project conceived and directed by Ryan Nelson Reid

 

Studio Ensemble
The Old Curiosity Shop directed by Sarah Rodgers
Wintertime directed by Sara-Jeanne Hosie
Cabaret directed by Ron Jenkins

Year II
A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Barbara Poggemiller

Year-End
Working directed by Matthew Howe

Partnerships
Broadway Lights with the Victoria Symphony | directed by Janis Dunning and Jaques Lemay

Alumni Company produced by the Canadian Heritage Arts Society
Avenue Q directed by R.J. Peters

 

Studio Ensemble
Our Town directed by James Fagan Tait
This Little Light directed by Jane Johanson | in partnership with the Belfry Theatre
Ruddigore directed by Glynis Leyshon

Year II
The Triangle Factory Fire Project directed by Jessica van der Veen
Under Milk Wood directed by Alison Greene

Year-End
Beauty and the Beast directed by Darold Roles

Partnerships
All That Jazz with the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy | directed by Darold Roles

Alumni Company produced by the Canadian Heritage Arts Society
Get Happy: A Hollywood Musical Revue directed by Avery Jean Brennan
The Pitch: Doc Nostrum and his Caravan of Cure-Alls directed by R.J. Peters

 

Studio Ensemble
Marat/Sade directed by James Fagan Tait
The Great Gatsby directed by Ron Jenkins
Into the Woods directed by Sara-Jeanne Hosie

Year II
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie directed by Jim Leard
Two Gentlemen of Verona directed by Christopher Weddell

Year-End
Mary Poppins directed by Darold Roles

Alumni Company produced by the Canadian Heritage Arts Society
Art Isn’t Easy: A Musical Revue directed by Avery Jean Brennan
The Blind Pig directed by R.J. Peters

 

Studio Ensemble
Spring Awakening directed by Michael Shamata | with the support of the Belfry Theatre
Sense and Sensibility directed by Glynis Leyshon
Six Characters in Search of an Author directed by James Fagan Tait

Year II
Cities and Girls directed by Christine Willes

Year-End
Smokey Joe’s Cafe directed by Darold Roles

Partnerships
Broadway Lights with the Victoria Symphony | directed by Darold Roles

 

Studio Ensemble
Lend Me A Tenor directed by Julie McIsaac
Twelfth Night directed by Darcy Evans
Zorba directed by James Fagan Tait

Year II
Great Expectations directed by Roderick Glanville
Metamorphoses directed by Barbara Poggemiller

Year-End
Young Frankenstein directed by Darold Roles

 

Studio Ensemble
The Misanthrope directed by Richard Lucas
Les liaisons dangereuses directed by Glynis Leyshon
Bat Boy directed by Shane Snow

Year II
The Grapes of Wrath directed by Darcy Evans

Year-End
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying directed by Darold Roles

 

Year II
Ten Lost Years directed by Stuart Aikins
Village of Idiots directed by Darcy Evans

Year-End
Footloose directed by Darold Roles

Partnerships
Broadway Spectacular with the Victoria Symphony | directed by Darold Roles

 

Studio Ensemble
Lord of the Flies directed by Darcy Evans
Blood Brothers directed by Shane Snow
The Comedy of Errors directed by Kate Twa

Year II
The Penelopiad / The Odyssey directed by Barbara Poggemiller

Year-End
Crazy For You directed by Darold Roles

2009-10

Studio Ensemble
As Bees in Honey Drown directed by Darcy Evans
Rabbit Hole directed by Matthew Howe
Little Shop of Horrors directed by Liza Balkan

Year II
The Winter’s Tale directed by Barbara Poggemiller

Year-End
Kiss Me Kate directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay and Barbara Poggemiller

Partnerships
Broadway Brilliance with the Victoria Symphony | directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
 

2008-09

Studio Ensemble
Rumours directed by Dan Costain
A Class Act directed by Matthew Howe
7 Stories directed by Liza Balkan

Year II
A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Barbara Poggemiller

Year-End
42nd Street directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
 

2007-08

Studio Ensemble
As You Like It directed by Fran Gebhard
City of Angels directed by Jeff Hyslop
Laughter on the 23rd Floor directed by Matthew Howe

Year II
The Greeks directed by Barbara Poggemiller

Year-End
The Boyfriend directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay

Partnerships
Pops Series #5 with the Victoria Symphony | directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay and Matthew Howe
 

2006-07

Year II
Caucasian Chalk Circle directed by Libby Mason

Year-End
On Broadway directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
Suites:
Dream Weavers
A Pirate’s Quest
 

2005-06

Studio Ensemble
A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Kate Twa
Speak Office directed by Dr. Iris MacGrgor-Bannerman
Into the Woods directed by Gerald Isaac

Year II
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) directed by Barbara Poggemiller

Year-End
On Broadway directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
Suites:
The ’20s
The ’30s

Partnerships
Blue Skies with the Victoria Symphony | directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
 

2004-05

Year II
La Ronde directed by Christopher Weddell

Year-End
On Broadway directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
Suites:
West Side Story
The Magic Garden
Les Misérables

Partnerships
Broadway suites with the Victoria Symphony | directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
 

2003-04

Year II
The Rimers of Eldritch directed by Christopher Weddell

Year-End
On Broadway directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
Suites:
On Broadway
Annie
Working
Ain’t Misbehavin’
Man of La Mancha
Swing
 

2002-03

Year-End
Starting Here directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
Suites:
I Want To Be A Producer
The Love Divas
Wedding Party
Kiss Me Kate
 

2001-02

Year-End
Starting Here directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
Suites:
The Seven Ages of Man
Jardin de Rêve
Sea of Destiny
Let’s Go to the Movies
Big News
 

2000-01

Year-End
Starting Here directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
Suites:
Masquerade
The Audition
A Moment in the Woods
The Party
War
 

1999-2000

Year-End
Starting Here directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
Suites:
Putting It Together
Rise Again
Ragtime
Echoes of Harlem
Love Bites
Les Misérables
 

1998-99

Year-End
Starting Here directed by Janis Dunning & Jacques Lemay
Suites:
Ancient Voices
Relationships
Pearls
Cell Block “D”
The Singer and the Song
Swing
Revolutions

View Photo Credits

page header Sense and Sensibility, 2014 | director Glynis Leyshon | photo credit David Lowes
shows from 2017-18 to present, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, Under Milk Wood, and Beauty and the Beast, 2017 | photo credit Peter Pokorny
This Little Light, 2016 | photo credit Don Craig
Mary Poppins, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and Our Town, 2016 | photo credit Leanne Green
Marat/Sade and The Great Gatsby, 2015 | photo credit Brian Wilson
shows from 2010 to 2014-15 | photo credit David Lowes