Posted: September 26, 2020.
This notice provides an update on current Act One activities.
Due to the COVID-19 situation in the GTA, as of late September, and uncertainty over what may be next in the coming weeks, Act One made the decision to further postpone the start of classes until after the Thanksgiving long weekend. This means that classes would now start as of Tuesday, October 13th (as the school is typically closed Sat to Mon for the holiday weekend).
This decision will no doubt be disappointing to students (and equally so to all of the staff here at the school), but it was felt to be the sensible, safe and ultimately most positive course of action for the long-term benefit of the Act One community of students, their families and school staff.
While the staff are eagerly looking forward to meeting the families and teaching all the students who have put their confidence and faith in the school, during these difficult times, Act One does not take this trust lightly. In our approach to drama instruction, we have always put the students’ experience first and in this current pandemic, that approach also extends to a commitment to ensuring everyone’s safety.
Act One remains confident in the protocols that have been put in place here at the school to keep everyone safe, but we would be dishonest if we claimed that we could guarantee 100% prevention. In addition, realistically, the reliability of even the best safety precautions, will diminish as the risk they are designed to fight, grows. In the current environment, with positive test rates elevated and no sense of where this trend may go or what impact it may have, Act One felt the school’s best safety measure was prudence and to extend our pause for further observation.
From a teaching perspective, the loss of another two weeks will obviously have an impact on the usual class experience but for the most part, it is something we can adapt to quite easily. Act One already has a number of classes that run over a 32-week program (instead of the normal 36) . We also have typically allowed late start students to join classes up until Thanksgiving in previous years, so reducing this year to 32 weeks, still allows us to preserve the normal core program for all students.
This delay actually allows the school to remain focused on its commitment of value to all the students’ families. If we did gamble and start the week of September 26th, and then were forced to suspend operations after a couple of weeks, even if we could resume at a later point, this initial few weeks would only have to be repeated, thereby wasting students’ time and families’ resources. Act One and its staff prefer to wait and start when we are confident the classroom learning experience can be safely and enjoyably maintained over an extended time period.
From a logistical and administrative viewpoint, the strain on the school is also much less. While there would obviously be a financial hit to the school from this delay, of greater concern is the workload impact a short start, followed by a second suspension would impose on the school’s ability to focus on the class by class needs of the students and their instructors to continue to deliver a positive experience for all.
With respect to the registration process, there is no impact on current students. Once classes have started, revised course fee worksheets will be issued for each student, adjusted to pro-rate fees for the new 32-week school year. As school policy is not to require any advance payment until a student has come and tried their class, this will not impact most families. For those who have already submitted payment for the coming year. Act One will not be processing any e-transfers or cheques until after classes have started. Should the reduced year generate a credit on the account, this will be refunded.
The school staff and I hope the above explains the school’s reasons behind this decision and helps offset any disappointment this further delay may cause.
As a result of the delay in starting classes until after Thanksgiving, the Fall Term registration deadline has now also been pushed back. As long as there is still space in a class, we can now accept new/returning student registrations up until Friday, October 30/20.
Please note that as part of our COVID-19 safety protocols, all classes have had their maximum sizes reduced to allow for maximum physical distancing flexibility. While greatly enhancing our ability to deliver our programs in a safe environment, it does mean that classes will fill faster. Please keep this fact in mind, when considering registration plans.
Please note that the Monday 8:00-10:00pm Adult Theatre for Ages 19+ class is now FULL. We can not accept any more registrations for this class at this time. Anyone interested in this program can request to be put on a waiting list, in case a spot does open up in the coming weeks.
Act One is happy and excited to announce that Leslie Durward, will be joining the Act One teaching staff for the 2020/21 school year. She will be taking on the Wednesday classes: Theatre for Ages 10-11, Theatre for Ages 12-13 and Theatre for Ages 14-18.
Leslie is a Toronto-based theatre/film artist who graduated from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, specializing in acting and directing, with a French Language Minor. She has a love for and is heavily involved in theatre and film productions as cast, crew and/or exec. Her philosophy is that learning is never done and she has travelled to examine theatre in Avignon, France, and study on-camera acting at LAMDA in London, England. Now she continues her learning and performance journey here in the GTA.
To learn more about Leslie, please feel free to visit her bio on the school’s Staff page.
If anyone does wish to discuss the above or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
My instructors and I wish everyone a safe and successful passage through this challenging point in our lives.