PVA Theatre Arts
THE CENTRE FOR PERFORMING ARTS AT CENTRAL MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL
Students coming to Central Memorial have the opportunity to study theatre arts in the general drama program or to audition for The Centre for Performing & Visual Arts (PVA). This enriched program is divided into the following components:
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.
All PVA Theatre Arts students are involved in at least one major production 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 either before or after the regular school day and performances are in the evenings. Production work is the central component of the PVA Theatre Arts Program. Please see our gallery for pictures of previous PVA productions.
The 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 enroll in 3 years of consecutive year-long tech 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:
- Properties (Props)
- Management (Stage and Front-of-House)
*All PVA students enrolled in Tech Theatre also participate in the PVA studio work described above.
Leadership in the Arts 35 / Entrepreneurial Artist
All PVA students are enrolled in one of two courses; Leadership in the Arts 35 / Entrepreneurial Artist. These programs of study allow PVA students to explore how they see themselves as artists and become more aware of the process involved in preparing for the marketing and business aspect of being a professional in the arts community.
Students will experience a variety of teacher-led assignments/activities as well as a number of student-directed online projects.
Audition/Interview Requirements for Theatre Arts
To audition for PVA Theatre Arts, students are required to have previously submitted all components of the PVA application process. Please see How to Apply for further information.
This year due to Covid 19 restrictions, PVA Theatre Arts auditions will be held virtually.
The audition process consists of a 15-minute audition and interview. During this time we will look to see how well you are prepared. We will be interested in your passion, your ability to take direction and your willingness to take risks. This process will also give you an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about our program. That way, you’ll be able to determine if we are a good fit for you as well!!
A parent or caregiver should attend your interview.
Applicants should prepare and memorize a monologue that is approximately one minute long. Feel free to write your own piece, perform a monologue from a play, or find a stand alone script online.
PVA auditions are friendly and supportive. This may be your first audition ever and we want everyone to have a positive experience. We strongly encourage you to begin memorizing your monologue well before your audition date.
Technical Theatre Instructor
Len Simon earned his B. Ed from University of Calgary specializing in the instruction of Secondary Drama. He has accumulated more than 25 years of educational and theatrical experience in the classroom, on stage, as well as working backstage in a variety of technical roles. Len teaches Drama and Technical Theatre to all grade levels, as well as serves as the department’s Technical Director, Set, Sound and Lighting Designer. Len enjoys working side-by-side with our aspiring technicians to meet the extensive technical requirements for all of the PVA productions.
Theatre Arts Instructor, Fine Arts Learning Leader
Mr. Mulloy attended UVic and York University where he studied vocal performance, theatre and education. In 2000, before making the leap into education, Mr. Mulloy worked as a stage actor. Most notably, he performed on Broadway in the 1989 revival of Shenandoah. Further, he acted in a number of international touring productions including Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera where he performed the role of the opera manager, Andre. Across Canada, Mr. Mulloy has had the privilege to perform with a variety of theatre companies including Theatre Calgary, the Canadian Opera Company and the Shaw Festival. Mr. Mulloy was a nominee for the 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award. He enjoys his work and considers himself fortunate to be part of the PVA team at Central.
Theatre Arts Instructor
Lee Lancaster comes to Central Memorial with 14 years as a drama teacher with the Calgary Board of Education, most notably facilitating the drama programs at Sir John A. Macdonald School and William Aberhart School. A veteran writer, director, and performer with extensive experience with the Loose Moose Theatre Company, Lee specializes in spontaneous improvisation and collective creation. He has written and produced a variety of original productions over the years including The Children of Hillside, Competition Smile and most recently The Hippocratic Oath. Lee is enthusiastic about exploring acting techniques as a device to help students learn about themselves, others, and the world of theatre. He has a passion for the arts in education and values collaboration, teamwork, and unique approaches to inspiring students to be their best!
Theatre Arts Instructor
Michelle Crimmins graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and began her teaching career outside of the public school system as an Instructor and Studio Coordinator for The Company of Rogues Actor’s Studio and for Central Memorial’s PVA Theatre Arts Program as a guest artist. She later pursued her Bachelor of Education at the University of New Brunswick before heading overseas to teach in Beijing, China. Upon returning to hometown Calgary, Michelle further developed her instruction skills through teaching for Calgary Young People’s Theatre. Recently, Michelle returned to leading the Teen classes at the Company of Rogues Actor’s Studio. Teaching at Central gives her great joy and purpose and she considers PVA her “second family.”
