By Jason Herring, May 14 2015 —
The University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) recently unveiled their program for the 2015–16 season. SCPA Director Bruce Barton says the quality of the upcoming season shows the school’s growth as they enter their third year.
“There’s a wealth of things going on. The school is in an exciting time, and it’s why I came here,” says Barton, who joined the SCPA in January. “It’s a rare school that has dance, drama and music under one roof.”
Performances from these three disciplines make up the SCPA’s upcoming season. The program contains a mix of work by U of C students and pieces brought in by established artists. Some events, like the returning Dance Montage, emphasize collaboration between students and members of the local artistic community.
“Dance Montage is the point at which our [dance] division engages with the community,” Barton says. “It’s also an opportunity for the students to learn who’s out there, what they’re doing and figure out who they’ll be working with when they leave the university.”
In the Dance@Noon and Dance@Night performances, however, both choreography and dancing are left to the students. Barton says that faculty members provide guidance, but students are given artistic freedom when choreographing.
In the drama department, acclaimed Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor is bringing his play Inside to the university. MacIvor, who previously worked with a number of student groups across Canada to create Inside, will work with students at the U of C to adapt the play and create a Calgary-centric version of the piece.
The school’s annual Taking Flight festival will also return, giving students a chance to showcase their work at the end of the year. The festival will be extended this season as Calgary’s Ghost River Theatre company collaborates with students to create a staged piece.
Barton says it’s difficult to choose a highlight from the musical portion of the season. He says the University’s Rozsa Centre is so revered that “musicians from all over the world want to play there.”
One standout from the music program is international award-winning pianist Krzysztof Jablonski. Barton says the Polish musician will be among the most exciting musical performances of the season.
The SCPA will continue to offer the Claim Your Seat program to students over the coming year. The initiative guarantees all U of C students free admission into any SCPA performance. Barton says he hopes more students will take advantage of it this year.
“So many of the performers who are coming are from other places, it’s a rare opportunity. The world is opening up on a stage in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is show up. And you don’t even have to leave campus!”