Jennifer Kelly, Dean Chadwick and Miranda Murphy (from left) are among the instructors offering classes as part of the Harbour City Alliance Society’s new Inspirations program (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Jennifer Kelly, Dean Chadwick and Miranda Murphy (from left) are among the instructors offering classes as part of the Harbour City Alliance Society’s new Inspirations program (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Harbour City Theatre Alliance launches new arts education programming

Registration for new COVID-19-conscious ‘Inspirations’ program now underway

The Harbour City Theatre Alliance is finding ways to offer arts education in a pandemic.

Starting Oct. 21 registration is open for HCTA’s new visual and performing arts education program, Inspirations. The program features all-ages in-person and remote classes on acting, dancing and painting, with classes set to begin in November.

“We’ve come up with a different kind of system where it’s more we’re teaching what we’re really passionate about … as opposed to, ‘OK you need to learn this and this and this and then you can take the next class,’” said Dean Chadwick, who teaches an acting course. “Because that’s not the type of system we’re setting up. It’s not about taking one to take the next one, it’s more of, ‘You want to learn about this? Come check it out.’”

Chadwick said the first set of classes will start in mid-November and run four weeks before Christmas, with another round of classes planned for the new year. He said he and fellow instructors Miranda Murphy and Jennifer Kelly started Inspirations partly as a way to support artists who have seen work dry up as a result of COVID-19.

“Right now as a performer it’s really hard. All our contracts are gone. We’re sitting back going, ‘Hmm, what do we do?’” Chadwick said. “So this seems to be the most reasonable way of keeping people employed, sharing their passions and having fun and hopefully getting students a little amped up.”

Right now there are no singing classes due to COVID-19, but Chadwick said that will be offered in the future.

“We’ve got too many people who are trained in that area not to share,” he said.

“And too many people who are dying to sing safely,” Murphy added.

The Harbour City Theatre has put in place new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. The facility now provides sanitizer at the door, floor arrows are in place to guide visitors and seating capacity has been reduced to 26 with “bubble” seating available. Streaming equipment is in place to allow for students to tune in from home and Chadwick said they’ve also acquired a “contraption” that destroys germs using a type of ultraviolet light.

“This works here perfectly because it doesn’t get anything wet,” Chadwick said. “You don’t have to spray your equipment, it keeps it safe and lasts longer.”

Kelly, who teaches speech and dramatic arts, said Inspirations aims to restore some of the enjoyment that comes from group-based artistic activities as that has been largely absent this year due to limitations on gatherings.

“Focusing on inspiring people and bringing joy back to our lives is a really important aspect for all of us, especially theatre people,” she said. “We’re such a community. Everything we do is communal. It’s about group and we’ve been missing that so much.”

For more information about Inspirations and to sign up, click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local poet and VIU professor Sonnet L’Abbé wrote and performed a song as part of the city’s Reimagine Nanaimo campaign. (Photo courtesy City of Nanaimo/Port Theatre)
Poet pens song as part of city’s Reimagine Nanaimo campaign

Sonnet L’Abbé encourages a friend to move to the city in ‘Nazaneen: A Song for Nanaimo’

Const. Joshua Waltman brings knowledge gained from working with people experiencing homelessness in Surrey to his new role as the RCMP’s mental health liaison officer in Nanaimo where he will work with people from across society who find themselves struggling with mental health crisis. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo RCMP’s mental health liaison says his role will take persistence and resilience

Const. Joshua Waltman talks about limiting anxiety and gaining trust of people in mental crises

Janice Perrino, Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation CEO, holds information brochures for the Light the Trees campaign, part of an effort to raise $5 million for the new intensive care unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Million-dollar donation has Light the Trees campaign off to a bright start in Nanaimo

Windsor Plywood Foundation supports Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation

Regional District of Nanaimo will be receiving $1.17 million from the B.C. government in COVID-19 safe restart grant money. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo directors getting started on budgeting decisions

Proposed tax requisitions for 2021 range from 7.3-per cent increase to 2.2-per cent decrease

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson takes her oaths of office virtually on Thursday. (B.C. Government YouTube screen shot)
Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson named B.C.’s mental health and addictions minister

Malcolmson succeeds Judy Darcy, who did not seek re-election

Police in Nanaimo never know what they’ll encounter when called upon to check on the well-being of people. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP find ‘heart-breaking’ circumstances during wellness checks

Police offer sampling of outcomes from well-being checks over recent weeks

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read