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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Ruth McIntosh

Education Manager
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604.247.4975

Bio

Ruth McIntosh

Education Manager

A graduate of the Vancouver Playhouse School of Acting, Ruth worked as a professional actor for 20+ years in theatres across Canada. A theatre educator since 2000, she has taught across the Lower Mainland. In her work as a dramaturg, writer, and acting coach for dance theatre, Ruth has collaborated with choreographers in western Canada and Germany. Serving as Education Manager since 2010, Ruth’s spirited commitment to theatre education was recognized in the Mary Phillips Prize for Behind the Scenes Achievement. When not at Gateway, Ruth extends her investigation of storytelling in the body as a Certified STOTT Pilates® instructor.

Renee Fajardo

Programs Coordinator
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604.247.4986

Bio

Renee Fajardo

Programs Coordinator

Renee is a Filipino opera singer and producer, and the current Programs Coordinator for Education and Rentals 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!

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!

Megs Calleja

Instructor

Bio

Megs Calleja

Instructor
she, her, hers

Megs is a theatre artist, screen actor, novelist, and playwright, who grew up in musical theatre. She trained in foundational theatre at Dalhousie University, Shakespeare with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and has been an educator for 15 years. Some favourite roles: Miss Stacy (Anne of Green Gables), Yente (Fiddler on the Roof), and originating the role of Josie (Twentysomething)—for which she was shortlisted for a Playwrights Guild of Canada award. Megs is an acting coach for stage, film, and television, and blends classical training with creativity while teaching. She believes acting unlocks confidence, empathy, and self-reflection.

Nicola Davies

Accompanist

Bio

Nicola Davies

Accompanist
she, her, hers

Nicola is a pianist, music director, and arts administrator, and this is her first year working with Gateway. Her theatre work encompasses over forty productions as music director and pianist, including Carmen (Opera Kelowna), Sweeney Todd (Secondary Characters), and The Addams Family (Winnipeg All-Dentist Musical). She holds a Masters in Collaborative Piano from the University of Manitoba, and also studied vocal performance, conducting, and biology. Music and theatre teach us much about ourselves and about being a caring human, and Nicola loves to create opportunities and be part of this discovery process with students.

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.

Emily Jane King

Instructor

Bio

Emily Jane King

Instructor
she, her, hers

Emily is a voice and speech coach, performer, musician, and multi-disciplinary theatre artist. A graduate of the Studio 58 Acting Program, she has performed in shows such as Infinity by Hannah Moscovitch, Mx by Lili Robinson, and A Christmas Carol with Gateway Theatre. She teaches voice at Vancouver Film School and Viva Voce Speech Arts Studio. Emily believes in learning and educating through play, and is passionate about finding joy and connection through theatre.

Eri Kikuchi

Accompanist

Bio

Eri Kikuchi

Accompanist
she, her, hers

Eri is the piano accompanist for the musical theatre program on Saturdays. Eri studied piano at the Arts Connection School in Steveston with Dr. Vance Hoy. Throughout these early years, she enjoyed opportunities to perform solo pieces on the piano at the Gateway Theatre. She works as an accompanist for a choir, collaborates with singers, teaches piano lessons, and most recently, worked as a sound designer, composer, and performer of a Filipino-Canadian devised theatre production, buto / buto : bones are seeds.

Victor Mariano

Instructor

Bio

Victor Mariano

Instructor
he, him, his

Victor is a Vancouver-based theatre artist and drama instructor teaching at Gateway Academy for the first time. Since 2008, Vic has been an instructor at Carousel Theatre for Young People and has also taught at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and Simon Fraser University, where he received his BFA in Theatre Performance. Recent and favourite stage credits include The House at Pooh Corner and The Velveteen Rabbit (CTYP), Reverberations (Reverberations Collective), Suddenly Slaughter (The Biting School), Die Hard: The Musical (District 13), Quasimodo (Boca del Lupo), and Banana Boys (Firehall Arts Centre). For Vic, theatre is all about play, playing, and putting on plays.

Amelia Trottier

Instructor

Bio

Amelia Trottier

Instructor
she, her, hers

Amelia is a Vancouver based performer and this is her first year with Gateway! She has been Singing, Acting and Dancing on stage ever since she could walk. She even started her own company Royal Court Princess Parties, at just 16. Amelia has had opportunities to work with companies such as The National Stage Company of Canada, Gallery 7, Deep Cove Stage Society, Ava Music, and more! A selection of favourite shows and roles Amelia has performed in include: Ella (Elsa) in Frosted: A Frozen Pantomime, Janet Van De Graff in Drowsy Chaperone, and Olive Ostrovsky in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She believes everyone deserves a safe space to be creative and is excited to provide just that, here at Gateway!

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

  • 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 difficult 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; 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.

  • 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!