Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
An artist's rendering of the Marilyn I. Walker School for the Fine and Performing Arts showing the new theatre for the Department of Dramatic Arts.
Brock signs contract with construction firm for downtown fine and performing arts facility project
Published on January 18 2013
Earlier today, Brock University finalized a construction contract with Bird Construction Group to build its new fine and performing arts facility in downtown St. Catharines.
Activity at the site of the old Canada Hair Cloth textile mill at 198 St. Paul Street is expected to start the week of Jan. 21, 2013, with site preparations beginning in early February.
Construction bids for the project were received in October 2012 and all bids were over the University’s budget. Brock then entered into successful negotiations with Bird Construction, the low bidder for the new home of the University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts facility, to reduce construction costs and move the project forward.
A groundbreaking ceremony to mark the official start of the project is expected to take place mid-February.
The new facility will put about 500 students, faculty and staff into the city’s downtown when it relocates from Brock’s main campus. The new school will be adjacent to a new Performing Arts Centre and Spectator Facility, which are being built by the City of St. Catharines.
Kevin Chew and a bust of George Bernard Shaw
Dramatic Arts students engaging in new challenges at the Shaw Festival
Published on May 29 2013
Every year Brock's emerging theatre artists have an opportunity to intern for a six-week intensive learning experience at one of Canada's most renowned theatre organizations, the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Kevin Chew, a Concurrent Education student studying Dramatic Arts at Brock University, is the successful Intern candidate for 2013. Kevin was recently seen performing on the stage of the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre of the Centre for the Arts at Brock University in the Department's February mainstage The Blue Room by David Hare, directed by Virginia Reh. For his upper year thesis project Kevin conceived and directed the innovative investigation of restaurant service industry in the immersive dinner theatre event entitled Table 99, self-produced at Isaac's Bar and Grill at Brock University.
Students of the Department of Dramatic Arts are eligible to apply for this intensive residency following the successful completion of DART 4P92 Voice and Text of Bernard Shaw. Their academic studies in the Department come alive in the festival milieu of Shaw company professionals producing at the top of their game.
During his six weeks in Niagara-on-the-Lake Kevin will be working with Shaw's Director of Audience and Community Engagement, Norm Bradshaw (former Senior Major Gifts Officer for Brock's Faculty of Humanities), Shaw Intern directors Paul Van Dyke and Rose Plotek, Festival Co-Artistic Director Eda Holmes (directing Arcadia by Tom Stoppard), and Festival Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell (directing Enchanted April by Matthew Barber).
Following the development of world-class theatre productions from rehearsal studio through to opening night Kevin is also involved with projects such as cataloguing, appraising and photographing pieces in the art collection of the Shaw Festival, developing templates for potential community outreach/ engagement programs, education and engagement research, and assisting in the Festival's Stage Properties shop in Virgil, Ontario.
Through participation in singing and Alexander technique workshops, scheduled lunches and casual conversations with his new peers and mentors, Kevin is discovering what it means to contribute to the wealth of creative talent in the Festival company of theatre artists, production staff and administrators.
For original insight into theatre production at Canada's second largest repertory theatre company, follow Kevin's Facebook group Brock-Shaw Internship.
The DART Shaw Festival Internship program is generously supported for three years by proceeds from the annual General Brock's October Soiree. DART graduates who have completed the internship include Robyn Cunningham (2012) and Jacqueline Costa (2011).
Gina Greco at the Banff Centre
Dramatic Arts student adventuring at the Banff Centre
Published on June 27 2013
The Banff Center, located in the scenic Rocky Mountains of Alberta, is the largest arts and creativity incubator on the planet. Every year over 8000 artists, leaders, and researchers come from all over Canada and worldwide to participate in a large variety of arts programs. This year, a Dramatic Arts student, Gina Greco, is participating in a work study program as a wardrobe technician.
