TRU Performing and Fine Arts students continue amidst COVID-19

The TRU Fine Arts and Performing Arts programs will complete their final projects

After a year of living in a pandemic, the Performing Arts and Fine Arts programs at TRU have adapted to give students the opportunity to create art when it is difficult to do so. 

The Actors Workshop Theatre has created three mainstage shows throughout the year, each taking place online, but the 22nd Directors Festival will be unable to go on. The TRU Fine Arts department has been steadily making way for their students and will, fortunately, be able to end the year with the BFA Graduating Exhibition.

After showcasing three shows over the 2020/2021 school year, all online and even one show being live and in-person, the program will be unable to host their 22nd Directors Festival due to licensing costs.

According to a post on their Facebook page, the Actors Workshop Theatre cannot host their 22nd Directors Festival online due to cost and the inability to purchase licensing for the eight shows that were to happen.

Because Directors Festival is usually an annual event and is a course for both directing and acting students, it is a requirement for students to direct a short play of their choice and for students in the program to act in them. Although the students cannot showcase the festival to the public, they have still done the work as the festival is a class for them.

Luckily, the TRU Fine Arts students will be able to hold their BFA Graduating Exhibition. The TRU Gallery has been closed for most of the year but will open up again to showcase the students’ work, but this year’s exhibition will look a bit different than in the past.

“We’re doing kind of a hybrid approach,” Donald Lawrence, Chair of Visual and Performing Arts Department, said. “We’ll use the art gallery for three of those students’ works, and the other students are going to have worked in off-site venues, so temporary locations that are outside of the regular gallery context.” 

Lawrence said these off-sites include the Kamloops Museum and Archives, Amplified Cafe, Rice Bowl Rose Garden, among others, and that seven students are graduating from the BFA program.

Although the student exhibitions will be in various places this year, the BFA Graduating Exhibition will still have its print catalogue and will have a new website instead of an opening ceremony.

Typically, the BFA Graduating Exhibition would take place entirely at the TRU Art Gallery and the surrounding studios.

“We take a number of the surrounding studios,” Lawrence said. “We basically take that two weeks in advance of the exhibition clearing those spaces out, sometimes to build temporary walls into them and to repaint the spaces before the students hang their work.” 

After preparing the spaces, Lawrence said the students would usually have an opening ceremony with the release of their print catalogue, and people were welcome to view the exhibition for free.

Anyone interested in seeing photos of the 22nd Directors Festival can check out the Actors Workshop Theatre Facebook page, Actors Workshop Theatre, or its Instagram page, TRUAWT. Those wanting to check out the BFA Graduating Exhibition can learn more at https://bfa-exhibition.trubox.ca/. It will be available to view at the TRU Gallery and various locations from mid-April to mid-May.

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