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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 21, No. 4 December 2015

Higher Arts Education News

by Kiersten van Vliet / December 1, 2015

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The training studio at the École nationale de cirque. Photo Sylvie-Ann Paré

Circus Preparatory Programs for Students

Montréal’s École nationale de cirque (National Circus School), the only state-funded school of its kind in North America, is offering preparatory programs in primary schools as well as circus studies for high school students. So far there are five partner schools for the 2016 school year: primary schools Wilfrid-Bastien and Saint-Arsène and high schools Saint-Antoine-de-Saint-Exupéry, Edouard-Montpetit, and De Mortagne. This follows an analysis by Concordia circus scholar Dr. Patrick Leroux published in University Affairs earlier this year that highlighted a lack of physical activity and “physical literacy” in schools. Circus, he states, is a way to loosen the sports model of movement in schools “so [kids] don’t always feel like they’re in gym class.” Québec is currently leading the way for the emerging field of circus studies at all levels of education.

Developments from the Canadian Music Theatre Project

Next month, Come From Away, a new musical by Toronto’s Irene Sankoff and David Hein, opens at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. The critically acclaimed show has a direct link to Sheridan College Institute of Technology in Oakville, Ontario. The work is the first show developed through Sheridan College’s Canadian Music Theatre Project, which workshops new Canadian musicals with fourth-year students in the undergraduate program in musical theatre. International commercial interest in the show arose in 2013 when Sankoff and Hein took the show to Broadway’s National Alliance of Musical Theatre Festival. Sheridan’s Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance Class of 2016 will workshop four new musicals this season: Senza Luce by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, Atlantis by Matthew Lee Robinson, 33 1/3 by Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey, and Leading Lady by John Wimbs and Anthony Bastianon.

Emily Carr University Honoured

Emily Carr University in British Columbia recently received a prestigious 2015 Red Dot Design award. It is recognized as the ninth best school in the world in the field of Design. Notably, Emily Carr came in above London’s Royal College of Art and New York’s Pratt Institute. Emily Carr was the only Canadian institution named in the rankings.

Earlier in the year, the government of British Columbia announced that the Emily Carr Centre for Design Innovation and Entrepreneurship would receive a $2.1 million grant. This one-time funding initiative will support the start-up and program costs of the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, BC, and will help provide education and training for design and manufacturing of wood products.

Cartoonist to Take Residence at Windsor University

For the first time in the history of Windsor University, Ontario, the English Department will host a cartoonist in residence, reflecting a growing acceptance of comics as a field of study in the academy. Scott Chantler, an Ontario-born illustrator, is the author of Two Generals (nominated for two Eisner Awards, two Joe Shuster Awards, and the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award for Non-Fiction) and Northwest Passage (nominated for an Eisner Award, two Harvey Awards, three Joe Shuster Awards, and a Doug Wright Award). Chantler recently defended his craft in a blog post: “Yes, Cartoonists Are Writers,” saying, “Yes, it’s a visual medium, but it’s a visual storytelling medium in which the art is the text and has to be ‘read’ just like the words do. In the same way that prose writers ‘paint with words,’ cartoonists ‘write with pictures.'"
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