News

  • Distinguished Graduate a class act in Canadian theatre

    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Though the spotlight may seem daunting to many people, it’s where Jordin Hall (BA ’10) feels most at home.

    The Brock Dramatic Arts graduate has found much success in his acting career and credits the groundwork he developed at Brock for helping to set his course.

    “Brock set the foundation for me early in my career. I learned how to respect the room, be diligent and work my craft,” says Hall, who was honoured during Brock’s Homecoming weekend as the Faculty of Humanities Distinguished Graduate Award recipient. “Those skills were all transferable and it immediately impacted my career following graduation.”

    Hall received his Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts with a performance concentration from Brock in 2010. Following graduation, he found success as an actor in Toronto, working with many independent theatre companies and performing in leading roles for several Shakespearean productions, including Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Winter’s Tale (Dauntless City Theatre), Titus Andronicus (Seven Siblings Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Humber River Shakespeare Company), and the title role of Othello for Driftwood Theatre.

    A woman on the left presenting a framed certificate to a male on the right pictured in front of a red backdrop.

    Carol Merriam, Dean of Brock’s Faculty of Humanities, presents Jordin Hall with the Faculty’s Distinguished Graduate Award at the Alumni Recognition Reception on Saturday, Sept. 24.

    Although he is now confident and eager to perform the works of Shakespeare, this wasn’t always the case.

    “From what I learned in high school, I thought I hated Shakespeare. In hindsight, this wasn’t the case at all; it was just how it was taught to us,” Hall says. “After breaking down the words and understanding how it was supposed to be read, I felt excited. I understood it and I was hungry for more.”

    Brock Dramatic Arts Professor Danielle Wilson says Hall was “always dedicated and driven.”

    “He was extremely passionate about performing even from a young age,” she says. “It was clear to me after a scene from Othello completed in one of my classes, he had an ability with language. He already knew how to use the words and had the voice to support them.”

    Following his success in Toronto, Hall found a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study classical theatre with the Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory.

    “It is a prestigious organization to be with and it’s every young theatre person’s dream to be part of the conservatory,” he says. “I remember I had my callback, and I didn’t really know how it went. When I got a call offering me a spot, it was surreal, and I was so excited. I was truly grateful for that opportunity.”

    After achieving his dream of working with the Birmingham Conservatory, Hall joined the Stratford acting ensemble in 2018. Since then, he has been part of seven Stratford productions, including his acclaimed leading role of Bertram in this year’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well.

    Dramatic Arts Professor David Fancy praised Hall’s impact as a professional in Canadian theatre.

    “Jordin was very engaged with critical issues of representation and made strong intelligent contributions as a student,” he says. “There have been barriers to inclusion historically for racialized individuals in Canadian theatre. The fact that he is now working at one of the most recognized cultural institutions in the country is a huge sign of success.”

    As for what’s next, Hall says he wants to continue pursuing his craft.

    “In many ways, I am still finding my way as a performer, and I can’t say for sure what the future holds, but I can see myself with the Stratford Festival for a while,” he says. “I enjoy it and hope that we can continue to produce more great work together.”

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, News

  • Dramatic Arts grad earns double Dora nomination

    Brock graduate Cass Van Wyck (right) performs in The Huns, for which she was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award. (Photo courtesy of Matt Hertendy).


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    For Brock University Dramatic Arts graduate Cass Van Wyck (BA ’13), two recent award nominations are about more than the potential hardware she could be taking home next week.

    The Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee believes the recognition is also a nod to the resilience of the performing arts community as it emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “When COVID hit, it was a very difficult time and there was a lack of motivation, especially given the restrictions,” she said. “As we slowly got back into it with the reopenings, the two productions I was part of were really a sign of resilience and a celebration of getting back into the rhythm of life.”

    Van Wyck said receiving two Dora Award nominations in the Outstanding Performance by an Individual in the Independent Theatre Division category for her performances in Minutes to Midnight and The Huns was “the cherry on top” and “ truly the surprise of a lifetime.”

    The Dora Awards recognize artistic excellence and unite the disciplines of theatre, dance and opera to celebrate and strengthen the performing arts in Toronto.

    Van Wyck is the Creative Director of One Four One Collective, an independent Canadian theatre and film production company that she and fellow Brock alumni launched after graduation.

    The production company’s name reflects their time at the University, where it all began.

