Articles by author: Brock University

  • The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Announces their 2016/17 Season: Breaking the Surface


    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    Brock University

    16 September 2016

     “Breaking the Surface” promotes creative and intellectual activity in the heart of Niagara
    Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) announces Season 2016/17 Breaking the Surface, that celebrates the bond between the community and our arts centre in downtown St. Catharines. This year we build upon the relationship between the arts and the public realm, seeking to broaden the community’s understanding of how the arts relate to urban issues and contribute to cultural development in the Niagara region.

    This season consists of more than 45 dynamic events from performances, exhibitions, concerts and artist talks – on stage, in studios and galleries, and at regional venues.

    Some highlights of the season include:

    • The Ash Mouth Man presented by Stolen Theatre Collective and Brock University’s Department of Dramatic   Arts?, runs Sept. 15-18 & 23-25, 2016, held at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, MIWSFPA
    • Culture Days Open House, runs Sept. 30 – October 2, held at the MIWSFPA. For more information, visit:
    • Guitar Extravaganza II, ?Oct. 22, 2016 at 7:30 pm, held in ?Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
    • In Light and Darkness Exhibit, ?Nov. 22 – Dec. 9, 2016, held in the Art Gallery, MIWSFPA

    Now in our second year at 15 Artists’ Common, we are thrilled by the investment of the community in this incubator of creative expression and critical reflection. We invite Niagara to join us in a celebration of our students, faculty and guest artists’ achievements in the fine and performing arts, said David Vivian, MIWSFPA Director.

    The full program of events can be found on our MIWSFPA website, or you can download the “Breaking the Surface” Calendar of Events in pdf format.

    Stay connected to the MIWSFPA on social media by following @miwsfpa on Twitter and Instagram.


    For more information or to arrange interviews:

    Marie Balsom, Communications, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x4765


    Categories: News

  • Visa Instructor recent exhibitions.

    Photography Instructor Amy Friend is part of the following exhibitions:

    Encontros Da Imagem
    Exhibition: Memory Lab of Happiness
    Braga, Portugal
    Sept. 20 to Nov. 5, 2016

    Getxo Photo Festival Getxo, Spain
    September 1 to Oct. 2, 2016

    DongGang International Photofestiva, l South Korea
    July 9 to September 25, 2016
    DongGang Museum of Photography  

    Categories: News, Uncategorised

  • Beginning of Term VISA Orientation

    At the start of each academic year the Visual Arts Department holds an orientation and meet & greet event. This year the event will be held in the Lobby of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on Wednesday, September 7th from 3 to 5:30 pm.

    All VISA and STAC students are encouraged to attend.

    The orientation session for the first-year VISA/STAC students is just down the hall from the Lobby in Room 151 and begins at 3 pm. After the orientation the first-year students will move to the lobby and join the other students, staff and faculty for food, refreshments, music, mingling and more!

    Come and join the fun and get to know your faculty and fellow students. We look forward to meeting you. The new term is just around the corner!


    Categories: News, Uncategorised

  • Remnants: Visa 2f05 sculpture exhibition

    REMNANTS: Exhibit presented by the Department of Visual Arts
    July 7 – September 16, 2016

    Opening Reception: July 7, Noon – 3 pm
    Free food & refreshments

    The students of the summer sculpture course have delved into the site-specific exhibition, REMNANTS, creating works inspired by the traces of history that remain in the refurbished building.

    Over a century ago in the heart of downtown St. Catharines, the Canada Hair Cloth Co. functioned as a beneficial part of the community by bringing jobs and growth throughout the Niagara Region. Today it is known as the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, an extension of Brock University.

    Originally, the factory was built in 1888 and was founded by the McSloy brothers who saw the potential for industrial growth within their community. They worked hard towards building a company that centralized around trading and selling their products from Halifax to Vancouver. In the traditional style of the New England Mills, the Canada Hair Cloth Co. was built with the intention of allowing as much natural sunlight into the factory as possible. With its open concept and large windows, the building was easily illuminated before the era of electricity. Eventually, the McSloy brothers purchased a generator to provide electricity, which was powered by the Millrace.

