PVA Theatre Arts
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.
Professional Development in the Arts 35 / Entrepeneurial Artist (Junior Achievement)
All PVA students are enrolled in one of two courses; Professional Development in the Arts 35 or Entrepreneurial Artist (Junior Achievement). 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 must have previously submitted all components of the PVA Application Form.
The audition process for PVA Theatre Arts 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!!
Auditions will take place in the theatre at Central Memorial. A parent or caregiver should accompany you to your interview.
- One memorized monologue (approx 1 minute); students can present a conventional monologue from a play. They may also choose to write their own piece.
- Please provide a written copy of your monologue.
- Applicants are encouraged to bring mementos of previous work (pictures, programs, resumes, etc). Videos will not be accepted.
PVA auditions are friendly and supportive. This may be your first audition ever and we want everyone to have a positive and fun experience. We strongly encourage you to begin memorizing your monologue well before your audition date.
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. Teaching at Central gives her great joy and purpose and she considers PVA her “second family.”
Theatre Arts Instructor
Ms. Morrisette’s theatre training includes studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts, D’ell Arte School Of Physical Theatre and the Canadian Mime School. Ms. Morrisette toured extensively with a commedia d’ell arte troupe in the U.S. and performed in many independent theatre productions at the Edmonton, Winnipeg, Victoria Fringe Festivals also the Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver Children’s Festivals. As an artist in education, Ms. Morrisette has worked in W.P Puppet Theatre’s Artist in Residency Program, touring and teaching theatre for young audiences across Alberta. Ms. Morrisette has taught theatre classes and directed for Calgary Young Peoples Theatre. She has been teaching in Central’s PVA Drama program since its inception and it gives her enormous pleasure to work with such dedicated and talented teens as they explore the theatrical world.
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.
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.
Dance and Theatre Arts Instructor
Ms. Vessey is a dance professional who has been training for over twenty years in Jazz, Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Modern, Character, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Funk Styles (including Locking and Popping), House, West African and Musical Theatre. She has studied at world renowned facilities including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Shelley Shearer School of Dance, Harbour Dance Centre, The Source Dance Company, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, and University of Calgary where she received her Bachelor of Arts (English, Dance minor) and a Bachelor of Education.
Corinne continues to perform professionally and has appeared in “Acquiescence” in Soulocentric Festival, 49th Parallel Dance Company’s “Watering Hole,” Michele Moss’ “Where in the World,” The Toy Castle television series, The Source Dance Company’s “Stranded,” Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s “Peter Pan,” and the Juno Awards, to name a few. Corinne’s choreography has won numerous awards, and has appeared in the Soulocentric Festival, multiple Mpact Dance Company productions, Ignite! Festival, Alberta Culture Days, and at the Grande Opening of the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, as well as many other venues. Corinne also is the Artistic Director and founder of Ember Dance Company, a semi-professional contemporary dance company based out of Calgary that has been producing its own feature shows and dance films since its inception in 2012. Corinne is thrilled to be a part of the faculty at Central Memorial High School, and is grateful to be able to share her knowledge, experience, and love of dance with her students.
Sheldon Zandboer is Western Canada’s “best kept secret”. He’s been working behind the scenes on many recordings, theatre projects, song writing projects, jazz concerts, sound design, and film soundtracks. Making a living as a professional musician since 1975 and living in Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Vancouver has enabled him to be one of the most experienced and accomplished keyboardist/pianists in Western Canada. He has performed publicly as well as before members of the British Royal Family, dignitaries, Heads of State internationally. Whether it’s playing jazz or in a Broadway show he’s equally comfortable in just about any genre available. His songwriting has extended into the European pop market and he has composed music for a film that is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. His ground breaking jazz-training book The Tao of Jazz Improvisation, available on Amazon.com, is being used by jazz professionals and students from all over the world. Presently Sheldon is a Jazz Piano Instructor at Mount Royal/Ambrose Universities as well as University of Calgary and still performs throughout western Canada.
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
Duval Lang – Faithless and James and the Giant Peach
Kevin McKendrick – Our Town, West Side Story, Anything Goes and The Third Wave
Reid Spencer – Little Women
Valerie Pearson – Peter Pan the Musical
Eric Rose – The Adding Machine Indivisible
Playwriting / Play Review Workshops
Adrian and Larissa Yanchuk
Joe Norman Shaw
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?
PD 35 is a five credit, self-directed course that does not run during the regular school day. Students will experience a combination of teacher-directed assignments and activities combined with student-directed or on-line projects. PD 35 sessions usually occur at lunch or after school for theatre arts students, and it involves the creation of a final grade 12 portfolio. Students will learn about drama related careers and will attend workshops and meet local artists. All course requirements for PD in the Arts 35 will be completed outside the regular timetable. 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.
