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Performing Arts College, with roots in Charlottetown, holding auditions in Halifax Friday

Scene from “Wintertime,” a Canadian College of Performing Arts production.
Scene from “Wintertime,” a 2017 Canadian College of Performing Arts production. - Submitted

HALIFAX, N.S. – Jacques Lemay, former artistic director of the Charlottetown Festival, returns to the East Coast this week to host auditions for the Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA). The post-secondary training institution, co-founded by Lemay and Janis Dunning, has its roots in Charlottetown.

Lemay and Dunning created and directed the Confederation Centre Young Company from 1993 to 1997, featuring their famous show “Spirit of a Nation.” This program engaged 30 young performing artists and was augmented with a summer training program.

This successful program became the foundation for the full-time national training institution: the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, B.C.

CCPA is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the return of Lemay to the college helm. Lemay is thrilled to lead the auditions for this prestigious college in Halifax, Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at DANSpace-on-Grafton (1531 Grafton St.).

“We bring Canadians from all regions of our country to one place to work together and create together,” explains Lemay. “As a result, our students develop a national awareness of the Canadian theatre scene and create nationwide bonds with their peers which will assist them in their future careers.”

Scene from the Canadian College of Performing Arts production of “A Pirate’s Quest.”
Scene from the Canadian College of Performing Arts production of “A Pirate’s Quest.”

CCPA believes in providing affordable education for deserving students. The College is owned and operated by the Canadian Heritage Arts Society (CHAS), a not-for-profit charitable organization. Canadian students receive a tuition subsidy from CHAS covering nearly half the cost of the training.

“Often students can’t afford to travel to auditions,” says Lemay, “so we travel to them. It also gives us the opportunity to meet our potential candidates in their environment and discover the wealth of talent in our country.”

Lemay recalls one young man who auditioned many years ago: “He was at a career crossroads. The interview portion of the audition was essential to his decision to join the college. He decided to come, somewhat reluctantly, with the intention to complete just one year. Well,” says Lemay, “he was so impressed by the quality and intensity of the program as well as the highly respected faculty that he stayed for the second year. He’s now a professional actor and director. I recently had the great fortune of seeing him in a lead role in the Citadel Theatre’s production of ‘Shakespeare in Love’ in Edmonton.”

Many other graduates have gone to Broadway, London, Toronto, Stratford, Shaw, and Charlottetown, and have done films, television, and recordings. Alumna Carly Rae Jepsen described her time at CCPA as one of the “best memories of my life.”

CCPA offers three intensive programs with high-calibre instruction that is aligned with the needs of the industry: Enriched Performing Arts Diploma, Performing Arts Certificate, and “Company C” Studio Ensemble Diploma. The curriculum is designed to give students a strong foundation for a career in the performing arts. “Company C” graduates may transfer to Douglas College for an additional year to complete a Bachelor of Performing Arts.

Visit to book an audition.

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