    At the time the factory was built, horses, railways, and ships were the common means of transportation and all three were critical to the early success of the company. Waterpower played an essential role in regards to the growth of the factory as it was the primary source of energy to run the machinery. The canal flowed behind the buildings and the fast-flowing water produced power for the mills. Horses were used for providing raw material for the actual haircloth itself as the hair was gathered from their tails. The fabric produced was used in a vast variety of things ranging from the railway seats to the interfacing of fine suits. During this time, the majority of industrialized manufacturing was produced around this part of town, especially close to the Welland Canal. This enabled goods to be easily shipped and sold to other markets from around Canada.

    In the fall of 2015, the Canada Hair Cloth Co. was reopened as the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and welcomed the students of Brock University to work and create within a building that already embodies so much creativity. Keeping in mind the artistic process, materials and tools that went into the many things produced by the company, the summer sculpture class has worked hard in collaborating an exhibition to pay tribute to what was and still is a lively building full of artistic innovation.

    We welcome you to come and join us in celebrating the birth and continual growth of this beautiful building.

    REMNANTS will be held in the Learning Commons, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines.

    Free community event

    Limited paid parking onsite

    Categories: News, Uncategorised

  • Brock University Visual Arts Assistant Professor’s work exhibited internationally

    Brock University Visual Arts assistant professor Amy Friend’s work is featured in the Main Exhibition at the Donggang International Photo Festival in South Korea.

    Exhibition Overview:
    A total of 14 photographers around the world are participating in this exhibition, which will revolve around the theme of ‘Heaven on Earth’.

    Categories: News, Uncategorised

  • Dramatic Arts alumna feature documentary to be broadcast July 09

    from the article by Erica Bajer posted in the Brock News 16.06.15

    Documentary maker’s love of storytelling began at Brock

    It was the people and their stories that captivated Nicolina Lanni. What they lost. What they found. How they connected.

    In her first feature documentary film Lost & Found, the Brock University grad shares the stories of Japanese people who survived a devastating tsunami and the beachcombers half a world away who helped pick up the pieces.

    “It’s about people and very personal, human stories,” says Lanni (BA ’05). “It was so clearly such a beautiful story and once it was in front of us, there was no way we were not going to tell it.”

    An estimated 25-million tonnes of wreckage from Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami is drifting across the Pacific Ocean, often washing up on North America’s shores. Filming took Lanni and her creative partner John Choi to Alaska, Washington, British Columbia and Japan.

    Lanni says the debris is more than just trash, it’s remnants of the lives of the 20,000 people lost to the waves and the loved ones they left behind.

    The film follows the stories of beachcombers, scientists and government officials coming together to collect all that was lost, and reunite the items with their rightful owners in Japan.

    “We didn’t really focus on the disaster or the aftermath,” Lanni says. “Our film really focuses on the specific stories of friendship and these really unlikely relationships forged in the aftermath.”

    One of the friendships the film explores is between Alaskans David and Yumi Baxter and a woman they met in Japan after finding a yellow buoy wash up in Alaska. Sakiko Miura lost everything in the tsunami including the restaurant she ran with her late husband Keigo.

    The Baxters reunited Miura with a buoy with the character for

    Kei (short for Keigo) painted on it, which used to hang outside of her restaurant in a coastal town called Minamisanriku.

    “The fact that the Kei buoy came back makes me think that my husband’s soul is in it,” Miura says in the documentary.

    The meaning of objects and our connection to them is explored throughout Lost & Found.

    The filmmakers made links that will last a lifetime, Choi says.

    “The people in our film are all incredibly close to us still. It’s a family,” he says. “Lost & Found is really about taking that leap of faith and the unlikeliness of people coming together from around the world and connecting.”

    Lanni says the work she did while making the film is drawn from her experiences at Brock, where she studied theatre and women’s studies.

    It was at Brock that she started interviewing people and storytelling as part of a form of verbatim theatre called Collective Creation – when a group comes together, writes, collaborates and performs. She did it in Africa after graduation.

    “We would go into a town, talk to people and create a show and perform it for the community,” she says.

