Fanshawe Launches Summer Arts School
This summer, Fanshawe College will launch its first ever Summer School of the Arts for adults.
Offered through Continuing Education, the adult arts school will offer beginners, hobbyists, and seasoned enthusiasts a range of short-term courses and one-day workshops in the visual, culinary, and performing arts.
"Learning the arts teaches us to broaden our own imaginations, to explore the human aspects that make up our world," says Maja Ardal, a multi-award-winning Ontario actor, playwright, and director who will teach several theatre courses for the summer arts school. "Peforming arts remind us that the body and mind work as one, and that we are far more interesting as people than we realized."
Courses in Photography, Watercolour, Creative Writing, and Culinary skills will be taught at Fanshawe's London campus on Oxford Street, while workshops in Dance and Performing Arts will take place downtown at the College's CitiPlaza site.
"I think there are many people out there who love performing and who might not have followed that dream," says Amy Wright, an acting and dance instructor for the new summer arts programming.
With a list of credits that include choreography for So You Think You Can Dance Canada and the Lotto 6/49 Happy Dance campaign, Wright has quickly become one of Canada's most in-demand choreographers. In her mind, one of the best reasons for the new School of the Arts is the recreational and creative outlet it provides.
"London has a strong [performing arts] subculture but most people are 9-5 jobbers," she acknowledges. "These courses offer something different. They improve strength and fitness, but most importantly, dancing makes you feel great."
Ardal feels the same way about her theatre courses.
"It's almost like bringing back the child in all of us," she says. "We learn to be bold and playful, and we get so caught up in the group activity that we don't even realize the genius of what we are creating. Everybody gets a thrill from this kind of work."
She would know: many of the shows she has written and performed have been published or adapted by others on stage. Perhaps best known for her seven-year role as Mrs. Potts on the Canadian hit show The Road to Avonlea, Ardal has also spent the past 40 years winning local and national awards for thrilling audiences with her own work, including here in London.
"London is well-known for its love of theatre. Community and professional theatre flourish here."
She hopes to continue that trend by encouraging newbies and veterans alike to explore their potential and improve their versatility. Her courses include solo show creation, overcoming writer's block, and physical theatre.
And while Wright and Ardal are also professors in Fanshawe's full-time Theatre Arts program at CitiPlaza, both say the Continuing Education summer arts school meets an entirely different need.
"This is focused training in a short amount of time," says Wright. "Full-time programming is designed to produce performers that are well-rounded in every aspect. The Summer School of the Arts would instead be designed for someone who wants to brush up on previous training and keep fresh and busy over the summer, or for someone who just wants to see if this is for them."
For those with talents or interests outside theatre and dance, the College's summer arts offerings will also include courses in digital photography, creative writing, watercolour painting, on-camera auditioning and acting, and even a one-day culinary exploration of Elgin County's food and wine highlights. Students can choose to take only one course or workshop, or as many as their schedules permit.
Anyone interested in Fanshawe's new Continuing Education Summer School of the Arts should register in person or online by Friday, June 17, 2011. More information, and a complete list of courses, is available online at www.fanshawec.ca/summerarts.
- The first classes start on Monday, July 4, 2011, and the last classes end on Thursday, August 18, 2011, although many
are only a few weeks or a few sessions long;
- In addition to Ardal and Wright, other notable instructors include: Shakespearean expert and Globe Theatre
performer Karen Rickers; Second Apocalypse author and philosophical sci-fi novelist Richard Scott Bakker; and
international film, television, and stage actor and former CTV broadcaster Robin Ward;
- Summer School of the Arts programming can accommodate up to 300 students enrolled in 24 different courses and workshops.