Student Handbook

Students interested in a fuller understanding of how the SoCap Training Centre works and the classes offered here are encouraged to email workshop director Ralph MacLeod – ralph@socap.ca – or use the contact form on this website.

Hours of Operation

The SoCap Training Centre is located on the top two floors of The Black Swan Tavern at 154 Danforth Avenue. The closest subway station is Broadview. Click here for a map. In general, classes happen between 6pm and 10pm, Monday through Friday, and from 12pm to 8pm Saturday and Sunday. The Training Centre classrooms are generally open fifteen minutes before the first class of the day.

Enrolment Policies

All students applying to enrol in entry-level classes at the Training Centre will first have to agree to our Terms & Conditions of Enrolment, either online or on paper, stating that they understand all of the following:

  • That they have signed (either electronically or physically) the enrolment policy and, by doing so, are agreeing to our terms and conditions
  • Students must be 18 years of age or older
  • The student has agreed to pay full tuition price for the course before it begins. Placement is not secure until payment is received in full. A payment plan is available for some courses, but must be completed by the specified due date upon registration. Students who have not completed their payment plan payments risk the loss of their deposit, may not be allowed to continue in a course, or may be unable to continue into a future course until their balance is paid. We do provide barter hours for those who cannot afford a full tuition
  • Students must attend the full duration of the course
  • Students must be on time to class
  • Students are encouraged to see at least two live improvisation comedy performances at the SoCap during the weeks their course is in session
  • Students agree that they will be held financially responsible for a portion of the course tuition should they decide to drop the course within a week of its first session (see Tuition & Fees)
  • Students agree to adhere to the expected behavior outlined in our Code of Conduct

For higher-level courses, elective courses, workshops, and master classes students must also meet all stated prerequisites and, in some cases, receive approval from their instructor and/or SoCap Training Centre staff before gaining admittance to the class.

Enrolment

Courses in the improv, sketch writing, and stand-up programs are offered on session basis, with sessions beginning, on average, every nine weeks. Most courses meet in the evening, once a week. There are also some courses available in the afternoons – particularly on weekends.

On occasion, our training centre will offer special intensive classes that meet multiple times a week over the course of one to four weeks.

All course enrolment occurs on a first-come, first-served basis. Students are responsible for choosing the course date and time that fits into their schedule and making either a payment in full to secure their space in a class, or payment plan payment to hold their space in a class until they complete their payments (which must occur before the start of the course). Course offerings are based on demand.

A full list of courses currently available can be viewed at: socap.ca/classes.

Evaluation

Students are evaluated on a pass/fail basis and do not receive formal grades. Promotion to the next level of study in a particular program track is contingent on the following criteria: attendance, ability to work well with others and demonstration of course concepts through application in performance or writing.

Students are allowed two absences each course. If a student misses a third class, they could be asked to repeat their course.

Any student may repeat a Core Level class for half price.

Students are encouraged to attend two live performances at the SoCap Theatre during the course of their class. These performances provide students with an opportunity to see course concepts put into action, and are considered a vital supplement to their work in class.

Instructors evaluate students throughout the course — looking for the demonstration of an understanding or the application of concepts within the curriculum from each student during in-class performances. Students demonstrate their understanding through discussion or the application of these concepts within the curriculum in improvised scenes for improv classes, in their writing for sketch classes, or in their writing and performance for stand-up classes.

If the instructor feels that a student has not demonstrated a passable understanding of the concepts, the student will not be able to advance through the program. These students will be instructed to repeat the level (or another lower level course) if they want to continue their studies. Core Level classes may be repeated for any reason for half price.

SoCap Training Centre staff will notify students who do not meet necessary promotional criteria via email. Students are given specific reasons why they have not been promoted. If the decision is based on work in class they are told what specific skills and concepts they need remediation in. A specific course is recommended for remediation in these areas.

Attendance / Enrolment

Consistent and timely attendance is integral to the success of individual students and the class as a whole. Absences and lateness are disruptive to the team dynamic we strive to achieve in all of our classes. Students are expected and encouraged to attend all eight classes and report to each class at the scheduled start time.