Gina, a Dramatic Arts Student concentrating in Production and Design, has worked on a number of projects within the department. Focusing on aspects of costuming, she has worked on the One Acts Festival, the Fall 2012 mainstage The Suicide - A Russian Comedy by Nikolai Erdman, directed by Gyllian Raby, Empty Box Theatre's production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, and the independent production Runner, written and directed by colleague and student in the Dramatic Arts program, Nicole Titus.
Banff's Theatre Arts Production, Design, and technology training programs have been running for more than 60 years. Participants are guided by many creative and design teams working simultaneously in opera, dance, theatre and interdisciplinary performance. With a combination of hands-on experiences and skill based training, the program seeks to inform and inspire the next generation of theatre makers and artists.
Some projects Gina will be working on are preparing a costume set for the opera Marriage of Figaro, making alterations on the costumes of an opera arriving from England, as well as a professional dance show. She will be working along side three other work-study technicians as a cutter and a First Hand under the guidance of the Head of Wardrobe Patsy Thomas.
"The most exciting thing is getting an opportunity to practise my craft in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It's my first time out west and I couldn't ask for a better reason to be here," Gina exclaimed.
"I think the biggest challenge will be adapting to working in a professional theatre environment, since I've never done something on this scale. But I'm totally up to that challenge!" she added.
To follow Gina's experiences as cutter and first hand at the Banff festival, check out her blog on Tumblr.
Khalida: a play for the Arab Spring, opens in St. Catharines at the Sullivan-Mahoney.
Published on February 28 2013
By Dr. Karen Fricker and staff
The story told in Khalida, a new theatre production playing this week in St Catharines, might at first glance seem somewhat removed from the experience of many Canadians. Subtitled ‘a play for the Arab Spring’, it takes the form of the confession and testimony of Said, a man on the run from his native Middle Eastern country, which has become a battle zone.
But the play’s origins couldn’t be more local: it springs from the friendship between author/director David Fancy, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts at Brock, and the Iraqi actor Addil Hussain, who received a BA in Dramatic Arts degree from Brock in 2006.
‘Addil was Saddam Hussein’s favourite actor,’ Fancy explains. ‘He fled Iraq during the first Gulf War and, after living as a refugee in Jordan for six or seven years, finally ended up in Canada. He did a degree in the Drama in Education and Society stream at Brock and became a Canadian citizen’. Audiences might remember Hussain's performances in two of the three plays performed in An Arabian Trilogy, a departmental mainstage production in 2006. In the third play he performed the role of the father in Leila Tatadaffah Bil Rasass. Mun Youaniquha? (By the Warmth of the Bullet that Kills) set in modern-day Baghdad and written by another Brock graduate Abbas Aldilami.
Fancy says he wrote the play ‘for the express purpose of continuing a conversation with Addil, having witnessed the challenges that he experienced as an individual and as an artist finding a voice as a new Canadian.’ The play is being produced by neXt Company Theatre, of which Fancy is co-artistic director.
While his friendship with Hussain offers fascinating insight into Khalida’s origins, Fancy believes an appreciation of the production does not rely on this backstory. ‘This is about a person somewhere in the world who has experienced difficulty and is using creativity to frame that and move beyond it,’ he explains.
The role of Said is being played by Toronto-based actor Jason Jazrawy, whose father is from Iraq. Jazrawy calls Said ‘an Arabic Everyman who whom all ethnicities can relate’ and says he welcomes the opportunity to ‘portray an Arab as a positive role model for a change,’ having found himself often cast as a terrorist jihadi because of his heritage.
Alongside Khalida, neXt Company Theatre has facilitated a community engagement project, The Arab Spring Monologues, which features 9-10 Niagarans, including four Brock students and recent graduates, writing about how the Arab Spring connects with their own experience or with the region.
Students from across the DART concentrations – Applied Theatre and Drama in Education, Theatre Praxis, Performance, and Production and Design – will be attending the production. The production presents an excellent model for the Brock students’ creative investigations in writing and dramaturgy, performance, and production, as well as personal and social identities and citizenship, remarks the Chair or the Department, David Vivian.
