Stage Door News

Toronto: COC April Break programming for youth shines a light on career paths in the arts

Saturday, March 13, 2021

The Canadian Opera Company invites students, ages 12-18, to see what a career in the performing arts could look like, through a new digital program slated to run during Ontario’s April Break for schools. Spring Break at the COC: Exploring New Opera offers five days of live webinars from April 12 – April 16, with daily sessions taking place from 2 – 3 p.m. ET.

“Our team is incredibly passionate about opening wide the doors to a creative industry that has historically been seen as ‘high art’,” says COC Deputy General Director Christie Darville. “We want students to be able to envision a place within the art form for themselves, whether that’s as a creator or performer, a backstage technician, or simply as part of the audience. Programming like this helps young people of all backgrounds see all the attainable possibilities opera has to offer and we’re proud to support those explorations.”

The interactive series, hosted by COC Teaching Artist Makenzie Morgan, explores the process of developing and producing new works, with a focus on Fantasma, an upcoming COC-commissioned Opera for Young Audiences. With a different artistic theme each day, participants will learn what it's like to work with a composer, design props and costumes for the stage, and much more.

For full details, visit

Program Schedule

April 12 Music Making

Fantasma composer and COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson takes participants through the genesis of the opera’s story and how this translates into his music.  

April 13From the Performer’s Perspective

COC Ensemble Studio artists Matthew Cairns (tenor) and Alex Soloway (pianist) talk about what it’s like to work with a living composer, and workshopping a new role in an opera.  

April 14The Real World of Props

COC Props Supervisor Wulf Higgins shares a behind-the-scenes look at how the visual world of Fantasma is created and brought to life.  

April 15Creating the Character

Wig & Makeup Supervisor Sharon Ryman and Costume Supervisor Sandra Corazza give a sneak peek at two characters from Fantasma, Ms. Macaroni and Tino the Clown, as well as share some of their quick-change secrets.  

April 16Staging the Show

Stage director and dramaturg Julie McIsaac speaks with music therapist Dr. SarahRose Black about her considerations in staging Fantasma, as well as her thoughts on creating an engaging experience for young people from the moment audience members walk in the door.  

For more information, click HERE.