    “We created the One Four One Collective as a way for all of us to collaborate and make productions together. The name of the company was a nod to one of our favourite rehearsal spaces in the basement of the Schmon Tower, where there was this beautiful space with floor-to-ceiling windows that looked over the escarpment,” Van Wyck said. “Although we don’t collaborate anymore, we still have a strong relationship, and they continue to be huge supporters of mine. I am constantly grateful for their lifelong friendship.”

    Van Wyck has put out a total of four productions under One Four One Collective and works as a Co-Artistic Director with the Assembly Theatre in Toronto. Both Minutes to Midnight and The Huns were collaborative projects by both production companies.

    She’s grateful for the support of the team she was surrounded by throughout the productions.

    “I was incredibly fortunate to work with remarkable artists this past year in both productions. The heart, resilience and strength are truly the reason these shows happened,” she said. “Producing and doing independent theatre work with little resources is hard in the regular world, but with a pandemic, it becomes nearly impossible. These nominations are a result of an amazing team that was able to come together. Even without the nominations, I am so proud of the work we’ve done together.”

    The Dora Mavor Moore Awards will be presented during a ceremony held Monday, Sept. 19 at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre in Toronto.

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  • Music students’ talent shines on provincial stage

    Brock University Music students Lee Bakker, Isaiah Burry and Caroline Young join Associate Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff after their Ontario Youth Choir performance.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    After spending the summer fine-tuning their choral skills, three Brock Music students are ready to start the school year on a high note.

    Third-year student Caroline Young and fourth-year students Isaiah Burry and Lee Bakker found themselves surrounded by talented and inspired chorists from across the province after successfully auditioning for the Ontario Youth Choir (OYC) earlier this year.

    The OYC is an honour choir that showcases the skills and abilities of Ontario singers between the ages of 16 and 23. The 10-day summer training intensive gives students the chance to be part of a large group of motivated and enthusiastic singers, with their hard work culminating in a final performance.

    The OYC’s selection process began with an audition, which included a solo piece, vocal warm-ups to gauge the performer’s vocal range and a piece chosen by the OYC to be performed acapella.

    Having successfully completed the audition process Bakker, Burry and Young quickly came to realize that they were among a collective of gifted chorists.

    “I was surrounded by so many voice majors and talented instructors, it really challenged me,” Young said. “This opportunity definitely helped me grow as a musician.”

    Prior to living in Ontario, Burry was part of the B.C. Youth Choir. His time with OYC, however, left him impressed by the talent he found himself immersed in.

    “Everyone was studying voice in some manner on a university level and being surrounded by those like-minded individuals was really cool,” he said.

    As the program got underway, it became clear that it had a different dynamic than most choral programs, Burry said. Rather than creating a student and teacher environment, it offered more of an artistic collective.

    “They treat you as a colleague and because of that, there’s a lot more responsibility,” Burry said. “We rehearsed, on average, eight hours a day and by the end of the day, if there was something that still needed to be worked on for you personally, then that was your responsibility. You had to do your part because the next day everyone was going to be working on something else.”

    The program and its final performance was a rejuvenating experience for all three Brock students as they prepared to head into the new academic year.

    “I feel like I can take more risks now, especially with solo performances,” said Young. “If I can stand up and audition for the OYC then I can definitely stand up and perform for the Brock Choir.”

    Burry said the final performance left him with a “feeling of motivation reignited in me.”

    “In my mind, I chalked it up to the fact that what I was getting through OYC was a glimpse at the next step of being a professional chorister,” he said.

    In attendance at the final performance was Associate Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Conductor of the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers.

    “The Ontario Youth Choir has played a significant role in the lives of young choral singers across the province for many decades and it was very special to have three of our own students representing Brock’s Music program in this prestigious choral ensemble,” Rensink-Hoff said. “To witness the energy and passion in their culminating performance, particularly given the obstacles faced by choral musicians over the past two and a half years, was heartwarming. I look forward to encouraging future students to audition for this tremendous musical experience.”

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  • Brock art exhibition inspired by Canada Games mascot, local wildlife

    Fourth-year Brock Visual Arts student and research assistant Emily MacDonald examines the camera-less photographs created for the Small Movements exhibit.


    Originally published in The Brock News | FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Many aspects of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games have inspired projects across Brock University — and the event’s mascot, Shelly, is no exception.

