Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts
|Victoria School of the Arts|
|10210 108 Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta, T5H 1A8
|School type||Public K-12 Arts and IB|
|School board||Edmonton Public Schools|
|Colour(s)||Red and White|
|Team name||Victoria Athletics|
|Former principals||Ingrid Niestch, Bob Maskell, John Beaton|
Now known as Victoria School of the Arts, the school built at this location in 1911 was known as Edmonton High School. New buildings were constructed in 1949 which became known as Victoria Composite High School or "Vic Comp" for short. In 1985, Bob Maskell took over the position of school principal with the intention of transforming the school from a vocational school with a low enrollment and bad reputation to an arts-based alternative school. He sold off the vocational equipment to finance large-scale renovations, and recruited a staff qualified in a broad range of arts disciplines. Because of the work of Maskell, Victoria School of the Arts has become one of the top arts-focused schools in North America.
The school is an International Baccalaureate school, and offers the IB program for grades K-12: one of the only schools in Canada to do so. As its main focus, there are five programs students may pursue at Victoria: Design and New Media, Visual Arts, Theatre, Dance, and Music. In addition to its academic and arts programs, Victoria School is known for its cheer teams. The 1994 Large Squad team won the Suzutan World Cheerleading Championships in Nagoya, Japan. Edmonton's Victoria School coed Cheer Team has won more than 200 cheerleading championship trophies, including 24 provincial and 25 city championships. The National Cheerleaders Association USA Summer Camp trophy was renamed from the All-American Award to the Top Team Award as a result of the Victoria coed Team's many wins.
The high school library was destroyed by a deliberately set fire in April 2007 and the perpetrator admitted to setting the fire in 2010—a 24-year-old male that was not one of the school's students.
Main Stage shows
Each year a selection of work is performed at the school. Usually two larger productions are featured as "Main Stage" shows. These plays or musicals are the largest events in the arts season at Victoria School. Large casts and week-long runs allow students to perform on the main stage in big productions.
List of Main Stage Shows:
- Star Crossed Love- Romeo and Juliet/West Side Story − 2017
- Making Connections − 2016
- Once On This Island − 2016
- Love And Information − 2015
- Big Fish − 2015
- Honk! Jr. − 2015
- The Grapes of Wrath – 2014
- Beauty and the Beast – 2013
- Into the Woods – 2013
- Miracle on 34th Street – 2012
- The Odyssey – 2012
- Willy Wonka – 2011
- Curtains – 2011
- The Two Gentlemen of Verona – 2010
- The American Clock – 2010
- Irving Berlin's White Christmas – 2009
- My Fair Lady – 2009
- Village of Idiots – 2008
- Annie – 2008
- The Laramie Project – 2007
- Thoroughly Modern Millie – 2006
- The Crucible – 2006
- A Midsummer Night's Dream – 2005
- Our Town – 2005
- Seussical – 2005
- The Madwoman of Chaillot – 2004
- The Music Man – 2004
- The Secret Garden – 2003
- Oliver! – 2002
- Once on This Island – 2001
- The Wizard of Oz – 2001
- Fiddler on the Roof – 2000
- Anne of Green Gables – 2000
- Romeo and Juliet – 1999
- The Wind in the Willows – 1999
- Into the Woods – 1999
- Angel Square – 1998
- Sweeney Todd – 1997
- Grapes of Wrath – 1997
PlayWorks is a student directed one act festival that occurs every April. Students in which a senior class of directors go through a play selection process, hold auditions and call backs, run rehearsals, and have complete control over every design choice and aspect for their chosen play. PlayWorks is open to all students in grade 7–12 and offers a wide variety of theatre pieces.
The Festival is adjudicated by a notable theatre professional who watches the shows and reflects on the work with the students. It has become an opportunity for the students to receive pointers and feedback from professionals, not to judge or grade the work. In recent years the adjudication has been the work of Scott Swan a notable Canadian director whose work has been seen across the country.
Leaps and Bounds
An annual dance show featuring student choreographed work. This two night showcase has been a staple in Victoria's art season for more than a decade. The show is the presentation component of the IB Dance program for the 20 and 30 level, as well as Composition 35. Composition teaches students the process of choreography. Each student develops a concept and from that develops a dance. The process has 5 main parts:
- Concept development
This class offers young dancers a strong foundation in the task of creation. In Dance 20 IB, students work to create solo compositions, moving into choreographing for groups of dancers in the 30 level. Each Student gains important artistic skills and experience through the process.
