Masterclass Offers Scene Study Training for Ottawa Actors

In an exciting new partnership, the Ottawa School of Theatre (OST) has teamed up with Burning Passions Theatre to present a Scene Study Masterclass with award-winning professional director Laurel Smith on Saturday, March 4, 2023.

The day-long master class, hosted at Arts Court in downtown Ottawa (2 Daly Ave., next to the Rideau Centre), will explore the techniques of how to play a theatrical role, including preparation, character development and scene analysis.

“We’ve heard that there is a need for more professional development opportunities for theatre artists in Ottawa, and I’ve been looking for ways that the Ottawa School of Theatre can help fill this need,” explains OST Artistic Director Megan Piercey Monafu. “We’re happy to collaborate with Burning Passions Theatre to create this opportunity for actors to play and grow. It’s hard to get this practice outside of a rehearsal room, and I hope this workshop will also help artists come back together and meet new potential collaborators.”

The OST is Ottawa’s longest running theatre school. With over 30 years experience, they provide theatre arts education and hands-on experience to students of all ages, from 5 to 105, in both English and French. Its mandate dovetails perfectly with the history of Burning Passions Theatre, which since 1998 has combined professional productions with an extensive focus on theatre arts and technical training, new play development, and making theatre accessible to all.

Many Ottawa residents are familiar with Burning Passions Theatre’s signature project, the acclaimed Classic Theatre Festival, which after a successful, award-winning decade producing Broadway favourites in Perth, relocated to Ottawa in 2022. The Festival relaunched last August with a staging of the Tony Award-winning The Fourposter, garnering BroadwayWorld nominations for Best Play, Director, Performer and Choreographer.

With over 40 years of experience as performer, director, dramaturge, playwright and producer, Laurel Smith is equally enthused about the partnership with OST, and looks forward to guiding the masterclass with scene study participants.

“It’s almost hard to put into words, but there is a magic that happens when we explore the possibilities of character creation and development in the theatre,” Smith says. “For me, rehearsal halls feel like sacred spaces where performers open themselves up to their vulnerabilities, creativity, and insights as we put together the pieces that lead to staging a piece that connects on an intellectual and emotional level with audiences.”

Both Piercey Monafu and Smith stress the importance of storytelling in a world beset by strife, stress, and sickness, noting that during the height of the pandemic, it was online streaming platforms that provided entertainment that helped many deal with the difficult reality of lockdowns and uncertainty.

“While acting is often an act of inspiration, it’s also a lifelong commitment to training and learning new techniques to stay in touch with the theatrical muses and continually improve how you create and share characters and stories,” Smith says. “The bond you develop with an audience is based on being as truthful and authentic to the character as possible, so those watching can relate on an individual level to what is happening on the stage because you have made it real for them.”

Smith is also busy preparing for the Classic Theatre Festival’s 2023 season – which this year runs July 7 to August 27 at Arts Court Theatre, with a classic comedy and mystery thriller. Meanwhile the Ottawa School of Theatre continues to provide top quality theatre training to Ottawa area residents. For more information on their winter classes, see

Those wishing to register for the March 4 Scene Study Masterclass click here:




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