    The turtle’s impact has gone beyond the Games to influence two Brock projects now being showcased as part of an ongoing exhibition.

    Presented by Brock’s Department of Visual Arts (VISA), in conjunction with the Games, Small Movements highlights the work of Associate Professors Amy Friend and Donna Szoke. The exhibition was funded by the University’s VPR Canada Games grants.

    Szoke’s work, which saw her collaborate with Grade 1 and 2 students at Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion Public School in St. Catharines, creates a connection between the 2022 Canada Games, the local community and turtle conservancy.

    As part of the project, students experienced a virtual field trip to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC), where they learned about the organization’s important work and visited a hospital for recovering and resident turtles, as well as a nursery with eggs and hatchlings.

    Following their visit, students were given the opportunity to colour their own images of turtles, which were then scanned and animated by VISA fourth-year student Emily MacDonald and alumna Julie Luth (BA ’22). The scanned images were used to create an animation, which was then gifted back to the children, animators, the OTCC and the Canada Games.

    Painted Turtles from Donna Szoke on Vimeo.

    “The children’s approaches to drawing and painting are refreshing in their naiveté, gesture and palette,” says Szoke. “By inventing a platform for generating turtle images created by children, our research-creation team created a turtle animation meant to engage and inspire.”

    Meanwhile, Friend’s project investigates and bridges a connection between sports and Niagara’s regional ecosystems, with a specific focus on turtles. Also inspired by the Canada Games mascot, the project examines watersports that take place in habitats shared with turtles. It includes camera-less photographs, water samples from across the Niagara region, a sound component and digital photography.

    Friend used analogue photo practices to produce camera-less photographs with her creative research team, including research assistants Laurie Morrison and Sarah Martin (BA ’19). Morrison, a first-year VISA student, and Martin, a VISA alumna, worked on capturing and printing the project’s images. Morrison secured light-sensitive photo paper to a kayak, allowing an interaction to take place between paper and water, while Martin collected samples from local waterways and helped to edit and print images with Friend.

    Friend’s work also includes photos that were taken at the surface of the water with a digital camera.

    “The photographs were shot at the water’s surface, precisely where the paddles enter the water and where turtles swim,” she says. “My thought process for this approach was to establish a relationship between the act of paddling or rowing through the water and the movements made by turtles as they move through the water.”

    Research assistant and recent graduate Qiushuang Xia (BA ’22) took photographs across the region’s waterways. Xia also captured the sound component that accompanies the project, recording from some of the same sites that were explored to create the images in the exhibition.

    Small Movements is open now until Oct. 1 at the Marilyn I. Walker Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space. There will be a reception with the artists on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend. More information is available on the exhibit web page.

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  • Public invited to explore Brock’s downtown arts school Saturday

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


    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, AUG. 18, 2022 | by

    The Niagara community will have the chance to explore Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) this weekend while learning about the building’s past and present.

    The downtown St. Catharines facility, which houses Brock’s Departments of Dramatic Arts, Music and Visual Arts as well as the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC), will host a series of guided tours as part of Doors Open St. Catharines on Saturday, Aug. 20. Tours will take place at 10 and 11:30 a.m., and 1 and 2:30 p.m., with no registration required.

    Adapted from the historic Canada Hair Cloth Building, the MIWSFPA is a state-of-the-art learning facility that acts as a creative cultural hub for St. Catharines and surrounding areas.

    As part of this weekend’s event, STAC will have a collection of publications on display by the Small Walker Press (SWP). SWP publishes collaborative work that brings together authors and artists from the Niagara region as well as from Canadian or international contexts.

    The works explore all disciplines and creative practices taught and researched at the MIWSFPA (arts and culture, visual arts, music and dramatic arts) as well as creative writing. For more information about the SWP and publications available at Doors Open St. Catharines, please visit the STAC website.

    A full list of places participating in Doors Open St. Catharines is available on the event’s website.

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  • Brock alumni, faculty take spotlight at Hamilton Fringe

    Rebekka Gondosh (right) worked with Spark Intensive participants during their rehearsals for their Hamilton Fringe Performance. (Photo Courtesy of Joginder Singh)


    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, AUG. 9, 2022 | by

    When the Hamilton Fringe Festival got underway last month, Brock alumni and faculty not only shared their talent on stage, but also used their knowledge to inspire the next generation of performers.

