MIWSFPA to host public dramatic arts symposium

In a rapidly changing world filled with anxiety and political uncertainty, the practice of drama in education and applied theatre can be a means to respond to the current climate.

The concept will be at the centre of an upcoming dramatic arts symposium, The State of Our Art, hosted by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27.

The two-day event includes keynote speakers as well as workshops that will offer insight into how scholars use the practice of drama in education and applied theatre to grapple with what scholars have referred to as ‘post-normal’ issues.

Professor Julie Salverson of Queen’s University will deliver the first of two keynote addresses. Salverson asks her audience: “How do all of us, individually and collectively, honour our own heritage, traditions and teachers? How do we bring these to the table and to how we live, work and attend? What do each of us offer to the conversation?”

Salverson’s lecture will be held in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre on Friday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

The second keynote speaker, Professor Kathleen Gallagher from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, will focus on a case study of one of her research cites, Lucknow, India. In her research, she asks: “How have the students in India, and how might we in our various pedagogical and creating contexts, use theatre to understand social systems and imagine a progressive sociality?”

Gallagher will use her applied theatre research, “Youth, Theatre, Radical Hope and the Ethical Imaginary: an intercultural investigation of drama pedagogy, performance and civic engagement, to answer this question throughout her lecture.

Gallagher’s presentation, held in the MIW Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 9 a.m., will be followed by a series of workshops beginning at 10:30.

The workshops, held in Studios A, C and D, will feature Salverson, Joe Norris from Brock University and Larry Swartz from the University of Toronto.

A second round of workshops will be held at 2:30 p.m. featuring Belarie Zatzman from York University, David Booth from the University of Toronto, and Gallagher.

Both keynote lectures are open to the public and require no registration. Registration is, however, required for the workshops and can be completed online through Eventbrite. All events are free.

For more information on the keynote speakers and details about the workshops, visit the Department of Dramatic Arts website.

A printable PDF file has been made for registrants to bring with them the day of the workshops.

Limited parking is available at the MIWSFPA for guests and presenters on a first come, first served basis. Due to multiple event programming on the evening of Friday, Jan. 26, attendees are asked to allow ample time to find nearby parking.

The symposium is presented as part of the Walker Cultural Leader series. Leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics are invited to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts to celebrate professional achievement, artistic endeavour and the indelible role of culture in society. This education program is generously founded by Marilyn I. Walker.

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