    After working in journalism for a time, Lanni switched to filmmaking and works as a director and producer in film and broadcast television including programming for The History Channel, Discovery Channel and Shaw Media.

    Lost & Found was commissioned by Shaw Communications alongside NHK Enterprises in Japan and SBS in Australia.

    Lanni says they also received the Hot Docs Shaw Completion Fund and the film had its theatrical premier at the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema in March for the fifth anniversary of the tsunami.

    For more information on the film and where to see it visit Global is showing the movie July 9 at 9 p.m.

    Lanni and Choi, who have a company called Frank Films, are currently working on a documentary about sinkholes.


    Categories: News, Uncategorised

  • Dramatic Arts graduating student writes about her experiences at Brock University

    Hello future DART students (and those still deciding):

    My name is Elizabeth and I am a graduating student from the Dramatic Arts program at Brock University.  I know you are all facing the important decision of where to go for school next year and wanted to write you all and let you know a bit about why I chose Brock, and the amazing opportunities I’ve had as a result.

    After my invitational experience at Brock I knew it was the place for me.  I left the invitational convinced that this would be a program in which I would be valued and appreciated for what I had to offer as an individual.  I also got the feeling that this would be a program focused on building community rather than competition.  I was right; DART is filled with some of the most supportive people I have ever worked with — professors and peers alike.  

    The ability to get a truly well-rounded theatrical education was one of the most important factors in my decision.  Although I was in the performance concentration and therefore had plenty of studio classes and performance opportunities, I benefitted the most from being exposed to all aspects of theatrical production and study.  Crew courses gave me an appreciation for those who work backstage, as well as valuable skills that performers may need when starting their own small companies; critical theory and theatre history courses gave me a strong foundation of theatrical knowledge that I continuously draw on; directing and devising courses allowed my to develop who I want to be as an artist; and a theatre criticism course with Prof. Karen Fricker — who is also the Toronto Star’s new theatre critic — allowed me to discover a passion I was able to further as a writer and editor for  That passion for theatre criticism began my interests in writing and dramaturgy, interests that I am now pursuing in graduate studies at Harvard University and the American Repertory Theater Institute — indicative, I believe, of the quality of education and scope of opportunities DART offers its students.

    If you have a theatre-related interest you want to explore, Brock is the place to do it.  In my time here I have acted in numerous MainStage and student-run productions, directed a one act play and assistant directed last year’s Fall MainStage, coordinated five seasons of the GimmeTwo short scene festival, attended classes at the Stratford and Shaw festivals, learned technical skills ranging from designing lighting plots to building sets, been employed by the university as a stage hand and as a theatre critic, and am currently working as a summer intern at the Shaw Festival. (I write a blog for DART students about this experience which you can find at  I believe that this program offers students the support and resources to achieve and experience anything they desire.

    DART is a program that allows you to pursue your interests with instructors who not only are some of the best in the business, but who respect and build lasting friendships with their students.  This is a program to explore and gain confidence in new interests in a safe and encouraging environment.  Even better, that environment is now gorgeous and better equipped than ever thanks to the recent move to the brand new arts building.

    I hope that you seriously consider the Dramatic Arts program at Brock.  This program made all the difference in allowing me to become a confident and competent artist, and I know that my future is brighter because of the decision I made when I was in your place.  Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have about the program, I will be so happy to hear from you and will help in any way I can.  Hope to see you on (or behind) the DART stage in the coming years!

    Best of luck,

    Elizabeth Amos
    DART Class of 2016

    Categories: News, Uncategorised

  • Brock grad attending prestigious Soulpepper Academy

    by Erica Bajer

    When Marcel Stewart studied drama at Brock University, he learned more than how to portray a character on stage.

    He learned to write, direct and produce. He learned confidence in his craft.

    “Brock taught me a lot about just being an artist in general,” said the 30-year-old Toronto man. By his third year in the dramatic arts program, Stewart (BA ’07) was completely immersed in all aspects of the theatre.

    “I’m most grateful for the understanding that arts is a community,” he said, noting he appreciated the spirit of collaboration and support at Brock.

