Performing arts school takes show on the road

Uptown welcomes Oak Bay-based Canadian College of Performing Arts

If you’ve always wanted to take a screen test, now’s your chance.

It’s also a chance for members of the public to try an acting class, belt out a show tune or even let their inner rhythms emerge as they move their way through a class in jazz dance, tap or even ballet.

It’s all part of a free event hosted by the Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA) to mark its 15th anniversary. The activities will take place on Saturday, Sept. 22 at Uptown where they will be spread throughout the entire retail complex.

For those who don’t want to get in on the act, the event will offer live performances by emerging artists who are currently students at the college. There will also be improv performances, demonstrations of stage fighting, clowns and roving entertainers of all kinds.

“We want to raise awareness of performing arts here in Victoria,” said Stevan Seltzer, marketing manager for the CCPA. “We have so many incredibly talented people here.”

Seltzer also wants to raise awareness about the college. “When we started out, we were just this little (arts) school in Victoria. We’ve become so much more now. … We’re really very well known.”

In fact, the CCPA has grown to where it annually conducts auditions across Canada for prospective students who want to come to Victoria to study. The best of those who try out are granted a spot at the college. “We bring millions of dollars to Victoria every year through our students and our programs. We’ve attracted students from as far away as Mexico and South Korea,” said Selzer.

Still, the college acknowledges that it could never have reached its current level of success without the support of the community in Victoria. Selzer says that the celebration at Uptown will be a chance to thank the community for its support and give something back to Victoria.

An example of the support enjoyed by the college can be seen in the way the businesses of Uptown have responded to the upcoming event. “Nearly all of them have contributed space, materials or prizes for our celebration,” said Seltzer. “And we’ve pretty much been given the whole area for the event, including the unleased indoor spaces. It’s fantastic.”

Seltzer hopes to attract thousands of people to the anniversary party and hopes that a few of those who attend might discover their own hidden passion for the performing arts.

“We have alumni – like Alana Hibbert, Carly Rae Jepson and others – people who have gone on to great careers,” said Seltzer. “We’ve helped a lot of gifted people realize their goals to be performers, teachers and arts leaders in their communities. There’s no reason why the next big star might not be discovered at our event.”

The anniversary celebration, which runs all day Saturday, promises a carnival atmosphere, complete with face painting, refreshments, prizes and entertainment.

More information on the event and the CCPA go to ccpacanada.com.