Education Guest Blog: LEAP Wraps up for 2016

The 9th year of the Arts Club’s LEAP (Learning Early About Playwriting) program has just wrapped up to great success. 15 student scripts were read aloud by 6 professional actors on three separate nights (to a combined audience of more than 250 people!) at the Goldcorp Stage.

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Professional actors reading one of the many LEAP scripts presented at the Goldcorp Stage

I was fortunate to watch the journey of these 15 students as they navigated their way through the program from their initial orientation launch day to last Saturday’s awards and adjudication, where many expressed to me how they have grown as playwrights and how much of an impact this program has had on them.

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LEAP students and actors hamming it up after the public presentations

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LEAP Program Coordinator Shawn Macdonald speaking to the audience, prior to the public readings

Our three adjudicators, C.R. Packer, Leanna Brodie, and Hiro Kanagawa, provided thoughtful and insightful feedback to 5 of our young playwrights each of whom were recognized with cash scholarships.

I would like to congratulate all of the students who participated in the program this year and we hope to see you back as part of our 10th year class in the Fall of 2016! Further thanks to our amazing instructors: program leader Shawn Macdonald and program assistant Christine Quintana. And a final thanks to our sponsors, the RBC Emerging Artist Program, the Y.P Heung Foundation, and our patron, Bonnie Mah, for their generous support. This program would not exist without the support of our sponsors and donors.

Thanks to all and on to our next (LEAP) year!

Blog post from Education Coordinator, Kevan Ellis

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Billy Elliot Guest Blog – Matthew Cluff on Maintaining Ballet Technique in Rehearsal

Being a professional ballet dancer throughout the year, it’s been quite a different (but exciting) change of pace for me to get this opportunity to do the role of Older Billy in Billy Elliot with the Arts Club.

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Matthew Cluff












With the demanding rehearsal schedule we’ve had so far, though, it’s been a difficult challenge for me to keep up with my ballet technique, as rehearsals run from 10am to 6pm daily (or even later) and only give me so much time outside of that to do “dancer stuff”!

Normally in a ballet company, you always start your workday with a 90 minute ballet class, simply to maintain and refine your technique from day-to-day and to keep your muscles in shape. However, in the theatre world, ballet class isn’t built into the rigorous schedule and I can’t attend open ballet classes at a studio drop-in due to rehearsal conflicts.

To maintain my technique and dance abilities, I do a combination of cardio, training, and stretching until I can get back to taking ballet classes again. I go to the gym (for cardio and weight-lifting) everyday before rehearsal in order to maintain my lean dancer physique. After that, I ensure I stretch well and do my splits and other exercises for a good length of time to maintain my flexibility and prevent my muscles from getting too tight during these rehearsal periods. If we do rehearse the “Dream Ballet” section on a rehearsal day, I make sure my body is appropriately warm before I start dancing so that I reduce the chances of injuring myself.

Once we get into the run of the shows, things should start getting a little easier for me. As our main schedule will move into the evenings for performances, it’ll allow me to get back to taking open ballet classes at places like Harbour Dance Centre (or other studios of the like) in the mornings, allowing me to get back into full dancer shape – something that I’m definitely looking forward to! Until then, I’ll keep up with this fitness regime so that I can perform Older Billy to the best of my ability and keep my body to the standard needed for a professional ballet dancer.

Guest blog post by Matthew Cluff

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Another California Wine Fair Fundraising Success

On April 25, Vancouver’s California Wine Fair raised over $70,000 in support of Arts Club Theatre Company’s many artistic programs and initiatives.

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Entrance to the East Ballroom, just prior to our guests’ arrival.

Guests sampled over 400 wines from 150 top producers for an unparalleled wine tasting experience, and silent auction bids brought in more than half of the evening’s proceeds—thanks to our largest selection of packages to date!

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One of the many friendly suppliers who served unique and premium wines to our guests.

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Artistic Director’s Circle members Leslie Lee and John Murphy (R) with their friends.

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Artistic Director’s Circle members Lyrica and Jack Bradshaw, reviewing the 400 wine selections available for sampling.

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The Arts Club’s Artistic Managing Director Bill Millerd with California Wine Fair’s Rick Slomka.

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Arts Club staff processing sales from our largest silent auction to date!

Thanks to all who made the event one of our biggest and best fundraisers of the season!

This successful fundraiser was also made possible thanks to generous donations from our presenting sponsor BFL Canada, and additional sponsors A&B Rentals, California Wines, Konet Systems, Siena Restaurant, U.S. Consulate General Vancouver, William Hill Estate Winery, and Winestains Wine Academy.

All photos by Mark Halliday. Click HERE for the full event photo album.

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