Listed below are the guidelines for Attendance and Lateness during training classes:

  • In the event of an emergency, a maximum of two absences are allowed
  • Students who are absent three or more times may be asked to repeat a course before moving on
  • Students are expected to report to class at the scheduled start time ready to participate in warm-up exercises
  • Students who arrive within 30 minutes after the start of class are considered late. Excessive lateness of four (4) or more times may result in a student being asked to repeat a course

Students may appeal decisions resulting in their removal from the course by contacting the Workshop Director by email (ralph@socap.ca). Circumstances that could result in having the removal waived include documented death in the family, severe injury or illness, etc. The decision to reinstate a student is solely up to the discretion of the Workshop Director.

In certain serious cases, and at the sole discretion of the Workshop Director, a student may be approved for a leave of absence if they are able to demonstrate the need for a leave of absence is imperative. Students who are requesting a leave of absence should do so by emailing the Workshop Director with a detailed explanation for the request. All requests for a leave of absence will be managed on a case by case basis.

Students who return from an approved leave of absence within one year of the request, will be placed in a course at the same level in which he or she left. The student will be expected to start this new course over at the first session, regardless of how far along the student was in the previous course when the leave of absence began.

Failures

We are happy to say the majority of our students successfully complete their respective levels. There are some scenarios however, where a student can fail a course and will have to repeat the course at their own expense if they so choose and/or are permitted to continue with the training program.

  • Students who have three absences. In this instance, students are allowed to repeat the level (at their own expense but for half price)
  • Maintaining an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust in the classroom is critical to providing a successful learning environment. Students who exhibit any type of inappropriate behaviour as described in this catalogue, or behaviour not described here, but that would be deemed inappropriate by a reasonable person, may be removed from the class and receive a failing grade. The Workshop Director will conduct an investigation to determine if the student’s behaviour rises to the level of failure and if the student will be permitted to continue with SoCap’s training program in the future
  • Students who are unable, or unwilling, to grasp the key course concepts or who demonstrate a consistent lack of understanding may be subject to failure. The instructor will make every effort to work with students to improve their understanding provided the additional attention required does not severely hinder the progression of the other students and the group as a whole
  • The Workshop Director will notify students of failure via e-mail

Make Up Work

Students who wish to make up material they have missed due to absence may have the opportunity to do so. Please keep in mind the following:

  • Make-up classes are not mandatory to pass a course
  • Make-up classes do not erase an absence
  • The maximum amount of make-up classes that will be granted per student is two per course

Students who are approved for make-up classes will be offered options. SoCap reserves the right to consider a class “closed” once the maximum amount of make-up students in a class is reached. Students who wish to schedule a make-up class must email the Workshop Director to make a request.

When your request is submitted you will receive an email approving or denying your make-up request. Do not show up to a class without first hearing back from the Training Centre.

Transcripts

The Training Centre maintains digital student transcripts, attendance records, personal information, and other records, as deemed necessary, in order to keep records of the progress of individual students who study with the SoCap Theatre Training Centre.

Code of Conduct

Every student at the SoCap Theatre Training Centre has a right to learn in a safe, respectful environment. Creative pursuits require trust and support and our first job before all others is to create this type of environment so that the learning, creation and performance we each come here to pursue can occur.

The Training Centre does not shy away from controversial topics and all students have the right to express themselves without a fear of censorship or judgment — but content dealing with race, gender, sexuality, etc., and the individuals affected by them, must be treated in a creative, intelligent manner that demonstrates empathy and is never done with hurtfulness or as mockery.

If a student is ever uncomfortable with the subject matter displayed, performed or referenced or is given an assignment that makes them uncomfortable, they may raise these concerns with their instructor of a member of the Training Centre’s administrative staff. Separate from our Student Handbook, SoCap Theatre maintains a Discrimination and Harassment Policy which anyone can view here.