As for Addil Hussain, he returned to the Middle East in 2010, and is now working as an actor in Baghdad. Despite being half a world away, this production of Khalida is very much on his radar. Via Facebook, he sent this message to Fancy and his collaborators: 'Khalida was just a wish, and an idea, then became reality... I'm fully confident that Khalida is in great hands, hands with a great level of professionalism. Break a leg!'
Khalida plays at the Sullivan Mahoney Courthouse Theatre from 26 February-2 March. Tickets are available here. The Arab Spring Monologues play 5-7 pm on Saturday, March 2 at Robertson Hall, 85 Church Street, St. Catharines. Admission free; groups are requested to contact the company in advance here.
DART Professor at 2013 Congress in Victoria, British Columbia
Published on February 15 2013
Associate Professor Natalie Alvarez will be serving on the Program Committee for the Canadian Association for Theatre Research's (CATR) 2013 meeting at Congress 2013 of the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2014 DART will be hosting the annual meeting of the CATR as part of the complete Congress event to be held at the St. Catharines campus.
In addition to participating in a seminar on performance studies and sport, her two edited books on Latina/o Canadian theatre and performance will be launched during a conference lunch in Victoria.
Students should visit the DARTboard, the top level Sakai Page providing informtion about activities and courses in the Department of Dramatic Arts
Dramatic Arts Professor directs Canadian premiere of a Benjamin Britten opera
Published on November 19 2013
The 2013-2014 season of Toronto's Voicebox/Opera in Concert showcases some 'rarities of performance' and features Gloriana by Benjamin Britten.
The one-time concert performance at the Jane Mallet Theatre in Toronto is directed by Brock University Dramatic Arts Professor Virginia Reh.
Gloriana was composed for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953 and VOICEBOX’s performance marks the 100Th Anniversary of the Composer’s birth.
Queen Elizabeth I is approaching the end of her reign. Her affection for the impressive Earl of Essex is tested when he grows increasingly ambitious. Should she listen to the guidance of her advisors or be swayed by emotion? Moving from the pomp of state ceremony to the intimacy of the Queen’s private rooms, Gloriana depicts the public and private faces of the Virgin Queen, and the deterioration of her relationship with the impulsive Earl of Essex.
The opera features 15 soloists. In this concert production 10 of the soloists will be coming out of the chorus. The production is in memory of Reh's friend Stephen Ireland who passed away last October from complications arising from prostate cancer. The production is sponsored by his foundation.
Professor Reh will be directing the next mainstage production of the Department of Dramatic Arts, Jehanne of the Witches, opening February 13, 2014.
Sunday, November 24, 2013 — 2:30pm
Jane Mallett Theatre (at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts) Sunday, November 24 @2:30 p.m.
Peter Tiefenbach, Music Director and Pianist
Virginia Reh, Dramatic Advisor
Robert Cooper, Chorus Director
Betty Waynne Allison as Queen Elizabeth I
Jennifer Sullivan as Penelope (Lady Rich)
Adam Luther as Lord of Essex
Dion Mazerrole as Cecil
Jesse Clark as Lord Mountjoy
Christina Campsall as Countess of Essex
Marco Petracchi as Sir Walter Raleigh
Domenico Sanfilippo as Henry Cuffe
Fabian Arciniegas as The Recorder of Norwich
Joshua Wales as The Spirit of the Masque
Keenan Viau as The Master of Ceremonies
Gregory Finney as Old Man
Lise Maher as Page
Jessika Monea as Lady in Waiting
Dramatic Arts Professor gives plenary address “Performance and Its Genealogies of War” in Gothenburg, Sweden
Published on November 13 2013
Department of Dramatic Arts Professor Natalie Alvarez will be presenting her plenary address lecture “Performance and Its Genealogies of War” in the Seminar: CREATIVITY AND AUTHORSHIP IN WARFARE to be held November 27, 2013 at the Skogen performance space in Gothenburg, Sweden (Göteborgs Konsthall).
