Olympic Ceremonies Director Returns To Winnipeg, 2/13

Olympic Ceremonies Director Returns To Winnipeg, 2/13

"We launched our careers from here and so can you," say nationally renowned director/choreographer Jacques Lemay and TV star Janis Dunning.

Lemay and Dunning moved to Winnipeg early in their careers. Montreal-born Lemay was recruited by the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, while British Columbian Dunning was recruited by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB). They met here, married here, had their children here and launched international careers as performers and directors of stage, major events and television. Lemay went on to choreograph and teach for the RWB and he became director/choreographer for the Olympics opening ceremonies as well as Artistic Director of Charlottetown Festival and many theatres across the country.

Dunning started the Musical Theatre program at the RWB. "I had the privilege of teaching many wonderful young people including Jayne Paterson, Jeremy Kushnier (both became Broadway stars) and Scott Bairstow (TV and film star) and I found Ma-Anne Dionisio at Tech/Voc High." Dionisio became world renowned, starring in Miss Saigon. More fabulous young people were featured in Dunning's national TV series "Let's Go!" and "The Rockets" which were made at CKY TV here in Winnipeg for 18 years.

"We got a great start here. There are wonderful people and great talents in Manitoba" says Lemay. "And I am thrilled to visit here and see dear friends and colleagues."

Lemay and Dunning's careers led them across the country from one success to another and eventually they settled in Victoria, BC, where they opened the Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA).

"The college is celebrating 20 years of success" says Lemay. Through the years young talents from Manitoba have attended the college to study acting, singing, dancing and career management. Many have gone on to Broadway contracts (Sam Strasfeld) and the Stratford Festival (Galen Johnson). Others became recording artists, directors and performers across the nation.

"We bring Canadians from all regions of our country to one place to work together and create together," explains college Lemay, "As a result our students develop a national awareness of the Canadian theatre scene and create nationwide bonds with their peers which will assist them in their future careers."

CCPA believes in providing affordable education for deserving students. The College is owned and operated by the Canadian Heritage Arts Society (CHAS), a not for profit charitable organization. Canadian students receive a tuition subsidy from CHAS, totaling nearly half the cost of the training.

"Often students can't afford to travel to auditions," says Lemay, "so we travel to them. It also gives us the opportunity to meet our potential candidates in their environment and discover the wealth of talent in our country."

Lemay recalls one young man who auditioned many years ago: "He was at a career crossroads. The interview portion of the audition was essential to his decision to join the College. He decided to come, somewhat reluctantly, with the intention to complete just one year. Well," says Lemay, "he was so impressed by the quality and intensity of the program as well as the highly respected faculty that he stayed for the second year. He's now a professional actor and director. I recently had the great fortune of seeing him in a lead role in the Citadel Theatre's production of Shakespeare in Love in Edmonton."

Many other graduates have gone to Broadway, London, Toronto, Stratford, Shaw, and Charlottetown, and have done films, television, and recordings. Alumna Carly Rae Jepsen described her time at CCPA as one of the "best memories of my life."

CCPA offers three intensive programs with high-calibre instruction that is aligned with the needs of the industry: Enriched Performing Arts Diploma, Performing Arts Certificate, and "Company C" Studio Ensemble Diploma. The curriculum is designed to give students a strong foundation for a career in the performing arts. "Company C" graduates may transfer to Douglas College for an additional year to complete a Bachelor of Performing Arts.

CCPA offers three intensive programs with high-calibre instruction that is aligned with the needs of the industry: Enriched Performing Arts Diploma, Performing Arts Certificate, and "Company C" Studio Ensemble Diploma. The curriculum is designed to give students a strong foundation for a career in the performing arts. "Company C" graduates may transfer to Douglas College for an additional year to complete a Bachelor of Performing Arts. Visit ccpacanada.com/apply to book an audition.

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