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 1970 rock opera with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, sung through with no spoken dialogue.
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 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.
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 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.
A retelling of the story of Cyrano de Bergerac, set in 1620s France.
Written by Strouse and Charnin (adapted from a novel by Thomas Meehan)
A musical production written by Hach, O’Keefe and Benjamin
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.
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 Jason Patrick Rotary
Wedgie tackles the burning political issues of the 21st century and the onset of puberty.
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 Paul Ledoux (based on the novel “Anne of Green Gables”)
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 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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.read more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
by Calgary playwright & composer Ethan Cole
Written and directed by Ellen Chorley, Edmonton Playwright/Director
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.
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.
by Allison Williams
A hilarious gender-bending take on the Scottish play! Everything goes wrong. The witches take over the storytelling, Queen Duncan would rather open a donut franchise than die, Lady M’s a bloodthirsty June Cleaver, and the murderers are preoccupied with creating a commercial for their services.
– By Jonathan Marc Sherman
This one-act dark comedy moves back in time to present memorable moments in the life of Wallace, now eighteen, as he copes with growing up and trying to understand women after finding his mother dead from suicide at the age of six.
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 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.
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:
Academy of Dramatic Arts
– Los Angeles
- Acting – Sarah Swerid
Alberta Theatre Projects
- Griffin Cork, Quinn Contini
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, Kiera Janzen, Issiah Sanghera, Kiana Wu
Mount Royal University
- 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 – Tessa Johns, Ali Froggat
Seattle Pacific University
- Lauren Kelm
Sheridan College – Toronto
- Musical Theatre – Danica Dorais, Izaha Cochran
Southern Alberta Institute
- Broadcasting – Ward Minty, Darcy Waters
St Mary’s University
- Psychology/Acting – Danielle McDougall
- Choreographer – Jayme Ingram
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 – Andrew Simon
- BFA/Music and Drama – Amanda Dickson
University of Lethbridge
- Drama: Jesara Nichol
- Arts Education: Emma Norris
- Drama Education: Sean Gillies, Tyler Grier, Jillian Poulin
BFA /Drama BED/ Drama Ed: Keifer Jennings
University of Utah
- Musical Theatre – Jill Bauer
University of Victoria
- Theatre: Grace Fedorchuk, Alex Moorman, Hannah Faber, Kasia Brytan, Rachel Myers, Taylor Holding, Alex Plouffe, Graham Miles
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
One of the smartest choices I've ever made...
Even if I never accomplish or become all that I want to be, I’ll never stop loving acting and what I’ve been doing everyday of my life for as long as I can remember. Choosing the drama program to complete my high school career was one of the smartest choices I’ve ever made and I’m sure that wherever this next step takes me, PVA has given me everything I need to know to be successful.”
As I leave this program, I feel like an entirely different person...
“Not only have the students in this program developed into strong and able actors and actresses, but also the program has also become an amazing place to learn the skills needed for jobs in real life, and allows the students enrolled in this program to take part in some unbelievable experiences that normally would be virtually impossible. As I leave this program, I feel like an entirely different person, both on the stage and off. This program has allowed me to develop friendships that I will have for life as well as extending my little experience in the world of theatre when I started, to a broader and more professional base if I choose to pursue acting in the future.”
After exploring comedy I am now at home in both styles of theatre
“I think that the most significant change in my performing is that I’ve explored more of my performance ability and am now more confident in what I can do. Before entering the program I would have said I was primarily a dramatic actor, in sharp contrast to my personality in real life, but after exploring comedy over the past three years I am now at home in both styles of theatre. One key moment in my PVA experience was writing and performing a comedic monologue this year, and people loved it. This was the first time that I felt I was able to make people laugh on stage, and I believe that this discovery has improved my overall performing because as resident artist Kevin Mckendrick taught us: you should try and find the humour in every scene that you do.”
I have gained so much from my experiences that will help me not only in acting but in everyday life
“Overall this has been an amazing past three years and I have going to be so sad to leave the program. I have gained so much from my experiences that will help me not only in acting but in every day life as well. I have gained the ability to talk with confidence in front of large audiences with projection and clarity, I have gained creative and I have gained the ability to lead others through our workshops in directing.”
Each aspect that I have learned over the past three years has definitely changed my perspective about theatre
I have experienced so many different aspects of theatre that I didn’t know were there. We did a movement unit in grade ten, collective theatre and forum theatre units in grade eleven, and a Meisner technique workshop in grade twelve. I have also taken part in things such as tech theatre, play writing, directing, and monologue work. Each aspect that I have learned and participated in for the past three years has definitely changed my perspective about theatre. Overall, these three years have had a huge impact on me. I will never forget my high school years because of this program. I am exiting the program with more knowledge to acting, the theatre, and also about myself.”