Nick Heffelfinger

Canadian College of Performing arts brings some Sense and Sensibility to St. Ann’s Academy

Oak Bay-based students tackle a new look at Jane Austen class

Oak Bay-based acting students from across Canada will take over the chapel at St. Ann’s Academy with a never-before-seen adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

“Jane Austen has written a truly spectacular story about finding the right person for you. The two couples that we want and ache to be together are [together] and it’s uplifting. It was a perfect story for these young actors to be able to explore,” said director Glynis Leyshon.

There are moments they single out someone in the audience as part of the onstage action.

“The show is really exciting. It’s kind of a new take for Jane Austen because the audience is really interactive,” said Alexa MacDougall, a third-year Canadian College of the Performing Arts student. “The audience really feels like they’re part of the show. That will keep things different from night to night, we won’t know exactly what will happen.”

The audience will actively take part in the characters’ lives as they move from the heritage chapel to private rooms and engage in conversation with the actors and even sing hymns with the cast.

“We’ve adapted it specifically for the space we’re using, but it’s a grand story, it’s perfect for the students to explore and embrace,” Leyshon said. “The transitional moments, we ask the audience to leave the chapel and come with us on a little bit of an adventure. The kids will have to interact with the audience, that will be a useful experience.”

Leyshon specifically chose the non-theatrical venue and created a site-specific show to challenge the students, a tactic that inspires MacDougal.

“I love it, it’s so interesting. It’s also challenging to try something new and exciting. It pushes you to be more present and ready to consume your character,” said MacDougall, who hails from Vernon and plays Marianne Dashwood, one of the sisters who must decide between her senses and being sensible. “She’s one of the main Dashwood girls. At first I thought we were quite different, myself as Alexa and Marianne, but as I’ve gotten into her character I’ve learned we do have some similarities which is kind of fun.”

Sense and Sensibility is the second of three shows offered by Company C, the production company of third-year students at CCPA.

“There’s tons of music in the show. There’s dancing. There’s great acting scenes,” MacDougall said. “So you get a taste of everything with this one show which will bring new life to the classic.”

Sense and Sensibility runs Dec. 2 to 6 at St. Ann’s Academy. For tickets and ticket information, contact the Canadian College of Performing Arts Box Office at 250-250-595-9970 purchase tickets online at ccpacanada.eventbrite.ca.

***

Next up at Canadian College of the Performing Arts in Oak Bay is the Festival of New Works Dec. 10 to 13.

The Individual Creative Project Showcase, including choreography, playwriting, choral and play directing is Dec. 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. Entry by donation.

Collective Creation an Atomic Vaudeville featuring second-year students called Wish Granted runs Dec. 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and $20.

Both at the CCPA performance hall, 1701 Elgin Rd.