I came to Algonquin excited to start a new chapter, like many of us do.
There were some things I would miss about high school — my friends, how quick it was to walk home and my time spent preparing for upcoming theatre productions and choir competitions.
With small class sizes that encourage conversation I had no problem making new friends. Since I live in residence, walking to school wasn’t an issue either.
However, Algonquin has closed its curtains on performing arts activities, a disappointing reality for many newcomers to the school, like myself, who had hoped to see more performance opportunities.
Sure, there are events, but Algonquin needs a consistent community on campus that caters to this interest group.
Our student government stands up for the student body on a wide range of issues.
So, why has no one stood up for the performing arts?
The SA isn’t intentionally ignoring us theatre geeks. They provide an entertaining array of events year-round.
But, as far as providing performance productions that students can get involved in, the SA falls short.
Performing arts is a staple in extracurricular programming.
And, as such, it shouldn’t take a group of students to kick kickstart an improv club or spring musical for the SA to step in and decide it’s a project they can get behind.
Lets talk sports. I know what you’re thinking: how do sports and performing arts connect?
To start, they are one of the three typical communities students can get involved in outside of their curriculum; the other is student government.
When a student comes to Algonquin, they know they can play sports with friends through Algonquin’s intramural sports, or run for a position in the SA to satisfy their love for student politics.
But, if they want to continue singing and dancing on stage, or recite Shakespeare to a theatre of people, they have to look outside of Algonquin.
I think it’s odd that theatre kids’ activity fees automatically go towards SA funding for our sports programming, but not resources that can sustain an arts community.
It shouldn’t be students’ responsibility, alone, to spearhead an opportunity that could benefit the great student body.
For example, Humber College’s IGNITE, an equivalent organization to the SA, have options for dancers, singers and comedians.
What does Algonquin have? A monthly open mic night, and concerts to attend through ticket purchases.
It’s time the SA removes the pressure from arts students and takes initiative in cultivating an arts community.
While productions are no small task, considering the rehearsal space, crew and many other factors that go into making a successful show, the SA hasn’t shied from sustaining the sports community and the resources needed to support both the competitive and intramural teams.
The SA has an athletics director that oversees all aspects of Algonquin’s sports. Where’s their arts director?
Don’t get me wrong, I think having a thriving and successful sports community is important. It builds character, and creates a support system for our students.
But, arts is just the same. Performers feel supported and encouraged when they hear the same cheers from a theatre full of people that the Thunder feel in an auditorium of fans.
Algonquin isn’t shy of talent and it’s time our SA actively supports this within our student body.
For instance, that open mic night? According to Patrick Newell, SA clubs and communities director, it was meant to be a one-time event, but now runs monthly.
We need an SA that will take a chance and cultivate our arts community, so when the next wide-eyed theatre geek, like me, comes to our school there is something here, outside of class time, for them to do.
What’s stopping them? Who knows, it just might work out.