uOttawa students will soon be able to train for the exciting world of professional theatre in optimum conditions thanks to the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) expansion and Arts Court redevelopment project. The University of Ottawa in partnership with the City of Ottawa and OAG broke ground on the new building project today.
The expansion includes construction of a 17,000-square-foot space with four studio-style classrooms and a black box theatre with a state-of-the art control booth. The new complex will include a renovated home for the Ottawa Art Gallery and a revitalized Arts Court, steps away from the uOttawa campus and uOttawa's Department of Theatre. This joint project between the University and the City of Ottawa will create new performance and rehearsal spaces for both the Department and Ottawa's artistic community and have a positive impact on the city's quickly changing downtown core.
The most exciting thing is to have training space in a professional arts cluster. Theatre is by its very definition the meeting place of all art forms. The visual arts, dance and video are all components of contemporary theatre practice and will be integrated into present and future programs To know we'll have professional resources in the same building is just marvelous, explains professor Joël Beddows, chair of uOttawa's Department of Theatre.
The project will allow the Department of Theatre to develop a much-needed conservatory style program in both French and English for a bachelor of fine arts in acting. The new program will play an important role in the future of not only the Department but also the theatre community in Ottawa. Through this program, students will also have the opportunity to develop deeper ties with the professional world.
This facility and partnership will put our students into much closer contact with the professional visual arts, dance and video communities, adds Kevin Orr, associate professor in the Department of Theatre.
The new building is set to open its doors to uOttawa students and the public in 2017, in time for Canada's 150th birthday. Support from the Association des théâtres francophones du Canada, Théâtre Action, Ontario's Ministry of Education, Heritage Canada, the City of Ottawa and uOttawa has been critical in planning the project and in the success of fundraising efforts. With this project, the University of Ottawa wants to clearly demonstrate the importance of the fine arts in Ottawa and in Canada as a whole, says Beddows.
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