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Posted: March 15, 2020

New generations experience the magic of Stage Door

Phil Duchene (top right) with KCA Teachers, (next two rows) UVic/COTR program teacher-candidates and (lower rows) local KCA elementary students.

The University of Victoria (UVic) / College of the Rockies (COTR) Teacher Education candidates, consisting of 31, second year and third year students, were very excited to have had the opportunity to work in Cranbrook’s Stage Door Theatre for 12 three-hour daytime sessions spread over the winter semester (January-March).

The premise of the project was to bring in two new generations; teacher candidates, and elementary students, to experience the magic of drama and stagecraft through two series of classes.

One group explored improvisation and theatre sports, and the other a social justice theme-focused series of microplays collected as ‘More Than a Play’ by David S. Craig from Toronto.

The younger students of Steeples Elementary School and Kootenay Christian Academy were introduced to real literary tools like magical realism and foreshadowing, and drama structures such as forum theatre, conscience alley, and good old hot seating.

All were led by a ‘teacher-in-role’ model of process Drama instruction. The project ended with daytime performances by the elementary students on the Stage Door stage in early March.

College of the Rockies Manager of the University of Victoria, East Kootenay Teacher Education Program, Diana Deardon stated, “Partnering with Cranbrook Community Theatre (CCT) offers our B.Ed. students a wonderfully unique and unprecedented learning experience. The ability to learn, to teach, and to experience drama in a historic theatre is a rare opportunity for our UVic/COTR teacher candidates. One of the best parts of this partnership is that it also allowed our local elementary students to experience drama in an authentic environment due to our in-situ partnerships with our local schools.

“UVic’s East Kootenay Teacher Education Program is very pleased that the first year of this partnership is off to such a strong start, and we look forward to continuing this collaboration for many more years. A big thank you to the CCT, UVic, and COTR for making this idea a reality,”

“Warm thanks go out to the generosity and vision of CCT and COTR leaders who have made this possible. There will be a full reporting article on the work published in the fall in the UK based international National Drama Magazine,” offered Phil Duchene, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Victoria (pictured left).

Cranbrook Community Theatre Society (CCT), stewards of the city-owned Studio/Stage Door heritage building, jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this exceptional community and educational collaboration.

Lead image: Local elementary school students participating and performing at Stage Door. Photos submitted

Cranbrook Community Theatre


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