Fifty-one students from the Canadian College of Performing Arts, their mentors and their instructors will ensure the show goes on despite the ongoing pandemic.
Undaunted by the news that COVID-19 would bring their rehearsals for Disney’s Newsies to a halt – at least in the traditional sense – four weeks before its scheduled engagement at the McPherson Playhouse, the Oak Bay-based theatre school staff and students crafted a modern solution.
“We are incredibly proud of the staff and students involved who have fully embraced the challenge of transitioning a live intimate art form to the digital world with some surprising outside-the-box solutions,” said Caleb Marshall, CCPA managing artistic director.
The year-end musical is a core component of the Diploma Program’s required performance hours. Determined to fulfill that educational objective the production and creative team created a new performance experience with a digital alternative.
Director-Choreographer Jessica Hickman and Music Director Heather Burns came up with a new method of creating and capturing work that had already been rehearsed by the show’s youthful cast, now in isolation in their homes from coast to coast.
“Managing these types of challenges and being required to think creatively to find alternate solutions for going forward is an invaluable lesson we hope they will carry with them throughout their careers,” said Burns, also the director of education and programming.
With the support of Technical and Production Director RJ Peters and Video Editor Pedro Siquieria, the students and creative team captured a digital musical through a fusion of audio, video and drone footage from 51 students.
A short video of the students’ cover of Seize the Day from Newsies was released online at ccpacanada.com on April 25.