Gateway Academy FAQs

  • What makes Gateway Academy special?

    We focus on the “how” of theatre, helping our students grow their skills and confidence through process-based learning that leans equally into play, rigour, and risk. We work with creativity, courage and connection, providing a supportive environment in which our students can explore stagecraft as a way to strengthen their self-expression, communication, and problem-solving.

    Our classes are taught by some of the most vibrant teaching artists across Vancouver. They are held in professional theatre spaces that have been home to many artists and productions from the dynamic theatre community of the Lower Mainland.

    Because Academy lives alongside Gateway’s productions, Academy students get to observe professional theatre rehearsals of our shows. They are regularly invited to audition for youth roles and other opportunities as they become available!

    We also offer ticket discount rates to Academy families so that we can share the magic of live performance with our Academy community.

  • Do I get to perform?

    Yes, and… we believe in building a foundation of skills to support you through a philosophy we like to call “process over product”. We want our students to learn the “how” of acting, singing, and dancing before putting those skills in front of an audience. That said, it would be challenging to learn how to perform without performing at all! Our year-long classes open their studio twice a year: once in December to share skills and the training process and once in April for an informal presentation of material from your class. Fall classes open their studio for presentations in December, and Winter classes open for presentations in April.

    This Academy year, our Musical Theatre Performance class will be doing two shows in April, including costume, lighting and props elements!

  • What’s the difference between your acting and musical theatre classes?

    Our musical theatre classes study the three classic elements of musical theatre: acting, singing, and dancing, while our acting classes focus purely on developing acting skills integral to all theatrical disciplines.

    Learning a musical is a layering process: first, you learn the music, then you learn the choreography, then you use your acting skills to tell the story. Learning acting is a process of getting to know yourself in relation to others through acting exercises, and using that awareness towards the portrayal of characters in a story. Musical Theatre classes contain a lot of skills we can immediately see and hear (eg. singing and dancing); Acting classes contain a number of transferable skills (eg. listening, sharing ideas, focus, problem-solving, trust building).

    Each of these theatre disciplines is engaging and fun, and will help you to extend your comfort zones!

  • Will I have work to do at home?

    Yes! Most classes require that some practice and work be done during the week at home. Practice improves skills and allows everyone to move forward with the material in class. It’s fun work, though, you can count on that!

  • Will I have fun in class?

    Yes! One of the rewards of hard work is having fun! Not only does “play” demand commitment and concentration, it is a tool in the process of developing creative thinkers and theatre artists. Exercising imagination is key for every artist. You’ll be playing with rigour and focus and fun!

  • Why does my classmate have more lines than I do?

    Our intention is to challenge each student individually and equally. Our students come from a variety of different backgrounds and areas of training. Casting is assigned so that you can develop the skills you may not have yet. For some that may mean more text work; for others that may mean more choreography, for others an ensemble character. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we gave you the work you are already skilled at!

  • Why do I stay in the same class level for sometimes three years; won’t I be repeating?

    It is common for students to continue in the same level class for two to three years. Our Faculty members understand and value teaching to varying skills levels within a class; therefore the material is taught in varying degrees of challenge. It also provides an opportunity for the more experienced students to act as mini-mentors for the newest students. Sometimes you learn best by sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm with others!

  • What should I do if I have to miss a class?

    Tell us in advance! Call the Instructor’s Line (778.838.3745), and let the Instructors know so they can adjust the class plan or rehearsal. Attendance is imperative in building trust, and a sense of ensemble within the group. If you are put into pairs or groups for a scene or project, your classmates will be counting on you to show up to every class prepared and ready to work (and play).

  • What class “Level” should I sign up for?

    The appropriate class for your age! Gateway Academy class levels are based on students’ age ranges, not their level of theatre experience. You will likely find a balance of both fun and challenge with your peers.

  • Am I required to bring anything to my classes?

    Yes – Musical Theatre students are required to wear dance shoes (Jazz or Ballet shoes) to classes as they are the best tool in which to learn movement and choreography safely and comfortably on the theatre floor. All students are required to wear clothes comfortable for movement (no jeans, please!), and to bring a binder and a pencil– the actors’ tools in learning their craft!