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Performing arts classes return to St. Albert

This year, programs mix online and in-person approaches

The City of St. Albert’s Cultural Services performing arts programs have been a source of joy for many youth and adults.

This year, classes are using new strategies to reduce the spread of the virus.

Janice Flower, artistic director of St. Albert Children’s Theatre (SACT), explains that classes will run adopting a blended approach. They will start online and shift to an in-person delivery when it is safe.

“When COVID first hit we found ourselves in a holding pattern. We investigated what others were doing. The team armed itself with all kinds of information that would be very helpful and we’re hitting the ground running,” said Flower.

The organizing team has booked 37 creative programs that run the gamut from babies to seniors, amateur to semi-professional.

In past years, musical theatre classes were the program’s foundation. Through it, parents discovered their children built self-confidence, improved communication skills, learned to articulate better and developed listening skills.

This season’s online format has allowed presenters to add several new and different programs. For instance, Kate Ryan, artistic director of Plain Jane Theatre and a master puppeteer, is offering three puppetry classes for children three to 13 years starting Sept. 22.

Ryan also accumulated an encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway musicals and offers a musical theatre class on Building Your Own Cabaret for the 19-plus crowd.

“Kate does it so well and she’s so smart about it. With people at home, it gives them the opportunity to put on their own show,” Flower said.

Another exciting new class aimed at movie buffs is Acting On Film for actors 15 plus beginning Oct. 13. John B. Lowe, SACT artistic director from 1991 to 1995, now based in Winnipeg has been tapped to lead the class.

Lowe is an actor, director and filmmaker and worked in the industry for 30 years. He is also a popular character often seen in Hallmark Channel’s specials.

“John is an incredible talent and we are very lucky he is working with us. I reached out to him and we’ll be using Zoom, our virtual platform which lends itself very well to a class of this type.”

In addition, the roster includes musical theatre dance classes, acting, improvisation, tap dancing, singing and pre-professional theatre dance classes.

Several of the most popular classes in past years have been Noreen Jani’s stage makeup classes. This year, they will likely start online just prior to Halloween.

“Noreen started the stage makeup classes because a lot of students don’t get stage makeup training.”

This year she offers two one-day classes on Halloween makeup. It’s Spooky, It’s Witchy, It’s Halloween is aimed at the 13 plus crowd while Gross Your Parents shows eight to 12-year-olds techniques to create delightful scars, scabs and oozing puss.

Jani also features Strike a Pose! It’s All About Glam, an adult class delivering an over-exaggerated glam look that Flower compares to “Cosplay stuff.”

Flower is the first person to admit the ideal conditions for performing arts programs are in-person sessions.

“But we’re taking a blended approach. We’re starting on Zoom. We want to assure the numbers stay where they are. We don’t want to start in-class sessions before back-to-school starts.”

“In four weeks, we’ll look at the situation and when we feel comfortable with it, we’ll move back to in-person classes.”

Contact [email protected] for all questions related to performing arts classes. To view classes or register visit

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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