Ellen Chorley – Albright Pact
Aaron Coates – The Astonishing Adventures of Awesome Girl and Radical Boy
Ethan Cole – The Astonishing Adventures of Awesome Girl and Radical Boy
Christian Goutsis – Other Worlds
Duval Lang – Faithless and James and the Giant Peach
Andrew MacDonald-Smith – Seussical
Kevin McKendrick – Our Town, West Side Story, Anything Goes and The Third Wave
Jane McFarlane – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Julie Orton – Shakespeare’s Dog
Reid Spencer – Little Women
Valerie Pearson – Peter Pan the Musical
Eric Rose – The Adding Machine Indivisible
Playwriting / Play Review Workshops
Geoff Simon Brown
Adrian and Larissa Yanchuk
Joe Norman Shaw
Mask & Mime
Susan McNair (Theatre Calgary)
Theatre Arts FAQ
Q: 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 guaranteed a performing opportunity in one of our four annual productions. Ten spaces are made available to PVA students in other disciplines who wish to perform in a play or musical. If you are interested in getting involved in the technical aspect of our shows, participation outside of PVA Drama will be considered.
Q: 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 are either before or after the regular school day, during some weekends, and performances are in the evenings. Students earn credits for their production work and attendance is mandatory.
Q: Does attendance affect my mark?
Yes. Theatre Arts projects are primarily structured around group work 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 and consistent attendance is required for each. All absences may affect student achievement and could compromise their enrolment in PVA Theatre Arts. All unexcused absences impact student achievement. In a given term, students who miss more than five (5) excused classes/rehearsals will also see their achievement impacted.
Q: Can I participate in two PVA programs simultaneously, for example Choir 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. Requests will be handled on an individual basis and should be discussed with teachers at the audition/interview.
Q: When do PVA Theatre Arts students take Professional Development in the Arts 35?
All PVA students are required to complete either Leadership in the Arts 35 or Entrepreneurial Artist (Junior Achievement). These self-directed courses run outside the regular school day. 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 begins in grade 10 and finishes at the end of grade 12 with a final exit interview and portfolio celebration.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: Can I do Tech Theatre and perform in a main stage PVA performance?
The Technical Theatre course schedule includes all rehearsals and performances as well as occasional classes after school. These hours combine to meet the requirements of this 125-hour/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. In special circumstances, there may be opportunities for students to establish an alternative schedule to meet a 75-hour/3-credit course requirement. 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.
Theatre Production History
Click on these links to view galleries and more details about each production.
Our spring productions, The Horse and and His Boy and Anne of Green Gables were cancelled due to Covid 19.
Our fall play production, the classic Shakespeare play, is a comedy written by William Shakespeare in 1595/96, portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta (the former queen of the Amazons).
A wedding, a Greek island, 3 possible fathers, and ABBA!
A collection of free-verse epitaphs of the dead townspeople of Spoon River, a fictional small town in Illinois.
Adolescent orphan Oliver Twist falls in with a group of street criminals led by the Artful Dodger and masterminded by the notorious criminal Fagin. When Oliver’s intended mark, Mr. Brownlow, takes pity on the boy and offers him a home, Fagin’s henchman Bill Sikes plots to kidnap the boy to keep him from talking. Set in Vancouver’s downtown east side, this modern twist on the classic tale exposes the gritty underbelly of child and youth homelessness and the role community plays in defining who we are.
April 2018 – Tales of the Uncanny, the Unusual, and the Unheard of
Directed by Paul Mulloy
A musical based on the animated 1989 Disney film and the classic story by Hans Christian Andersen about a mermaid who dreams of the world above the sea and gives up her voice to find love.
by John Mariani, directed by Michelle Crimmins
A play by John Cariani, comprising nine short plays that explore love and loss in a remote, mythical almost-town called Almost, Maine.
A 1970 rock opera with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, sung through with no spoken dialogue.
