UFV wants to add drama classes in Abbotsford

The University of the Fraser Valley would like to expand its Chilliwack-based theatre department...

UFV is planning to expand its theatre classes and productions into Abbotsford.

UFV is planning to expand its theatre classes and productions into Abbotsford.

The University of the Fraser Valley would like to expand its Chilliwack-based theatre department, and is in the early stages of discussing and planning a new theatre in Abbotsford.

“We would like to bring theatre courses and production to Abbotsford long-term,” said Leslie Courchesne, UFV’s director of marketing and communications.

In the future, if the school accomplishes its goals, students at the Abbotsford campus would be able to major in English with a minor in theatre, she said.

The UFV theatre department operates only from its Chilliwack campus, with approximately 50 students involved in programs.

Courchesne wanted to clarify that UFV intends to maintain those programs, operating out of a 100-seat studio theatre and classrooms that are part of the new $40-million Canada Education Park. UFV put its performance theatre on Yale Road up for sale, but Courchesne said it will be leased back from the buyer for up to five years so productions can continue there as well.

She said UFV also wants to stage more theatre productions in communities throughout the Fraser Valley.

“We are in early, internal discussions about what a theatre in Abbotsford would be,” she said. “We are open to partnering.”

She said there is space on the Abbotsford campus to build a theatre facility, but that has not been decided.

Some theatre courses could be offered in a standard classroom, but the existing classes at the Abbotsford campus are completely booked, and expansion is already an objective.