GCTC unveils improved Education and Learning Programs 

The Great Canadian Theatre Company is back to school with a new initiative to involve students and teachers in the world of theatre.

GCTC’s “fully formed” education and learning programs are intended to serve as an introduction to professional Canadian theatre and add curriculum content, the company said in a media announcement Wednesday.

The person leading the charge education services manager Catherine Ballachey.

“We’ve been dreaming up ways to open our building to the community, and we’ve come up with experiences for everyone from babies to university students,” she said.

These ‘experiences’ will include weekday matinees for six plays in the 2017-18 GCTC season that are designed for student groups and will include post-show talkbacks and tours. Evening bookings will also be available.

The company is specifically programming for young audiences with Young People Theatre’s One Thing Leads to Another (specifically for infants and toddlers) and Green Thumb Theatre’s Still/Falling (which examines how depression and anxiety affect young people).

The after-school youth group, The Hive @ GCTC returns. Aimed at high school and university students, it opens up GCTC and the local theatre community with monthly events and free workshops with theatre professionals. There is also a discount on tickets.

2017-18 Student Matinees 

You Are Happy: A dark comedy about millennial love, sibling loyalty, conformity and an uncomfortably close shave. Grades 11-12. Student Matinee: Oct. 4 at noon.

Ordinary Days: A contemporary musical about embracing change and choosing hope in the Big Apple. Grades 9-12. Student Matinees: Nov. 8 at noon and Nov. 15 at noon.

Young People’s Theatre’s One Thing Leads to Another: The play is the result of two years of research by Maja Ardal into the development of infants and toddlers. The production is a collective collaboration by Ardal, Audrey Dwyer, Mary Francis Moore and Julia Tribe and is developed from the original concept, research and theme by Ardal. Ages: three to 24 months. March 7 to 11 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

How Black Mothers Say I Love You: A story of separation and reconciliation infused with a bold original score that blends gospel, reggae and R&B with classical music. Grades 10-12. Student matinee: March 21 at noon.

Green Thumb Theatre’s Still/Falling: Nina has a great life. She loves her family, she does well in school, and her friends are awesome. But suddenly Nina starts slipping into a dark reality. Grades 8-12. Student matinee: April 3 at 10 a.m. and April 4 at 1 p.m.

Gracie: Gracie is 15 in a polygamous community where she feels increasing pressure to conform. We discover what it’s like to grow up in an uncommon environment. Grades 9-12. Student matinee: May 9 at noon.

The Hive @ GCTC Fall schedule

Sept. 27: Theatre Criticism in the Digital Age with GCTC Resident Critic and co-founder of New Ottawa Critics, Brianna McFarlane.

Oct. 18: Lighting Design with Ordinary Days lighting designer, Seth Gerry.

Nov. 15: Musical Theatre with Ordinary Days music director, Wendy Berkelaar

Dec. 6: Introduction to Improv with Canadian Improv Games Board Chair, Hugh Neilson

For information: education@gctc.ca.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.