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Performing arts facility gets creative with year-end show

While this season may have looked different, it has allowed students the opportunity to see the industry from a new perspective

A Barrie-based dance, drama and musical theatre facility has found a unique way to give its students their end-of-year performance  despite not being able to all be together on the same stage.

Carla Tucker and Michael Holland run Moving Art, a performing arts training facility on Anne Street South. They say students of both the junior and senior Triple Threat groups have been busy over the last year and they’re excited to showcase that hard work through a performance video that is set to be released later this month. 

“Despite being shut down we have been able to maintain some online instruction,” said Tucker, adding typically at the end of each season, the Triple Threat students put on a live performance.

“The students have been fantastic and have been attending online rehearsals. ... The seniors were supposed to have their live-streamed show the week after our lockdown, but obviously we were not able to do that.”

Prior to the provincial lockdown in April, students had completed audio recordings which, in conjunction with video recordings, are being edited into a final product that will be shared online. 

Attempting to give their students a positive and creative experience during a pandemic was definitely a challenge, but the pair said the final result has been well worth the effort.

“It’s been interesting that we’ve been able to divert from what our normal scheduling has been in the past and we are really proud of our students, their parents and families for making space in their homes and letting them do things online," said Tucker. "I am sure it’s been stressful for them because they’ve been in school all day online and then dedicated their time after school hours to finish this off.

"We’ve been really happy they’ve done that and that (they) have something to show for all their hard work," she explained. "The most challenging thing is we are all about live theatre and live performances. That’s what we love and what we think is really important. We had to change so that we could still give them that live experience but in a different way."

Holland estimates overall, they’ve likely dedicated hundreds of additional hours this season to get to where they are now.

“We started working together in September, but with all the ons and offs, being online, audio and video recording and editing… this year we are probably rounding 500 hours put in to make it happen,” he said, noting in a normal year, cast and crew would likely commit just over 40 hours.

While this season may have looked different, it has allowed students the opportunity to see the industry from a new perspective.

“Traditionally, we’d do a live performance and we think that’s absolutely valuable and important (but) it’s been great to be able to give them a different taste of the arts world in a recording, film and TV kind of set up,” she said, adding working on this project has given the students a way to stay connected. 

“It’s been really great. It’s not ideal. … However, all of the students we have and their families have been very supportive and appreciative of what we’ve been able to do and what they’ve been able to do for us,” she said, adding it’s also important for students to feel like they can start and finish that project.

“Last year, the world didn’t know (what was going on) so we didn’t know what our possibilities were," said Tucker. "This year, we were committed to do something - even just for the creative process to see that there is a beginning, a middle and an end. For the students to have that culminating activity and to (have) worked so hard and (can) see what they were able to perform.”

As a former teacher, Tucker is well aware just how important it is for kids - and adults - to have a creative outlet, especially as we find our way out of the pandemic.

“Kids have been so closed up and they’re just looking forward to letting their heart and souls out.”

The show will be presented Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20. For details contact [email protected].