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A scene from Broadway Lights, one of the recent shows presented by the Canadian College of Performing Arts.

For about 75 fortunate students each year, the Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA) in Victoria, British Columbia, provides equal exposure to acting, voice and dance through individualized curriculums. Along with rigorous studies, students perform in public events with professionals that have included the Victoria Symphony, David Foster and Josh Groban.

More than 650 students have graduated since the college’s launch in 1998, including singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen, who describes her time there as among “the best memories of my life.”

Many graduates have performed on Broadway and been featured in major productions that include the Stratford and Shaw festivals, Jesus Christ Superstar, Miss Saigon and Mama Mia.

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The generous contributions of donors subsidize 50 per cent of tuition and make it possible for the college to deliver many outreach programs. “We believe that theatre and the arts should be accessible to all, especially those who want to dedicate their lives to it,” says managing artistic director Caleb Marshall. “We want to ensure our students have more freedom when they enter the profession, without shouldering a substantial financial burden.”

This in turn provides more opportunity for graduates to give back to their communities, he notes. “Volunteerism is at our core, because to live life as an artist, we have to first live truthfully as people. We instill this in our students so that their work also gives voice to the under-represented in our society. We’re creating the next cultural leaders; versatile performers who can not only participate but actively contribute.”

The college’s mission is preparing students to be motivated, self-employed businesses as well as inspired, confident artists who illuminate the human condition, he adds.

The TELUS Victoria Community Board is one of the college’s community giving supporters. Chair Mel Cooper says, “TELUS wants to help young people prepare for their future careers. For a career in theatre, television and other media, CCPA provides a rare opportunity. You walk into the college and the people there are just so upbeat – it’s clear how much they love what they’re doing.”

Among many other initiatives, TELUS donations have financed the preparation of professional audition materials for graduating students seeking managers to launch their careers. “CCPA has a record of success,” says Mr. Cooper. “The quality of the teaching is so high that 80 per cent of students are working professionally within one year of graduation. I call it a job creator as well as a college.”


Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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