P.E.I. creative community offered new courses at Holland College

New courses this fall at Holland College are aimed at people who want to try out the arts, or improve their amateur or professional skills.

Short courses for amateurs or pros who want to improve skills in theatre, music

Holland College's Performing Arts School is offering four new courses for people who want to improve their artistic skills, but not as full-time students. (Julia Cook/CBC)

Holland College's School of Performing Arts is doing something new for its upcoming fall term.

It's offering four courses that will appeal to the general public, rather then its full-time students.

The four non-credit courses are for people who want to improve their skills in certain areas of the arts, or even try them out to see if they like them.

Two of the new course instructors came in to CBC Mainstreet to tell host Karen Mair what to expect.

Playwright actor and director Nancy Beck is giving a course on creating a one-act play. (
"The short courses from the School of Performing Arts that are being introduced this fall are aimed more for people who want to either expand their skill-set, people who are already involved in the arts, whether professionally or in a community basis, and people who are curious and just want to test things out but don't want a longer-term commitment, don't want the pressure of exams," said Nancy Beck, a playwright, actor and director.

Classes in evenings

This is just for the fall term, and offered in evenings, so it won't conflict with most people's work.

"There's so many creative people here within P.E.I., so this gives them the opportunity to come in, learn some new things, maybe hone their skills a little more, learn from other people," said Craig Dodge, an Island composer.

With a limited enrolment and small classes, the instructors will be able to adapt to the skill level of each student, and give a lot of one-on-one training.

Composer Craig Dodge will tell songwriters how they can start pitching their work in music publishing. (
Dodge is teaching a course on music licensing for composers and songwriters.

He works in film, TV and video games, and has written music for "about 120 different T.V. shows, I've written for Disney, CNN, CTV, pretty much worldwide."

He's going to show composers how they can sell in those markets as well.

"Some people think it's as hard as, 'I gotta fly to L.A. every week, or New York or Chicago.' Well, I do it all right here."

Stage work

Beck's course will teach the students how to create and perform a one-act play.

"We're going to have a small group, and people can work individually or they can team up with someone, develop a script, and at the end of the course, they'll be performing for an invited audience."

The other two courses are an introduction to film acting, and an introduction to technical theatre, including sets, lighting, sound, and stage management, the practical side of the craft.

Courses start Sept. 12, and enrolment has already started. You can get information at

With files from Mainstreet