    Stewart was recently accepted as one of 17 artists in the prestigious and competitive Soulpepper Academy, a paid two-year training program for theatre artists. More than 1,100 people applied in the nationwide audition.

    Stewart said the six-month audition process was intense but taught him a lot about himself.

    “To be selected as a member of the Soulpepper Academy can be a career-changing appointment,” said Professor David Vivian, chair of Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts. “We teach our theatre artists to excel across a wide spectrum of skills.”

    Soulpepper Academy has specialized training streams in acting, playwriting, directing, designing and producing.

    Stewart, who for a number of years has been exploring the relationship between Shakespearean language and hip-hop music, is developing a hip-hop adaptation of Macbeth.

    He has also been successful on the stage in the Toronto area and said taking a break from his burgeoning acting career is daunting. But to him, it’s worth the risk.

    “What I’m looking forward to is better preparing myself to become a man on stage,” he said, noting he’s looking to transition from roles for young men into a broader range. “I’m most excited about challenging myself.”

    Vivian said Stewart’s teachers at Brock are proud of his accomplishments since graduating.

    “This is a significant achievement for one of our graduates and it couldn’t have happened to a more generous spirit and talented artist,” said Danielle Wilson, Brock lecturer and director of Mainstage Productions in the Department of Dramatic Arts. “As a student, he was extremely motivated to do quality work that pushed the boundaries of his abilities. I have followed his career over the years and am very impressed by the quality of the projects he has been involved in as a young and developing artist.” Stewart starts at Soulpepper Academy in August.

    reposted from:

    Categories: News, Uncategorised

  • Visa and STAC students exhibit in Austria

    Students in the Brock University Intermediate Painting and Interpretive and Critical Writing in the Arts courses, under the tutelage of Professors Catherine Parayre and Shawn Serfas, have mounted an exhibition at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

    Visual Appropriations and Rewritings
    June 1 > 30, 2016
    University of Innsbruck

    Click HERE for more information. 

    Categories: News, Uncategorised

  • The Viva Voce! Choral Series presents Avanti Chamber Singers – Water Music: Of Rain, River and Sea

    The Avanti Chamber Singers celebrate spring and the conclusion of their 10th Anniversary Season with “Water Music: Songs of Rain, River and Sea"

    On Saturday, April 30, 2016, the Avanti Chamber Singers (ACS) present a beautiful and varied evening of original choral works and arrangements on the subject of water in all its forms. The audience will hear classical works, spirituals, folk songs and selections from the "Great American Songbook."

    The program will feature, symbolically, ten different soloists from the choir. Several multi-talented choristers will also serve as flutists, and the ACS will be joined by guest pianist Karin Di Bella, Chair of the Department of Music at Brock University.

    The variety of composers and arrangers featured in this all-English program include international names (Barber, Copland, Elgar, Holst) as well as a range of Canadians, including those from Ontario (Daley, Telfer, Weaver) and, most importantly, Niagara (John Butler, Matthew Royal). The "Great American Songbook" is represented by well-known songwriters Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin and Henry Mancini.

    Conductor Harris Loewen states, “Water has been a favourite subject and symbol for poets and musicians over the centuries, and seems a fitting focus for a spring concert and a 10th anniversary conclusion. I think audiences will really love letting this beautiful program just flow over them!”

    ACS alumni are encouraged to come and celebrate with us. Please contact the choir through their website (, to arrange for free admission to the concert and reception.

    The Viva Voce Choral Series, presented by the Department of Music is a key part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate in building connections between the community and Brock University.

    Join us for an evening of superb music on Saturday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m., held at Covenant Christian Reformed Church, 278 Parnell Rd., St. Catharines. Admission at the door is $25 adults; $20 seniors & students; $5 eyeGo high school program. A $5 discount is available for advance tickets (excluding eyeGo) and can be purchased in St. Catharines at BookSmart (Scott & Vine Plaza) and Thorold Music (Glendale Avenue).


    For more information contact: Marie Balsom, Communications
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    T: 905.688.5550, ext. 4765 | E: | W:

    Categories: News, Uncategorised