Professor Alvarez moves through several sites of her field research at military bases in the US, Canada, and the UK to observe the ways in which the performance paradigm has been taken up by the military-industrial-academic complex as it attempts to advance training methodologies nimble enough to take on a new frontier of irregular and asymmetrical warfare. Each site raises a particular set of concerns that, when taken together, trace the genealogies of performance and war. In her studies of scenarios at an insurgent training camp for US Special Forces in Utah, USA, and mock Afghan villages at CFB Wainright, Canada, and the Stanford Training Area in England, Alvarez raises questions concerning how the affective entrainment of soldiers through large-scale immersive improvisations converges in unsettling ways with histories of performance theory. She examines the instrumental use of empathy in military strategy and queries how the immersion of soldiers in the mise en scène of an Afghan village designed to foster Cultural Intelligence (CQ)—positioned by military strategists as a “force multiplier”—prepares soldiers to engage in an irreconcilable paradox of punitive, yet culturally “sensitive,” militarism.
Professor Alvarez is an associate professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University, Ontario, Canada, where she teaches in the Theatre Praxis concentration. She holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from the University of Toronto. In 2010, she received a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for her current book project on immersive simulations and intercultural performance in military training and dark tourism, which allowed her to conduct field research at military bases and tourist sites in Mexico, the US, Canada, and the UK. Her research on performance and simulation, performance theory, and contemporary experimental performance in the Americas has been published in a variety of periodicals, as well as national and international book collections. She is the editor of the first two collections on Latina/o-Canadian performance, which establish the field of Latina/o performance studies in Canada. She is the recipient of the 2013 Richard Plant Essay Prize and the Robert G. Lawrence emerging scholar prize, both by the Canadian Association of Theatre Research.
The seminar is curated by Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt and Skogen. It is presented in collaboration with Göteborgs Konsthall and Glänta with support from Västra Götalandsregionen and Goethe-Institut Schweden.
Arts Education Event: Gaza Mono-logues performed by visiting artists at the Department of Dramatic Arts
Published on October 01 2013
The Department recently hosted a performance of the Gaza-Mono-logues by Iman Aoun, Artistic Director, and four of her students of the Ashtar Theatre Company for Productions and Training (Gaza) in the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre at Brock University on the morning of Oct. 1, 2013.
Brock Professors Carolee Mason and Glenys McQueen-Fuentes met Iman Aoun during the recent IDEA Conference in Paris (International Drama and Education Association, summer of 2013) where she spoke briefly of her work as Artistic Director of the Ashtar Theatre Company for Productions and Training. Her students had created personal responses to "living in war and under siege" which became their production called The Gaza Mono-logues. Ms. Aoun had sent the text out to friends around the world, which resulted in youth performances in various places around the globe in 18 different languages. She also spoke of 14 groups who performed in separate languages at the United Nations--once in Geneva, and once in New York.
At the Paris conference we learned that Ms. Aoun and 4 of her actors; 2 men, 2 women, all between 19-24 years old, were coming to Canada in the fall of 2013. Theatre Director, Majdi Bou-Matar, of MTSpace in Kitchener, Ontario had invited her to participate in his IMPACT Festival and Conference held at the end of September, 2013. The company accepted the invitation to make a brief detour by Brock University as they proceed to performances in Oakville before the company of student actors returns home.
Attended by approximately 200 DART students, faculty, and guests, including 50 students and faculty from Appleby College in Oakville. The performance was followed by a brief Q&A in The Guernsey Market.
For more information on the Gaza Mono-logues Project: Iman Aoun, Artistic Director, Ashtar Theatre, Ramallah – Palestine www.thegazamonologues.com www.facebook.com/Richard2Ashtar www.facebook.com/pages/Ashtar-for-Theatre-Productions-and-Training
Our Grad, Julia Course - break-a-leg!
Published on April 20 2013
DART Alumna Julia Course was recently given a nod by J. Kelly Nestruck in the The Globe and Mail for her role in one of "6 can’t-miss stage productions for spring".
from the Globe and Mail, Wednesday, Apr. 17 2013:
Our Betters, Shaw Festival
The Shaw Festival is hoping some of the smell of Downton Abbey rubs off on its production of W. Somerset Maugham’s Our Betters, a 1923 comedy about rich American women trying to snag a British noble. Julia Course, a young company member who has turned heads in smaller parts in recent seasons, gets her first starring role in this production from acclaimed director/designer team Morris Panych and Ken MacDonald.