    Among the artists who participated in the theatre festival, which returned July 21 to 30 after a two-year pandemic hiatus, were Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) alumni Rebekka Gondosch (BA ’12), Diego Blanco (BA ’21), Holly Hebert (BA ’21) and Asenia Lyall (BA ’22), as well as DART Associate Professors Gyllian Raby and Danielle Wilson.

    A high school Dramatic Arts and English teacher with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Gondosch led the festival’s Spark Teen Intensive — a performance program for youth ages 13 to 18 living or studying in Hamilton.

    Through Spark, participants learn practical devising skills, work with local guest artists in a variety of disciplines such as movement, poetry, storytelling, theatre and music, and create an original performance piece that is performed during Hamilton Fringe.

    In addition to teaching for the past six years, Gondosch has been busy working with Passing Through Theatre and Light Echo Theatre, sharing her poetry as part of Suitcase in Point’s In the Soil Festival and creating works of her own. She recognizes the growing need for arts and performance programs in youth education and is doing what she can to help nurture the arts locally.

    A woman with a clown nose

    Brock University Dramatic Arts Associate Professor Danielle Wilson performed in the production Stage Fright as part of Hamilton Fringe Festival.

    “A hope I have for the Spark program is that it might encourage young emerging artists to continue making art in Hamilton,” she says.

    Meanwhile, fellow Brock alumni Blanco, Hebert and Lyall produced an original one-act play, Thy Name is Woman, at Hamilton Fringe through their new self-producing company, Into The Abyss Theatre.

    “Several of DART’s upper-year classes provide students with devising and production skills, as well as encouragement to go out and voice their ideas,” says Raby. “We are proud to see these fine artists making their mark.”

    Also taking part in the Fringe Festivities was Raby, who partnered with Wilson on a new production of their own, Stage Fright. The dynamic duo looked to trigger and assuage performers’ worst fears while getting in a few laughs along the way.

    Stage Fright was built on playwright Wilson’s experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic, including attachment to technology, social media consumption and her newfound interest in the art of clown.

    Wilson makes it a point to indicate that clown goes beyond the archetype popularized by circus.

    “Clown is a state of creative play and a state of connection with the audience. You don’t know what the clown is going to do next — the clown comes from the person who is performing. It’s a state of openness to failure,” she says.

    Raby assisted Wilson with dramaturgy and direction, dissecting and exploring the multi-faceted elements of stage fright — a condition of psycho-physical paralysis experienced by most people.

    “Death, taxes and speaking in public are top fears,” Raby says.

    Wilson adds the little-known fact that since many performers are introverts, they are even more deeply affected by stage fright.

    “I was eager to get back on stage, since 2018 was my last performance,” Wilson says. “It’s important to stay in touch with all that it takes to perform, along with the fear that it takes.”

    Reflecting on the the existential humour of the show, Raby says: “How can something so terrifying, and so intellectually fascinating, be so light and funny?”

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  • First Studies in Arts and Culture certificate recipient making mark in industry

    Skye Rogers, the first recipient of Brock University’s Certificate in Arts and Culture Studies, will debut her project ‘PLAYGROUNDS: a joyful happening’ on Saturday, July 16 at In the Soil Arts Festival.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2022 | by 

    For the first recipient of Brock University’s Certificate in Arts and Culture Studies, the sky’s the limit.

    Skye Rogers, who received the first certificate from the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) this spring, has been using the knowledge she amassed at Brock to further her career.

    The one-year certificate program was a draw for the St. Catharines native, who returned to her hometown in spring 2021 upon completing her studies at Randolph College for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

    “It was a perfect time to get some more learning under my belt,” Rogers says. “The STAC program really allowed me to dive deeper into my interests in art history and the flexibility that I had in my course selection allowed me to continue my more hands-on learning in dramatic and visual arts.”

    Rogers says she found her time with STAC “academically enriching.”

    “The program set me up well with more of the entrepreneurial skills needed to be an artist,” she says. “Applying my knowledge was really significant for me and getting to research my own interests for our final project was crucial.”

    With her newly acquired skills and knowledge, Rogers is now flourishing professionally.

    “I’m so excited to be involved in some artist residencies this summer, including the Nest Residency with Suitcase in Point and In the Soil Arts Festival,” she says. “I’ve been developing a project called ‘PLAYGROUND: a joyful happening’ that’s centred around rekindling childlike joy, connecting with strangers, and reclaiming city spaces through play.”

