Scene Study masterclass for Ottawa actors

Laurel Smith, with 40 years experience as a performer, director, dramaturge, playwright and producer, will conduct a masterclass for Ottawa actors on March 4.

By Matthew Behrens

In an exciting 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.

The day-long masterclass, 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, it provides theatre arts education and hands-on experience to students of all ages, from five to 105, in English and French. Since 1998, Burning Passions Theatre has  combined professional productions with a focus on theatre arts and technical training, new play development and making theatre accessible to all. Burning Passions Theatre’s signature project, the acclaimed Classic Theatre Festival, relocated to Ottawa last year after a successful, award-winning decade producing Broadway favourites in Perth. The festival relaunched last August with a staging of the Tony Award-winning The Fourposter.

With over 40 years 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.

“There is a magic that happens when we explore the possibilities of character creation and development in the theatre,” Smith says.

Both Piercey Monafu and Smith stress the importance of storytelling in a world beset by strife, stress and sickness. “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.

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

To register for the March 4 Scene Study masterclass, visit or email

Matthew Behrens is associate producer of the Classic Theatre Festival.

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