Students Sophia Petronas (left) and Beyla Medos strike a pose as lionesses in The Lion King. Sooke’s Amber Academy has been given the green light by the Sooke Community Association to operate out of their usual site for the 2020/2021 academic year. (Courtesy of Amber Academy)

Sooke after-school arts program given nod for 2020-2021 year

Staff and students Grade 5 and above expected to wear masks

Cue the music. A Sooke fine arts academy is moving forward into its fourth year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sooke Community Association is permitting the academy’s board to continue holding classes at the Sooke Community Hall on Wednesday afternoons.

Amber Academy, an after-school arts program, teaches everything from photography to theatre production.

“The resiliency of the arts is so important during these times,” said Melissa Curtis, president of Amber Academy and educational assistant at Edward Milne Community School.

“A lot of people I know have turned to music, knitting, drawing to get through the lockdown. We need to provide these outlets for kids, especially with school coming back and the question of whether arts will be included like it was before.”

The academy postponed its May production of Beauty and the Beast but hopes to produce the musical next spring.

The academy is coming back with three new classes, including photography, advanced acting for stage, film and television and a revised videography and technical design course that caters to online audiences.

Curtis said there would be strict COVID regulations, such as the use of masks for all staff and students in Grade 5 and above.

All art and sewing supplies are no longer shared between students, breaks will be staggered, and kids won’t be able to share snacks.

Also, parents and guardians are only allowed to drop off and pick up their kids outside the building.

Registration has begun, and those interested can sign their kids up at

READ MORE: VIDEO: Sooke’s Amber Academy premieres The Lion King


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