    Her new project will debut at Nest Fest on Saturday, July 16 as part of the In the Soil Festival Summer Series. Nest Fest will also include participants from Suitcase in Point’s Electric Innovations Theatre Intensive. This two-week intensive theatre program will be hosted at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

    Reflecting on her studies, Rogers says it’s the connections she made during her time at Brock that she cherishes most.

    “All of my in-person group projects were especially profound. Art is all about connection for me, and that element must be kept sacred,” she says. “I could chat with a classmate, or even a professor, and develop a friendship with our shared interests.”

    More information on the Certificate in Arts and Culture Studies program is available on the STAC website.

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  • Canada Games Research Spotlight: Karen Fricker

    Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts Karen Fricker is leading a research team that is exploring connections between water sports, circus and spectators through their project “Circus on the Canal.”


    Originally published in The Brock News| THURSDAY, JULY 07, 2022

    NOTE: This is the latest in a series of Q&A stories featuring Brock University faculty members who are integrating the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games into their research projects. For more information on Brock’s academic activities around the Games, visit brocku.ca/canada-games

    Karen Fricker, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts, is author of the monograph, The Original Stage Productions of Robert Lepage: Making Theatre Global, which recently won the Canadian Association of Theatre Research’s 2022 Ann Saddlemyer Award for the best book on a Canadian theatre studies topic published in a given year. She is the co-director of the international research project Circus and its Others, a theatre critic at the Toronto Star and is involved in a number of research projects about the future of theatre criticism.

    Fricker is one of 11 Brock researchers and scholars who received funding under the 2020-21 round of the VPR Canada Games Grant program. Here, she discusses her research project titled “Circus on the Canal: Exploring connections between water sports, circus and spectators.” 

    Please give a brief overview of your research project. 

    Circus on the Canal is a collaboration between me and circus artist and producer Holly Treddenick of Femmes du Feu Creations, who is based in downtown Welland at the Bank Arts Centre.

    This summer, we are working on the second phase of this project; this phase, and the first phase, have been funded by the VPR Canada Games Grant program. In this phase, Holly will work with two Brock student athletes — one a diver, the other, swimmer Ashley Falconer — in further developing choreography for a circus performance inspired by the athletes’ physicality and embodiment. Initial work on this choreography happened during the first project phase in the summer of 2020. The project also involves Welland-based Indigenous artist Kitsuné Soleil, who is working with Holly on incorporating knowledge about the local waterways into the performance. Hamilton-based designer Tanis McArthur is the costume designer, and a local musician will also be part of the project.

    What do you expect will be the outcome of your research? 

    The outcome of this phase of the research will be an in-progress performance taking place Aug. 11 or 12 at the Lincoln Docks in Welland, at sunset. The audience for this free performance will include invited guests as well as any members of the community who would like to attend.

    How will this contribute to knowledge or understanding of the Canada Summer Games?  

    A central goal of the production is to explore links between high-performance athleticism and circus performance, both of which involve intensive physical training and a deep connection to the relationship between mind and body. The performance is intended to inspire audiences to consider these links and to appreciate the skill, dedication and mastery of Canada Games athletes and circus performers alike. The performance, which will be outdoors and highly visible, will heighten local awareness of the Games. The performance is also likely to enhance the experience of sports spectators and sportspeople by adding a creative and aesthetic element to the Games.

    How did you become interested in this research? 

    Contemporary circus is one of my central areas of research as a theatre and performance scholar. I am the co-director of the Circus and its Others (CaiO) international research network, which has organized three conferences (Montreal, 2016; Prague, 2018; Davis, 2021). We’re in the early stages of planning the next conference in Colombia in 2023 and are working on a co-edited special journal issue following the 2021 conference. It’s through my CaiO work that I got to know Holly, who is a dynamic producer and artist, and is passionate about bringing circus to Welland and the Niagara region, which is underserved for arts and culture.

    How do you plan on sharing your research?

    The outcome of this phase of the project is the public work-in-progress performance in August. There will be a social media campaign in the run-up to the performance that will further share knowledge and information about it.

    Do you have any advice or tips on how colleagues in your Faculty can incorporate the Canada Games into their research? 

    Be creative and think laterally!

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  • Brock’s MIWSFPA achieves Gold LEED certification

    Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts recently achieved Gold LEED certification.


