VICTORIA, B.C. – After conducting an extensive international search that spanned several months, the board of directors of the Canadian Heritage Arts Society and Caleb Marshall, Managing Artistic Director of the Canadian College of Performing Arts, have announced that Danielle Meunier, a graduate of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, the Vancouver Academy of Music, and the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, who has worked as a senior arts educator in the United Kingdom for the past 16 years, has been hired as the College’s new Director of Education.
“I am thrilled to be returning to my hometown to join the CCPA community, and look forward to channeling my international education experience into the role of Director of Education,” said Meunier, whose predecessor Heather Burns left in January after 10 years with the College.
“CCPA’s drive for excellence and focus on empowering young artists plays a vital role in the future of the arts in Canada,” said Meunier, who is scheduled to assume the position in July. Esteemed alumni Alana Hibbert has currently assumed the role of Interim Director of Education.
Born and raised in Victoria, Danielle has trained and worked in Europe for the last nineteen years in the fields of voice, speech, and singing. Her background as a musician, actor, voice/speech practitioner, and academic lecturer have stood her in good stead as an arts leader.
Her extensive academic credits include working as a Senior Lecturer in voice across undergraduate programs in acting, theatre-making, dance, musical theatre, and pop music; as Program Director for Performing Arts at Swansea Metropolitan University in Wales; and as Head of the Theatre Arts School in the Academy of Music and Theatre Arts at Falmouth University in Cornwall, U.K.
It was at Falmouth, ranked as one of the U.K.’s top arts universities with gold status for teaching excellence that she developed leadership and collaborative team skills through management roles that, among other assets, caught the attention of Marshall and the search committee.
They were also impressed by her ability to manage change effectively at Falmouth University, where she rebuilt the portfolio of theatre programs after a period of significant change and transition, and helped to build cross-course collaborative projects with the Film and Games departments.
“There are seismic shifts in the performing arts right now and we wanted an educational leader who could help us forge new ground,” said Marshall, noting that with COVID having derailed the industry, Danielle clearly articulated the challenges performing arts training faces in light of COVID and recent social justice movements, and she outlined numerous ideas and approaches for addressing these issues and engaging the College community in the way forward. “There was no question that Danielle was the unanimous choice,” he recalled. “It created a sense of unity, enthusiasm and buy-in.”
Working in close partnership with Marshall, Meunier holds a key position as senior academic officer, responsible for students, faculty and educational functions, and institution standards. Other responsibilities include ensuring programming excellence and helping set College priorities.
Barbara Greeniaus, Chair of the Board of Directors, noted, “It was sheer providence that the College was looking for a new Director of Education at the very time that Danielle was open to considering a career move. We know that Caleb and Danielle will be strong, complementary partners in designing and leading new initiatives for the best performing arts education program in Canada.”
Meunier said the opportunity to return to her hometown mid-career was particularly appealing because of CCPA’s strong commitment to equity, student-centered learning, and aligning its programs with the shifting performing arts industry.
In addition to her educational achievements, Meunier’s continued artistic practice includes an album of folksong recorded in rural locations across the British Isles with electro-acousmatic composer Dr. Philip Reeder; work as a performer and voice coach for the Petrovden Shakespeare Festival in Bulgaria; a collaborative devised voice and dance performance at Dartington Hall, UK; and concerts in Wales, Cornwall, and Ireland.
Michael D. Reid