Directed by Paul Mulloy
A romantic comedy musical, largely based on the Gershwin songwriting team’s 1930 musical, Girl Crazy, but incorporating songs from several other productions.
A retelling of the story of Cyrano de Bergerac, set in 1620s France.
A musical comedy conceived by Rebecca Feldman with music and lyrics by William Finn. Six quirky adolescents compete in the spelling bee, run by three equally quirky grown-ups.
Spring 2016 By Joseph Robinette and Ron Jones
Directed by Kevin McKendrick
A true story about a high-school experiment in fascism that went out of control. Set in 1967 in California, during the Vietnam war, racial integration and social revolution, the play centers around a young, popular teacher and his world history class.
A musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests.
By Richard R. George Directed by Duval Lang
A fantasy by Richard R George (adapted from the 1961 novel by Roald Dahl). A young English orphan boy enters a gigantic, magical peach, and has a surreal adventure with seven magically-altered garden bugs he meets.
By John Jakes (adapted from a novel by Charles Dickens)
The story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kindlier man.
A musical production written by Hach, O’Keefe and Benjamin
Written by Strouse and Charnin (adapted from a novel by Thomas Meehan)
By Paul Ledoux (based on the novel “Anne of Green Gables”)
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter. Directed by Kevin McKendrick
The story concerns madcap antics aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London.
By Jason Patrick Rotary
Wedgie tackles the burning political issues of the 21st century and the onset of puberty.
Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
The story is about a young Austrian woman studying to become a nun in Salzburg in 1938 who is sent to the villa of a retired naval officer and widower to be governess to his seven children.
By Dick Scanlan and Jeanine Tesoro
The musical focuses on a naive young woman who finds herself in the midst of a series of madcap adventures when she sets her sights on marrying her wealthy boss.
by Moliere, adapted by Timothy Mooney
The hypochondriac Argan wants nothing more than to be sick, or at least to be thought of as sick, and tended to by doctors and family (notably his scheming wife).
December 2012 by J.M. Barrie
A mischievous young boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the island of Neverland as the leader of the Lost Boys, interacting with fairies, pirates, mermaids, Native Americans, and children from the world outside Neverland.
by Chris Craddock and Steve Pirot
Stevie and Darryll lie awake in their double bed, staring up at the dark ceiling. They’re waiting for their dad to tell them a bedtime story. They wait. And wait. World-famous novelist Jed McGriffen can’t tuck his girls in tonight because he’s stuck in a dream.
November 2011 – Set in New York City in the mid-1950s, the musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.
Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice
Adapted from the french fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a prince transformed into a hideous beast as punishment for his cruel and selfish ways, and an adventurous young woman named Belle whom he imprisons in his castle.
Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control and safe. There is no war or fear or pain. There are also no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. But when Jonas turns 12, he is chosen for special training from The Giver—to receive and keep the memories of the community.
by Eric Rose – based on the 1923 play by Elmer Rice
The story takes us through Mr. Zero’s trial, execution, excursion and arrest going into the afterlife. Mr. Zero is an accountant at a large, faceless company. After 25 years at his job, he discovers that he will be replaced by an adding machine.
By Allan Knee, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, and music by Jason Howland.
Based on Louisa May Alcott’s class novel, it focuses on the four March sisters during the Civil War.
Our Town is a 1938 three-act play by American playwright Thornton Wilder. It tells the story of the fictional American small town of Grover’s Corners between 1901 and 1913 through the everyday lives of its citizens.
From the murder of one innocent young seminarist to full blown bloody revolution in the streets of Paris, Scaramouche is a swashbuckling tale of romance, revenge and political upheaval.
By Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein
A musical set in Imperial Russia in 1905, the story centres on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family’s lives.
Written and directed by Ellen Chorley, Edmonton Playwright/Director
by Calgary playwright & composer Ethan Cole
The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus concerning the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. The name derives from the character Orestes, who sets out to avenge his father’s murder.
A musical based on the novel Les Misérables by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo.
Set in early 19th-century France, it is the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his quest for redemption after serving nineteen years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child.
with music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis
Urinetown: The Musical satirizes the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and municipal politics.