    Originally published in The Brock News FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2022

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) recently joined Brock University’s list of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings.

    As a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership, LEED provides a framework for healthy, efficient, carbon- and cost-saving green buildings.

    LEED projects earn points by adhering to prerequisites and credits across nine measurements for building excellence, from integrative design to human health to material use. The LEED rating systems work for most buildings at most phases of development and are meant to challenge project teams and inspire outside-the-box solutions.

    While most LEED certifications are given to newly constructed facilities, the MIWSFPA was rated in the Building Operations and Management (O+M) category, as the building underwent work to improve its already existing structure.

    Construction of the downtown St. Catharines arts school, completed in 2015, included the redevelopment of the former Canada Hair Cloth Building, which dates back to the 19th century. The MIWSFPA now provides state-of-the-art studios, exhibition spaces, performance venues, digital classrooms and learning commons for students in fine and performing arts programs. Modern features have been added to the building, while still retaining as much of the character and original structure as possible.

    “The majority of the costs and environmental impacts of a building occur during the life cycle of the asset, not during construction,” says Mary Quintana, Director, Asset Management and Utilities with Brock’s Facilities Management. “By pursuing LEED O+M, Brock is demonstrating its commitment to long-term thinking as part of its commitment to sustainability and world-class operations.”

    Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and have a significant impact on health and well-being.

    According to the U.S. Green Building Council and a study conducted by the U.S Department of Energy, in the U.S. alone, buildings account for almost 40 per cent of national carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions — more than both the industrial and transportation sectors combined. LEED-certified buildings have 34 per cent less CO2 emissions, consume 25 per cent less energy and 11 per cent less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills.

    Over the past several years, Brock’s Facilities Management team has worked diligently to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the MIWSFPA in categories such as energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, water efficiency, and more.

    There are four levels of LEED certification: certified, silver, gold and platinum. After applying for certification and undergoing a technical review, the arts school received a score of 75 out of 100, just five points shy of reaching the platinum level.

    “This is an exciting achievement for the University and its progress toward sustainable innovation and development,” Quintana says. “Achieving LEED certification is proof that the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is going above and beyond to ensure the space is operated to the highest level of sustainability, providing a healthier and more comfortable space to work and study in.”

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was written by Alexandra Cotrufo, a Master of Sustainability candidate and research assistant at Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre.

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  • Brock mourns loss of champion of Dramatic Arts

    Mary-Jane Miller (right) with her late husband Jack Miller shortly before her retirement in June 2004.


    Originally published in The Brock News FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2022 | by 

    The Brock community is deeply saddened by the recent passing of Mary-Jane Miller, who spent 36 years with the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART).

    Miller, who began teaching at Brock in 1968 and served as both Associate Professor and Chair of the department during her tenure, passed away peacefully at home on June 22.

    A crucial member of the DART program, she was part of the early academic cohorts at Brock.

    Miller’s level of dedication and commitment over her 36 years with the University still resonates with many.

    DART Associate Professor Gyllian Raby has many fond memories of Miller, who impacted not only the department, but also its students.

    “MJ set an example, consciously; she was a teacher in her every move. Her profound sense of duty made her step up for several years after her migraines undermined her desire to Chair the Department of Dramatic Arts,” Raby says. “She didn’t want to retire until she felt our fledgling department was stable and had found its identity; she cared so very deeply.”

    DART Professor David Fancy says Miller “left a very strong legacy of commitment to theatre and dramatic arts in the Humanities and at Brock.”

    “She was a key architect to the development of the Department of Dramatic Arts in the 1960s and ’70s,” he says.

    After retiring in 2004, Miller went on to become Professor Emerita, maintaining strong ties to the Brock Dramatic Arts community.

    Miller and her late husband, Jack Miller, who passed away in 2016 and also had a significant impact on the University, are remembered for their lasting contributions.

    “Their combined generosity to the department was legion and they led forward with a most steady and loving personal relationship that taught me about the beauty of being quietly grand in later years,” says David Vivian, Associate Professor of DART and Director of the Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC).

    Miller’s family will receive friends on Friday, July 1 from 11 a.m. to noon at Patrick J. Darte Funeral Chapel, 39 Court St., St. Catharines, with a memorial service to follow in the chapel.

    Memorial donations to either the Stephen Lewis Foundation or the Brock University Scholarship Fund would be appreciated by the family.

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