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Jan. 9, 2003, Gazette

New diploma program starts second semester
Take two

January marks the beginning of the second semester of Memorial’s Diploma in Performance and Communications Media, an innovative program that offers its students unique opportunities in film and theatre performance and production.

Designed to provide practical training and experience, this program puts students both onstage and behind the scenes, in both film and theatre genres. Before completion, students will take courses that cover subjects such as stagecraft, film and video production, directing, acting and producing. More specifically, students gain practical experience through time spent in the CBC television studios, as well as working with on-campus theatrical productions, and with Memorial’s Centre for Academic Media Services (CAMS). As such, graduates will be armed with innumerable skills that will allow them flexibility in their chosen fields.

The Diploma in Performance and Communications Media was born out of theatre courses that have been taught in the Department of English for many years. The success of those courses prompted the development of the diploma program, which houses 12 students in its inaugural year.

Faculty and students alike are pleased with the results from the program’s first semester. Debbie McGee of CAMS, an instructor in the program, watched her students flourish in their first few months.

“It’s really rewarding to see the students’ creativity coming out.”

Dr. Denyse Lynde, coordinator of the Diploma in Performance and Communications Media, expressed similar sentiments. “It’s a win-win situation for students. It was a busy semester, but I was pleased knowing students were given these opportunities.”

Students are equally happy with their initial results. In speaking with Clint Butler and Ludwing Duarte, it was evident that both had found the fall semester both exhausting and exhilarating.

Mr. Butler, who returned home to Newfoundland after two years as a film and television actor in Vancouver, is completing his BBA along with the diploma, and hopes to combine his dramatic and business skills after graduation. He feels that the intense nature of this program means that he’ll be able to “take the bull by the horns” and use his skills to his advantage in seeking employment. He stressed the importance of credentials in the performance world, and feels that he will have an edge over others with his documents from Memorial.

Also a business student, Mr. Duarte was an advertising professional in Columbia before settling in Newfoundland. Having no previous performing experience, he was delighted to discover his creative side. “It’s another part of me, the artistic part. So far, I love it.” Mr. Duarte hopes to further nurture his acting abilities, eventually finding a job in the field of media.

While still in its early stages, the Diploma in Performance and Communications Media is proving to be an exciting and ground-breaking program. By combining performance and production in both film and theatre, students are exposed to and learn a complement of skills that may be unmatched.