Gateway Academy

EDUCATION THAT TRANSCENDS THE STAGE

In our Academy classes, students gain an understanding of themselves and others, grow confidence, and develop communication and problem solving-skills. All the while, they are also learning acting, singing, dancing, and speaking techniques and having a great time doing it! What they do and how they do it is personally important to them—a self-direction that will benefit them in everything they do.

No matter what the future holds for our students—be it as performers, scientists, or Google employees—they will make their communities better places by bringing the relational skills developed and learned in Gateway’s theatre classes.

Acting

In these classes, students develop acting skills integral to all theatrical disciplines including ensemble-building, storytelling and character creation. Not only are students expanding their physical, vocal and communication skills, but they are also learning transferable skills such as confidence, focus, listening and trust-building. Students learn to work together as a group towards a shared goal. NEW ACTING FOR STAGE AND FILM PROGRAM AVAILABLE FOR AGES 14-18!

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Musical Theatre

Students become well-rounded performers in these classes while being immersed in the world of musicals. Young performers build confidence as they command the stage, exploring vocal techniques, choreography, and expressing lyrics musically and dramatically. Students learn to work together as a group towards a shared goal. NEW MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMANCE CLASS FOR AGES 11-18!

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Acting Camps

A fun on-your-feet physical class, these camps give students a variety of drama skills. From vocal and movement exploration to character-based improv, story-creation to script work, students learn to work together as a group towards a shared goal.

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Musical Theatre Camps

In a fun and supportive environment, these camps combine dancing, singing, and acting, with storytelling. Students build confidence as performers and show their skills as they progress toward a shared goal. NEW PERFORMANCE CAMP AVAILABLE!

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OUR PHILOSOPHY

We commit to play, rigour, and risk in equal measure, as we teach the craft of theatre to students of all ages.

We support students in their development by giving them our home: a professional theatre bustling with the best artists in the Lower Mainland, working on our stage, behind the scenes, and in our classrooms.

We provide process-based learning as the safe, supportive environment in which our students will grow, and we train our students to strengthen the vital skills for vibrant self-expression. Skills and abilities are assessed according to our two great goal posts: fullfiling your personal best while supporting the success of fellow classmates.

Because creativity isn’t just joyous (though it’s a great side-effect!), it is about striving and thriving as individuals and as a community, and it requires generosity and respect for others.

And as the leaders of this big, bold, beautiful process, this is our belief, our goal, and our promise to you.

See you in class!

Meet Gateway Academy Faculty and Staff

Renee Fajardo

Education Manager
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604.247.4975

Bio

Renee Fajardo

Education Manager

Renee is a Filipino opera singer and producer, and the current Education Manager for Education at Gateway Theatre. She has performed across the Philippines, the UK, and Europe and is an active collaborator in the music and theatre communities in Canada. Renee believes that the arts are a place where everyone should feel like they belong. On non-rainy days, she zooms around Richmond on her e-scooter!

Kaleigh Osadick

Programs Assistant

Bio

Kaleigh Osadick

Programs Assistant

Kaleigh is an actor, writer, comedian and teacher and is teaching/assisting at Gateway Theatre for the first time! Kaleigh graduated from University of Manitoba with a degree in Theatre & Psychology, followed by a degree in Education at UBC. She has performed in Winnipeg Fringe, London UK, as well as performs improv with Second City. Kaleigh has been working in the film industry and teaching for the last 5 years. Kaleigh believes in play based learning, humour and inclusion. She believes in authentic storytelling and strives to provide a bridge between theatre and all communities.

Peter Abando

Instructor

Bio

Peter Abando

Instructor
he, him, his

Peter composes, directs, teaches, improvises, and performs all over Metro Vancouver. When he’s not teaching K-7 music in West Van, you’ll find him collaborating on new musicals, music directing for local productions, performance and audition coaching, and never too far from a piano. Past productions include Dear Evan Hansen (Laughing Matters Theatre), 9 to 5: The Musical (Capilano University), and the Ovation nominated 2019 Vancouver Fringe hit, Amélie (West Moon Theatre). Peter holds degrees in education and music composition, and secretly wishes everyone sang their feelings more often, words optional!

Quinn Cartwright

Instructor

Bio

Quinn Cartwright

Instructor
she, her, hers

Quinn is a theatre artist, vocalist and instructor and has taught at Gateway for 4 years. Quinn has worked as performer internationally and in Canada, most recently as a vocalist and actor at Shanghai Disney Resort and Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi. She is a graduate of the Theatre Arts program at Studio 58. Quinn believes strongly in the power of storytelling through music and is passionate about helping students find their voice and believe in themselves!

Bill Costin

Instructor

Bio

Bill Costin

Instructor

Bill is a musician, songwriter, musical theatre accompanist, and is teaching at Gateway Academy for the 3rd time. Bill has an Education Degree from UBC, and has played piano in the orchestra and for rehearsals for the Gateway Theatre’s Thouroughly Modern Millie, and Sound Of Music. Bill thinks everyone should sing and dance all the time!