Festival of the Arts
In the spring of 2010 Victoria hosted the first ever 'Festival of the Arts' this event brought together all three levels of school and all the different art disciplines in a large two-day celebration. With events being presented all over the school. allowing parents students and staff to spend time taking in performance and looking at work all over the school. This large scale event was held a second time in the spring of 2011 and also served as the official opening of the newly renovated building and the celebration Victoria's centennial birthday. A large event was held in the courtyard area of the school attended by The Mayor of Edmonton, Stephen Mandel as well as the Premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach. The event also coincided with the 25th anniversary of the school becoming an arts school and so Bob Maskell spoke as well. The event concluded with a student-led flash mob. The school announced the event would be held every two years, with an event held in 2016.
Arthur Hiller Student Film Festival
The Arthur Hiller Student Film Festival, was named in honor of Arthur Hiller, an alumnus of the school. Mr. Hiller, a notable Hollywood director, has returned many times to share his wealth of knowledge and life experience with the students. As a thank you to Hiller, in 2007 the school named their annual student film festival after him.
When the school asked Hiller if they could use his name for the festival he wasn't sure, however after hearing that students wanted to run and lead it, he was convinced. He agreed as long as the word "student" was in the festival name. He didn't want it to be just a brand, but to say something. He wanted it to be about the kids, not him.
In 2009 the festival featured a new element: a film making challenge in which two teams of students attempted to plan, shoot, edit and present a five-minute short in two hours. This challenge took place simultaneously with the annual film showcase. As the featured films were playing, backstage in the theater, two teams were busy shooting. The audience was kept in the loop through the use of a live feed. This version of the festival was entirely student-run as the goal of the festival was to show current students' work, and also to have alumni share work too, much like the way Hiller himself returned to share his knowledge with students.
The festival was discontinued following the 2009 year, due primarily to a lack of support, Plans to bring it back are being discussed but no formal plans have yet been announced.
Viesta is an event held by Victoria School every year in June. The main goal of this event is to raise money for Victoria's sister school. At Viesta, students have the opportunity to sell their creations, such as food, art, crafts or content to the rest of the school, and donate a minimum of 30% of the profit to the sister school. The event is accompanied by an indie stage, where students can perform. In 2016, this event was held in conjunction with the Festival of the Arts.
The Tree Hallway
As part of the 1990s revitalization project the 150 wing of the school was painted with a series of murals depicting trees. These magical and imaginative works of art brought a plain white hall to life with vibrant color. This wing quickly became affectionately known as "The Tree Hallway". At the center of this hall was a mural of Edmonton's city skyline; this work covered about twenty feet of bare wall and became an instant identification point in the school. At the right of the skyline was a large T-Rex, guarding the city. At the end of the 150 wing was a shorter connecting hallway which connected an older half of the school to a newer half. This small corridor was painted in an elaborate display of art, floor to ceiling, depicting an Alleyway out of some artist's nightmare. Every inch of the space was covered in unique art. This hall was called "The Alleyway". The work in the "Alley" ranged from murals of doughnut shops, to dancers on street corners, to sculptures of second story windows, as well as a depiction Superman bursting through a brick wall.
Both the "Tree Hallway" and the "Alleyway" were lost in the construction of the new school in 2009. All murals that were removable were saved and will be relocated in the new building. New murals are being created on mountable panels to inject spirit back into the hallways.
- Roy Brown (RAF officer) – World War 1 flying ace
- Tommy Chong – Actor and musician
- James Cummins – Author and businessperson
- Arthur Hiller – Director, Past President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- Bryce Kulak – Singer-songwriter and music composer
- Wop May – Canadian airman
- Leslie Nielsen – Actor
- Joe Shoctor – Lawyer, founder of Edmonton's Citadel Theatre, and recipient of the Alberta Order of Excellence
- Dan Riskin (Broadcaster) – Co-Host of Daily Planet (TV series) on the Discovery Channel
- Sara Ross – Editor-in-chief of the McGill Law Journal, Volume 56
- Tiffany Shaw-Collinge – Canadian artist and architect
- Kreesha Turner – Canadian R&B singer
- Anne Wheeler – Director, Producer
- Peter Dreimanis – Singer, Guitarist for Canadian band July Talk 
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- "July Talk: Reach out and touch Fay — and Dreimanis". Edmonton Journal. 2016-08-31. Retrieved 2017-04-11.