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Summerside's College of Piping shuts down theatre arts program

The College of Piping in Summerside has announced the suspension of its theatre arts program, citing the impact of the pandemic.
The College of Piping in Summerside has announced the suspension of its theatre arts program, citing the impact of the pandemic. - Bradley Works
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

The College of Piping is temporarily shutting down its theatre arts program, citing the impact of the pandemic.

The college says in a release that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has brought much of the performing arts community to a standstill.

Venues holding hundreds of people in enclosed spaces, the college notes, do not allow for the social distancing required to keep communities safe.

“Since our theatre arts program requires singing and close proximity of students to be effective, combined with concerns over the financial viability of the program, the College of Piping is cancelling its theatre arts program classes in acting, musical theatre, improv and art effective immediately,’’ the release stated.

Due to the current restrictions, the student production of Grease which was originally scheduled for April 2020 and had been postponed, has also been cancelled. This is the second theatre arts program in the province to suspend classes this coming school year. Holland College recently announced it is suspending its dance performance and theatre performance programs among other courses this fall.

Arts student Lindsay Barton was offended to learn via a letter that carrying on with the theatre arts program is currently not financially feasible for the College of Piping.

“To have an establishment like the College of Piping refer to one of their offered programs as not financially feasible begs us to contemplate the question: can we only judge art by its financial feasibility,’’ says Barton.

“What about the countless hours of rehearsal, prep time (and) community building these students did in order to do something they love? Does this time count for nothing if it doesn’t carry a price tag?’’

The college added that it remains committed to “uplifting the arts in our community’’ while being socially conscious and following recommendation guidelines set out by our dedicated Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Morrison,’’ the college added.

The college is prepared to proceed with taking registrations for our 2020/2021 semester starting September in great Highland bagpipes, pipe band drumming, step dance, fiddle, intro to dance, ballet, jazz, hip hop and acro.

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