Posted: May 28, 2021.
This notice provides an update on Act One's plans for classes in June 2021, its 2021 Theatre Summer Camp programs, announces the launch of the school's new, completely redesigned Student Gallery section of the Act One website, as well as the availability of all the 2021 Winter Cabaret student performance videos.
Last week the Ontario government announced their staged plan for re-opening the province. We are now able to advise how we believe this plan affects Act One June classes and upcoming July/August Theatre Summer Camps.
As with past announcements, organizations such as Act One tend to fall into grey areas and thus it can initially be unclear as to where the school’s programs fall. After investigating and reviewing things, it appears that Act One classes again, as in the summer of 2020, align with the day camp criteria. This means that we are extremely happy to announce that we can resume in-person classes, as of Tuesday, June 15th and we are again able to offer four (4) two-week theatre summer camp sessions this summer.
Given the 3-stage reopening format, it does however mean that all our programs will have to adhere to the relevant guidelines outlined in each stage. Act One programs will need to be modified to ensure this alignment. It also means that Act One July Theatre Summer Camp sessions will likely differ from those in August, as it appears that July will be under Stage 1 or 2 and August likely under Stage 2 or 3.
In line with Stage 1 of the provincial re-opening plan, Act One classes can resume in-person instruction as of Tuesday, June 15th. From that point onward, all remaining classes for 2020/21 courses will be in-person. Act One will continue with on-line sessions prior to that date. Current scheduling calls for all classes to end no later than June 30th.
While later than we had hoped, Act One and its staff still aim to provide all students with the opportunity for some form of year end live performance. Given the more limited in-person June time frame we are now facing (initial hopes had been for a June 3rd start date), we may have to scale back what format these live performances take, but we still feel this is more beneficial for the students than another on-line performance experience.
Unless an individual class is able to extend a week or two into July, all students and their families should plan for their year end performance date to be during the period of Thursday, June 24th to Wednesday June 30th. At this point, while likely, we can not guarantee that the performance will be on the actual class date, only that it will be during this period. More information will be provided in early June.
The one exception to the above is the On Camera classes. As they will be filming their class short films during these final two weeks and we will require a couple of weeks for editing after filming is wrapped, a final event for these two classes will have to be TBD at this point. We made this decision because we felt it much more important to give them maximum flexibility in filming, rather than rushing everything to hit an artificial end of June film screening deadline.
Live audiences are still not permitted, so all year end performances will be video-taped again, like the Winter Cabaret was. Performance videos will also be made available for on-line streaming on the school website’s new Student Gallery section and as show discs. Given that the gallery functionality is now complete, I do not envision it taking nearly as long for the year end videos to be made available.
In the coming week, we will be sending out class-specific follow-up e-mails with more details and potential options for each individual class.
I am happy to announce that the student performance videos from the 2021 Winter Cabaret are now available. This includes all stage and musical theatre performances, the two on-line Improv shows and the two On Camera short films.
These will be available in two formats: On-line streaming and show discs (blu-ray or DVD). On-line streaming is available immediately. The show discs will be available to all students upon their return to in-person classes, later in June.
To view and stream any of the 2021 Winter Cabaret videos please visit the new Act One Student Gallery section of the school website.
Each student who participated in the 2021 Winter Cabaret is also entitled to one free copy of the Winter Cabaret show disc. It can be either DVD or blu-ray format (student preference). Any students who wish additional copies can request them at a cost of $4/DVD and $5/blu-ray. For those Fall Term students who were unable to continue into the Winter Term, please contact the school to make arrangements to collect your show disc.
I apologize for the delay in making these performance videos available. A large part of the delay was due to the complete redesign of the Student Gallery section of the school’s website. The project ended up being a lot more involved and complex than initially anticipated and consumed a lot more time than planned. While the delay is disappointing, the reason I stuck with it is that I felt, with the students being deprived of the rewards of a live audience experience when performing, the least I could do to acknowledge all their work was to make every effort to allow them to present their performances in as visually professional a manner as possible.
Act One is excited to again be able to offer a Theatre Summer Camp program this summer. As in pre-pandemic years, we will be offering four 2-week sessions. These will be:
On-line registration and camp details are now available via the Camp section of the Act One school website
All sessions will require some common modification for the health safety of campers and staff, as well as to align with the relevant re-opening stage guidelines. At the present time, it appears that July will almost certainly be at least Stage 1, with a strong possibility of being at Stage 2, while August should be at least Stage 2 and hopefully Stage 3. This means that July camp sessions likely will also differ in some important ways from those offered in August.
While these may change, depending upon the actual implementation of the three re-opening stages over the next few months, at present these key changes for 2021 are anticipated to be:
Act One is excited to announce that it has updated its Student Gallery section to enable on-line video streaming for all student performance recordings.
This redesign was undertaken in recognition that on-line viewing is replacing DVD and blu-ray as the main means of viewing video. It will also give current and previous Act One students and campers a more professional looking viewing platform, that both honours all their work, dedication and enthusiasm, and provides their families and friends with an easily accessible option for celebrating and reliving those moments.
Given the very large Act One back catalogue of student and camper performance videos (over 400 separate or combined event clips), it will unfortunately take a while for me to bring everything on-line. I have started with a few select items and plan to add a few more items every week or two. When I reach significant new content milestones, I will send out e-mail updates to any current or previous members of the Act One family who may find them of interest.
Initially, the following sections are currently available in the new Student Gallery:
In accordance with Durham Region Health guidelines and to do its part to keep its teaching staff, students and their extended families safe as this pandemic hopefully enters its final months, Act One will continue with its previously implemented safety protocols for both its remaining 2020/21 classes and upcoming 2021 Theatre Summer Camp sessions. While it is impossible to guarantee 100% effectiveness, Act One is confident that these measures, in combination with current vaccination efforts, represent an effective and reasonable approach to balancing health and safety while maintaining a positive drama experience.
We hope the details below help current students and their families feel comfortable and safe with the planned resumption on in-person classes in June.
If anyone wishes to discuss the above or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
My instructors and I look forward to seeing all the students again, in-person, in a couple of weeks and wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer season as we hopefully enter into the final phase of the pandemic.