-by Joan MacLeod
Inspired by the real-life murder in 1997 of the 14-year-old Reena Virk by two high school girls in Vancouver, this memory play tells the fictional story of a less horrific act of brutality told from the perspective of a not-so-innocent bystander. By making the play about her failure to act courageously, it becomes a more complex drama with thornier moral issue.
By Arthur Miller
Originally done in in 1953, The Crucible is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692-93.
Based on Les Fourberies de Scapin (“Scapin’s Deceits”), a three-act comedy by the French playwright Molière.
Set in Italy, Scapino is a rapscallion, a fast-talking, quick-thinking scamp who devises a complex plot to help two pairs of lovers against parental opposition and cleverly manipulates and cajoles everyone into doing what he intends them to do.
A musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
Now one of the most performed shows in America, Seussical is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza based on the books of Dr. Seuss.
By Edmonton playwright Chris Craddock
Three sets of characters weave in and out of each others’ story lines, offering insights into their encounters with alcohol and drug abuse.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Burton adaptation
A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock and Roll
The Outsiders – Christopher Sergel
After Juliet – Sharman MacDonald
The Lottery – Shirley Jackson (adaptation)
Road to Broadway
Macbeth – William Shakespeare
I Never Saw Another Butterfly – Celeste Raspanti
The Wizard of Oz – Baum, Gabrielson
PVA Theatre Arts Alumni
Many graduates of the PVA Theatre Arts Program have gone on to post-secondary theatre programs or are currently pursuing professional careers. Alumni include:
– Los Angeles
- Acting – Sarah Swerid
Alberta Theatre Projects
Michael Dobbin Apprenticeship Program
- Griffin Cork, Quinn Contini, Sophia Schledt
Amercan Musical and Dramatic Academy, New York
- Victoria Kemp
Circle in the Square , New York
- Acting – Maddie McIvor
Company of Rogues Acting Studio
- Acting – Sean Allen, Bianca Caroca, Zach Forner, Kiera Janzen, Logan Lawrence, Issiah Sanghera, Kiana Wu
Guildford School of Acting, Guildford, UK
- Acting – Keelan McAuley
- Theatre Arts – Simon Tottrup, Robyn Ord, Samantha Braitenback, Shilo Clark, Amanda Davis, Steven Levy, Hannah Kerbes, Sydney Johns, Lindsay Mullen
- Tech Theatre – Kurtis Jones
National Theatre School
- Theatre Arts: Lauryn Allman
Otterbein University – Westerville, Ohio
- Musical Theatre – Quinn Lazenby
Randolph College – Toronto
- Musical Theatre – Sophie Brown, Ali Froggat, Tessa Johns, Daniel Rousell
Seattle Pacific University
- Lauren Kelm
Sheridan College – Toronto
- Musical Theatre – Danica Dorais, Izaha Cochran
Southern Alberta Institute
- Broadcasting – Ward Minty, Darcy Waters
- Psychology/Acting – Danielle McDougall
Simon Fraser University
- English/Theatre – Raitoning Petherick
- Choreographer – Jayme Ingram
University of Alberta
- Theatre – Claire Sonmor
University of British Columbia
- Drama – Jordan Johnston, Allison Gill
- Creative Writing/Acting – Kately Nikiforuk
University of Calgary
- Drama – Gabby Velasquez, Ahad Mir, Mark Kazakoff, Lyall Miller, Courtney Keene
- Drama Education – Sierra Hood, Andrew Simon
- BFA/Music and Drama – Amanda Dickson
- Drama: Jesara Nichol
- Arts Education: Emma Norris
- Education/Drama: Sean Gillies, Tyler Grier, Jillian Poulin, Katie Winston
- BFA /Drama BED/ Drama Ed: Keifer Jennings
University of Utah
- Musical Theatre – Jill Bauer
University of Victoria
- Theatre: Kasia Brytan, Hannah Faber, Grace Fedorchuk, Parker Feenstra, Taylor Holding, Graham Miles, Becky Miner, Alex Moorman, Rachel Myers, Alex Plouffe
La Crosse, WI
- Musical Theatre – Gordie Beingesner
York University – Toronto
- Drama: Heather Love, Ali Froggat, Jayme Ingram
Vancouver Film School
- Acting/ Film BFA: Olivia Tarkovski