Royal George Theatre, April 3-Oct. 27, www.shawfest.com
You can see Julia interviewed and on stage in this short video available from PBS.
Dramatic Arts graduate speaks to future theatre makers
Published on May 23 2013
At the second Dramatic Arts Invitational for 2013 graduate Spencer Charles Smith inspired the 60 applicants with a short presentation about his professional development since he first enrolled at Brock in 2007. After graduating from Brock University's Dramatic Arts program in 2011, he went on to complete a MA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (specializing in queer performance) at the Center for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Spencer is now a playwright, performer, dramaturge and Artistic Director of the queer theatre company, Straight Camp. Theatre credits include: Breath in Between (Crow's Theatre/SummerWorks 2012), Spoon: A Queer Play (Straight Camp), Still Life (lemonTree creations/SummerWorks 2011), among others. Spencer is also co-owner of the famous Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto.
Spencer concluded his presentation with inspiring advice for the new Brock students:
1. Always say 'Yes.'
You never know what will come from a job. You never know who's watching and who's looking for someone new to collaborate with on future projects. One job almost always leads to the next. Keep busy.
2. Take advantage of your resources and fail.
Theatre school offers you free rehearsal space, a free theatre and a team of people who all want you to learn and grow. Take risks, play and don't be afraid to fail. This is where you will discover your strengths, your weaknesses and your obsessions.
3. See theatre.
The only way you will ever realize theatre's emotional, intellectual and creative potential is if you experience it first hand. Let it expand your imagination and inspire you to recreate it, deconstruct it, or refine it.
4. Don't burn bridges.
The theatre community is very small and we need to support each other. We need to keep the dialogue going because art is meant to spark conversation. Find at least one positive in everything you see. Plus, you never know who will be on the other side of that audition table.
5. Make your own opportunities.
Don't wait around for someone to offer you a job. Keep writing. Keep creating. Maintain your momentum. People respect passion, ambition and drive. I repeat: Keep busy.
Dramatic Arts Professor Karen Fricker receives Excellence in Teaching Award at McGill University
Published on April 05 2013
The Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University congratulates Professor Karen Fricker for her recent Award for Excellence in Teaching at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Professor Fricker is the first recipient of The Charles Bronfman and Rita Mayo Award for Excellence in Teaching at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada . This is based on evaluations of her Fall, 2013 course, Performing Québec in the Global Age. The award was granted by a jury consisting of Professors Robert Leckey and Nathalie Cooke, and MISC Director Will Straw.
The Award was established in 2012 with a gift from Heather Munro-Blum and Leonard Solomon-Blum. The Award recognizes outstanding teaching at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada in the Faculty of Arts, with special emphasis on advancing the interest of students in the study of Canada. All faculty in the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada are eligible for the Award, which has a total value of $1,000.
DART graduate to receive the President's Surgite Award
Published on March 21 2013
DART alumna Roxolana (Rox) Chwaluk was recently selected to receive the President's Surgite Award at her Masters degree convocation in the autumn of 2013.
The President's Surgite Award recognizes those students who have been outstanding in one or more of the following areas:
· Demonstrated exemplary leadership in a student club, organization, association or team.
· Did something exceptional that helped to advance Brock's academic reputation.
· Made a significant contribution to student life at Brock.
· Provided a valuable service to Brock or the broader community.
Rox remarked that "the foundation that I had as a DART (Dramatic Arts) student was essential to my success. I have always been grateful for the opportunities I was provided to engage with my peers and the community. The professors who inspired me also grounded my work."
Rox graduated with a BA Honours in Dramatic Arts First-Class Standing in 2009, her Bachelor of Education Preservice Education - Intermediate Senior in 2010, and will graduate with her Master of Education (Social and Cultural Contexts of Education) in the autumn of 2013.
congratulations to you, Rox!