Performance art school to operate year-round in Kelowna

Kelowna Actors Studio and Southern Interior Distance Education join forces to offer performance arts and academic school education.

  • Feb. 10, 2015 12:00 p.m.

The Kelowna Actors Studio Academy Foundation has announced a partnership with the South Interior Distance Education School (SCIDES) and the opening of a first rate year-round Performance Arts School in Kelowna. All courses are B.C. Ministry of Education authorized, leading to a B.C. Certificate of Graduation (Dogwood Diploma).

The Kelowna Actors Studio Academy Foundation (KASAF) began in 2013 with Randy Leslie, artistic managing director and Nathan Flavel,general manager, Kelowna Actors Studio’s dream for a first rate performance arts school in Kelowna. They founded a society and created a local board of directors to further their vision.

An executive director, Margaret Gobie, was chosen and she began the research and the application for charitable status which has now been received.

Randy Leslie is the artistic managing director of Kelowna Actors Studio and the driving force in Kelowna Actors Studio’s educational programming. He has over 150 directorial and production credits in Ottawa, Toronto and Kelowna including years of programming and marketing. He is also received numerous artistic and community honours.

Karlisa Hiebert, artistic associate with many years in education, joins the team having been an arts instructor and principal for Studio 9 Independent School for the Arts.

Throughout the start-up process, Kelowna Actors Studio supported the Foundation financially through administration, moving forward with applications, promotion and board development. The process has been completed and the dream has become a reality.

The courses from SCIDES are both online and paper-based and individualized for every student’s learning style and needs, rather than being a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

They offer the materials, resources, planning, reports and personal support for students to learn from a location of their choice. Combine that with available on-site tutoring, workshops and more. Priority is for each student to have the best program opportunities available for his or her needs.

Principal Colleen Mullin said: “SCIDES is a public school with a 25-year history of leading in the area of personalized learning, and it continues to provide excellent tuition-free programs for students in elementary, middle and secondary grades. We offer over 150 courses, all of which are authorized by the BC Ministry of Education and taught by B.C. certified teachers. Unlike most Distributed Learning schools, we are open 12 months of the year and offer continuous enrolment.

We are proud to be partner with the Kelowna Actors Studio Academy Foundation so that youth in the Kelowna and surrounding areas can immerse themselves in their passions. By removing the barriers of semesters, bells and timetables, students can tailor their personal online school schedules to their Kelowna Actors Studio schedules, a win-win. We are looking forward to this new adventure.”

The goal is to awaken a curiosity and passion for lifelong learning and a desire to excel in each and every one of the students.

The priority is for each student to have the best program opportunities available for their needs.

Students study dance, drama, musical theatre and academics. They work with committed staff and mentors in an exciting and dynamic curriculum tailored to each individual student. Students balance a rigorous academic workload with numerous performances.

Currently two pilot students are taking part in the program working their academics and passion for the arts at the Kelowna Actors Studio Academy Foundation.

“The learning environment is engaging, welcoming and extremely busy with theatre arts students learning and performing in a fully-equipped theatre,” remarked Randy Leslie, artistic managing director.

Students will audition and be placed in a program that will include special one-on-one theatre training with theatre mentors and professionals and participate in large scale main stage Kelowna Actors Studio productions and classes/workshops for school credits. The program aims to provide a well-rounded education in theatre arts from performance, to technical theatre, to the business of working in the performing arts which will aid in applying to post-secondary institutions across Canada and beyond.

An information evening will be held Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at Kelowna Actors Studio from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at 1379 Ellis St., in Kelowna (across from the downtown Kelowna Library). Information on registering for auditions and academy information packages will be available at that time.

To attend the information evening, click the link below.,5KM3,2672D9,BU6Y,1

Visit the academy foundation website at

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