In order to create a safe, open, and respectful creative environment, students are asked to agree to certain ground rules in regard to class conduct before enroling in a class.

Inappropriate class conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Engaging in discriminatory behaviour related to an individual’s sex (gender), race, national origin, ancestry, colour, religion, age, genetic information, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, education status or disability, or the use of a guide or support animal for disability, or relationship to a person with a disability, with other students or the the course instructor. Notwithstanding, SoCap Theatre recognizes that greater tolerance is necessary for verbal or non-verbal expression or language pertaining to a protected characteristic made during the course of an artistic performance or theatrical production when such expression or language is related to the theme or message of the performance or production and not devoid of any literary, artistic or political value
  • Inappropriate verbal, physical or sexual conduct with others students or the class instructor
  • Consumption of drugs, alcohol, or use of tobacco products (including e-cigarettes) during class
  • Participating in class under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Destruction of the physical classroom space, including but not limited to: ceilings, walls, floors, chairs, lights, doors, and other Training Centre property
  • Bringing uninvited guests to class
  • Eating in class when not on a break
  • Talking while the instructor is talking or while your classmates are performing
  • Giving notes to other students on their performance during class
  • Using electronics in class – including audio and/or video recording devices and cellular phones (this includes reading or writing text messages or emails, or using the internet in class)

Inappropriate conduct will not be tolerated and will result in removal from class. Any violation is typically addressed first by the instructor, then by the Workshop Director, and then by removal from the class — but depending on the severity of a conduct problem a student may be removed from a class at any time. Refunds will not be given to students who are removed from a class due to conduct.

Students who wish to appeal their removal from class should follow the appeals procedure detailed below.

Suspension & Termination

Students who exhibit any type of inappropriate behaviour as described in this catalogue, or behaviour not described here, but that would be deemed inappropriate by a reasonable person, may be subject to suspension or termination.

The expectation to treat each other with mutual respect is not only limited to the classroom. Therefore, any incidents of inappropriate behaviour that involve another student, instructor or company member that take place outside the classroom may also rise to the level of suspension or termination.

The Workshop Director will conduct a thorough investigation of all reported incidents to determine if the student’s behaviour rises to the level of suspension and or termination. Depending on the circumstances a student may be removed from the classroom during the course of the investigation.

Suspensions will last for a period of one calendar year from the date of the suspension. Incidents related to violent, criminal or inappropriate, hostile or harassing behaviour may result in immediate permanent termination. Terminations are final and the student will not be permitted on the SoCap premises for any reason.

Students may appeal Suspensions and Terminations in accordance with the Appeals process outlined in the Appeals section of this catalogue.

Appeals

Students who have been terminated or placed on suspension are eligible to appeal those decisions. Listed below are the guidelines for filing an appeal:

  • All appeals must be emailed directly to the Workshop Director, within 7 days of the negative action taking place
  • The written appeal should contain the student’s full name, phone number, and clearly state the reason for the appeal
  • Appeals should include any supporting documentation or names of witnesses that may support the appeal
  • Some examples of circumstances that may qualify for appeal:
    • The circumstances were temporary in nature
    • The circumstances were beyond the student’s immediate control (health problems, death in the family, etc.)
    • The circumstances are to be appropriately resolved by the time the negative action is to be lifted. In the judgment of the Workshop Director the student has demonstrated an understanding of the inappropriate nature of the behaviour that resulted in his or her suspension, and he or she has expressed a desire, willingness, and ability to change this behaviour

The Workshop Director will review the student’s appeal and respond via email, with a decision within four to six weeks after receiving the appeal. Decisions reached by the Workshop Director are final and not subject to further review.

If a student’s appeal is approved they will be reinstated and permitted to continue at the training centre, but may be subject to contingencies related to his/her behaviour in the future. If the appeal is denied, the student will be dropped from any courses he or she is enrolled in for current cycle. If the student has registered for courses in the upcoming cycle, they will be removed from those classes and will be issued a full refund.