James Furnell

Instructor

Bio

James Furnell

Instructor

James’ professional training included Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, Hip Hop/Commercial, Musical Theatre, Singing and Acting at the world renowned Bird College – Conservatoire for dance and musical theatre in London, England. At Bird he received a 1st Class (Hons) degree in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre. During his training he performed in 9 to 5, Sister Act and 1984 and has performed on live television as a backing dancer and soloist for different artists and programs. James moved to Vancouver in 2019 and found his love for teaching. James believe that theatre is a great way to develop confidence, structure, and self discipline – all while laughing and having fun at the same time.

Isabella Halladay

Instructor

Bio

Isabella Halladay

Instructor
she, her, hers

Isabella is a Vancouver based performer, working and playing on the unceeded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. After receiving her Bachelors of Music from the University of British Columbia, she has performed in musicals, opera, and theatre in BC, New York, and Europe, while working as a choreographer and vocal coach. An interdisciplinary artist, Isabella is always excited to connect the worlds of theatre, music, dance and physical storytelling. She is thrilled to be supporting youth who are passionate about musical theatre, and is always excited to support young artists in finding their own voice.

Renee Iaci

Instructor

Bio

Renee Iaci

Instructor

Renee is a theatre practitioner and instructor who is teaching for the first time at Gateway Academy. Renee is co-artistic director, tour coordinator, and one of the founding members of shameless hussy productions. She is also a company member of Delta Stageworks. Renee is a graduate of the BFA Acting program at UBC and mother to up and coming hussy, Sofia Reid. She still has fun teaching and wants to inspire kids to love theatre as much as she does.
Maya Jenkins

Instructor

Bio

Maya Jenkins

Instructor

Maya is an actor, musician, and community arts facilitator based in Vancouver, BC. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance from Sheridan College and a Master of Arts in Community Music from Wilfrid Laurier University. Past performance credits include: Maria Rainer The Sound of Music, Eliza Doolittle My Fair Lady, Brott Festival; Sadie Knickle Bluenose, Jim Betts Workshop; Catherine The House of Martin Guerre, Ensemble My Bonnie Lass; Theatre Sheridan; Ensemble Bethune Canadian Music Theatre Project; Gloria Kelly v Kelly CMTP/Musical Stage Co.

Maya’s teaching practice is rooted in inclusive arts pedagogy, recognizing that knowledge can be shared through different pathways and that each student brings a unique perspective to the studio. She strives to create a space where young artists can begin to explore and develop their artistic processes, while still challenging students to take risks and step out of their comfort zone!

Isaac Leung

Accompanist

Bio

Isaac Leung

Accompanist

Isaac is a theatre artist, improv actor and pianist who is excited to join Gateway Academy as an accompanist. Before graduating from Theatre (Acting) Diploma program at Douglas College, Isaac worked as a performer/actor for over a decade at Hong Kong Disneyland. Previous performances include A Vampire Story and Mad Forest at Douglas College, Mask Mayhem at Granville Island by Axis Theatre, Stitch Encounter, Muppet Mobile Lab, and Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple at Hong Kong Disneyland. Isaac ensures he works his best to let everyone find their moments to shine.
Kenny Poon

Instructor

Bio

Kenny Poon

Instructor

Kenny is a theatre artist, drama educator and voice talent. He is teaching at Gateway Academy for the first time. After he graduated from Griffith University with a Master in Applied Theatre and Drama Education, Kenny became a regular working partner with Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, curated and performed theatre programmes for students at different levels. Theatre is a magical place for everyone to have fun, converse and reflect.
Dylan Rogers

Accompanist

Bio

Dylan Rogers

Accompanist
she, they, theirs

Dylan is an accompanist that is thrilled to be joining Gateway Academy for the first time. She first started in theatre when she was 5 years old, and has been working in it ever since! She has studied voice in both classical and musical theatre contexts, and has music directed a wide range of shows over the years, in addition to teaching private students both voice and piano. Dylan believes that theatre is an act of joy, and cannot wait to help Gateway’s students find that joy for themselves!

Tal Shulman

Instructor

Bio

Tal Shulman

Instructor

Tal is an actor, educator, and voice-over artist teaching at Gateway Academy for the first time. He holds a BFA from TMU (formerly Ryerson) and has worked at the Stratford Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, and Manitoba Theatre for Young Audiences. He is the recipient of a Dora Mavor Moore Award and has been nominated for an additional two. Tal works regularly in film and television and voices leading roles in Big Blue (CBC) and Shaq’s Garage (Kartoon Channel). Tal believes that creativity thrives in supportive and uplifting environments like the ones he intends to establish in his classes.

Scholarships

The McAndless Family Award for Excellence recognizes students training in theatre and performing arts who demonstrate the potential to make a difference and best exemplify Creativity, Courage, Connection.

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Bursaries

Gateway Academy believes in providing access to theatre arts training, regardless of financial means. If you are a family experiencing financial hardship, please apply to our Bursary Program.

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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!