Credit For Previous Training

SoCap encourages students who have studied comedic acting and writing at other institutions to apply for advanced standing. The Workshop Director will review all requests for advanced training on a case by case basis. Students who are approved for Advanced Training will be eligible to skip certain classes.

The SoCap Theatre Training Centre considers offering advanced training to students who have studied at the following institutions who have similar training styles to SoCap: these include, but are not limited to The Bad Dog Theatre and Second City. Students who have studied at other training centrers may apply for advanced standing and will be considered on a case by case basis. Students who wish to apply for advanced training should send an email to the Workshop Director outlining their previous training from one of the aforementioned institutions. SoCap may contact institutions to confirm attendance and obtain character references. Decisions regarding advanced standing will be communicated within four weeks of the request.

Cancellation & Refund Policies

If a student wishes to withdraw from a course, they should inform the Workshop Director immediately. Refunds may be issued for courses upon student withdrawal under the following provisions:

8-WEEK COURSES

  • A full refund (minus a $25 processing fee) is available only when withdrawal notification is received by noon (12pm) on the day of their first course. For example, refund requests for a Monday night class must be received by Monday at noon
  • For withdrawal after 12pm one week prior to the start of a class and before the start of the first class, students will receive 75% of the tuition
  • For withdrawal after the start of the first session of the class, students will receive 50% of the tuition
  • After the start of the second class, there are NO Refunds or partial credits

COURSE TRANSFERS

If a course has not started and the student wants to transfer into a different course or an equivalent course which meets on a different day or at a different time that has also not started, the student may do so for a $25 administrative fee

The student will still be held to the provisions of the refund policy.

In most cases, once the course has started the student cannot switch into a different section.

For extenuating circumstances concerning cancellation and refund policies, the student should contact the Workshop Director.

Complaint Procedure

It is the primary goal of SoCap Training Centre to offer training in a safe and supportive environment. We expect all students and instructors to treat each other with mutual respect at all times.

Students who feel they have been wronged in any way by a fellow student, an instructor, or any employee of the training centre have the right to file a written complaint with the Workshop Director. For the purposes of a thorough, effective investigation, timeliness of reporting complaints is critical. Ideally complaints will be received within seven days of the alleged violation.

All formal complaints must be submitted in writing, via email to the Workshop Director and should include specific facts and details outlining the nature of the complaint. The Workshop Director will respond acknowledging receipt of the complaint and requesting further information if necessary.

The Workshop Director will conduct a thorough investigation, including interviewing all persons involved. If necessary, disciplinary action will be taken against any faculty, staff members, or students involved and found in violation of school policy.

Within four weeks of the receipt of a written complaint, the Workshop Director will issue a written finding to the student who filed the complaint and any other individuals who may have a need-to-know. Once a resolution is reached, all parties involved will be notified.

Procedure For Obtaining A Refund

All refund requests must be submitted in writing via email to the Workshop Director — ralph@socap.ca

Students seeking a refund or a partial refund, assuming that their withdrawal from class follows all provisions outlined in our cancellation and refund policies, should send an e-mail to the Workshop Director as soon as they have decided to withdraw. The Workshop Director will act on each refund request within four weeks of the request.

Tuition & Fees

Eight-week courses at the SoCap Theatre Training Centre are offered at $225 for eight-session courses which meet for 2 hours weekly.

Other courses have varying tuition based on the number of weeks the class meets.

Drop In Classes are usually $10 or $20 per class.

Special workshops, seminars, master classes and other events are priced based on the nature of the individual event. These prices will be announced upon confirmation of the event and will be made public at our facility and on our website.

Failure to withdrawal from a course within one week of the start of the first class will incur a $25 administration fee.

Administration

Ralph MacLeod, Workshop Director
Carmine Lucarelli, Co-Owner

Faculty

Faculty assigned to instruct are listed in the details of any given class, elective, workshop or master class. A complete list of the SoCap Theatre Training Centre’s Faculty and Guest Instructors is available upon request.