Alumni

  • Student, alumni art exhibition explores time through photography

    Give us a Moment, a Brock student and alumni art exhibit, is on display until Saturday, Nov. 12 in the Visual Arts Gallery of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Using analogue and digital photography, Brock artists are sharing their creative interpretations of memory and time in the University’s latest exhibition.

    Presented by the Department of Visual Arts (VISA), ‘Give us a Moment’ combines these themes, and the etched traces of daily life, through photographs that use old, new and experimental processes.

    Laurie Morrison, both a Brock University Librarian and student in the VISA program, says her work showcased in the exhibition is “intended to bring to mind how the past shapes the present moment.”

    She produced her images through an analogue method, which she describes as both slow moving and unpredictable. It was the uncontrollable nature of the process that she most enjoyed.

    Typical analogue photography consists of film and the use of chemicals to create a reaction producing an image. In this exhibition, the artists explore different methods of production as well as diverse materials for their works.

    “These processes are also erratic and prone to many unexpected results,” Morrison says. “Some artists may find this frustrating, but I find it heightens my interest. The unpredictability becomes part of the journey.”

    For alumna Julie Luth (BA ’22) the exhibition’s title brought with it two separate interpretations.

    “An audience giving their time to examine and explore the artwork validates the artist’s status, and by asking the audience to give us a moment, we are referencing the politics of viewing that dictate an artist’s success,” she says. “Yet in the context of the work each of us are creating, the title takes a new meaning. Each of our works references the past and the passage of time. The title becomes a question asked by the forgotten moments and memories contained within these images.”

    Luth’s inspiration for her experimental processes comes from her endless ambition to discover, create and explore development of photographs.

    “Understanding what makes a photograph is crucial. We can see that photography is all around us and has been throughout all of history,” she says. “There is no single photographic process, but many to be explored — each with their own history and thematic implications.”

    VISA student Emily MacDonald’s work focuses on the time-based photographic process and examines time itself.

    “This show reminds the viewer of the existence of time, whether it is the time they spend with the images or the time that goes into these pieces, as majority of the images are created through a time-based photographic process,” she says.

    MacDonald’s creations revolve around time, memories and space that are significant to her. She applies both analogue and digital processes for her work, noting a distinctive difference with each image she creates using analogue methods.

    “With digital photography, you can shoot a photo as many times as you want. With analogue photography, you must think about the images you take. I sit and look through my viewfinder, observing my subject and the surrounding area until I feel ready to take the photo.”

    Give us a Moment, which is open to the public, will be exhibited until Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space in Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines. For more information, please visit the Current Exhibitions web page.

    Tags: , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News

  • Brock mainstage production puts human behaviour, climate crisis in spotlight

    Brock University Dramatic Arts students will explore a variety of complex topics in AnthropoScene, this year’s fall mainstage production.


    Originally published in The Brock News | FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) is inviting the community to experience a journey through time and place in AnthropoScene.

    The fall mainstage production explores how the alienation that results from humans’ supremacist behaviour towards one another contributes to the climate crisis, as well as engages the ethics of theatricalizing the present climate emergency.

    AnthropoScene playfully mingles elements of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, real-life figures including Toussaint L’Ouverture and various youth climate justice activists, and fictional characters across multiple locations and time periods.

    The production, which debuts Friday, Oct. 28 and continues into the first week of November, involves one of the largest groups of students, faculty and staff in recent years. Twelve DART students will perform, as 30 others assist in creative and backstage roles. This original work is written and directed by David Fancy, designed by David Vivian, and choreographed by Trevor Copp and Colin Anthes, with live music performed by Devon Fornelli.

    “I’m so pleased at the skill and talent of the many students involved in creating this production, from actors to assistant designers, directors and sound designers — the list goes on,” says Fancy, a Brock DART Professor.

    Conveying so many complex elements within the production has been no easy task, but one the cast and crew have handled impressively, he says.

    “Our Dramatic Arts students have really shown courage and insight in dealing with the challenging materials that this play covers: self-harm, racism and environmental harm,” Fancy says. “They have also brought great verve and joy to the choreography, company dance numbers and comedic aspects of the project.”

    To help immerse audiences in multiple locations and time periods, the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre has taken on a new form.

    “I imagine the audience having an experience of poetry, drama, comedy, dance, beautiful design, light and sound that will transport them to different places and times,” Fancy says. “I’ve configured the theatre differently than it usually is in order to help the audience feel they are being brought somewhere else.”

    AnthropoScene opens Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances on Oct. 29 and 30, and Nov. 4 and 5. All shows take place at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre in Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in Downtown St. Catharines.

    roundtable discussion, also open to the public, will take place on the production stage Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m., with a panel of experts from Brock and other institutions discussing topics related to staging planetary evolution and destruction.

    Brock Professor of Art Education Fiona Blaikie will lead the discussion alongside Fancy; Vivian; Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Brock’s Posthumanism Research Institute; Katrina Dunn, Assistant Professor in the University of Manitoba’s Department of English, Theatre, Film and Media; Lin Snelling, a dancer whose artistic practice brings the qualities of improvisation into dance, theatre, writing, visual art and somatic practice; and Priya Thomas, Assistant Professor of Dramatic Arts at Brock.

    Tickets for AnthropoScene are $20 for the general public and $16 for students and seniors. For a full schedule of performances or to purchase tickets, visit the Brock University Tickets website.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News

  • Voice exploration workshop to be hosted at downtown arts school

    Diane Roberts is the founder of the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process, which draws on 30 years of experience and 12 years of focused artistic research.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    A new workshop this winter will help participants develop a deeper understanding of and stronger relationship with their voice.

    Breathing New Legacies Forward, a Moving Voice Institute intensive, will be hosted Thursday, Dec. 15 to Sunday, Dec. 18 at Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) in downtown St. Catharines. Led by industry specialists Gayle Murphy, Diane Roberts, Gary Logan and Gerry Trentham, Founder and Artistic Director of Pounds Per Square Inch Performance (lbs/sq”), the four-day workshop explores transformative vocal and physical explorations that extend range and deepen presence.

    “It’s a process that is different for everyone,” says Department of Dramatic Arts Associate Professor Danielle Wilson. “There is a connection between the voice, breath and body that the Moving Voice Institute researches. We are excited to have them come to the MIWSFPA this winter and lead this exploratory retreat devoted to the voice.”

    Through the course of this workshop, participants will examine and experience the connections between voice, text and breath in the morning sessions. In the afternoon, participants will work alongside Roberts, an African-Caribbean Canadian theatre practitioner and educator.

    Roberts is the founder of the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process, which draws on 30 years of experience and 12 years of focused artistic research. This work invites participants to consider ancestry as an essential aspect of evolving authority in their voice and body presence.

    Wilson expressed a deep interest in the process because of the strong ties to her personal research in voice and performance.

    “I wanted to experience the Arrivals Legacy work. Participating in the process is essential because voice work is a somatic practice. Experiencing the work is the research,” Wilson says. “We all have a relationship with our voice and this intensive gives participants an opportunity to deepen their relationship with their voice and own their unique sound, regardless of what they do professionally.”

    Breathing New Legacies Forward will be the first voice workshop since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Wilson says being connected and in the same room as those who are exploring, hearing and finding their voice is truly special. She encourages anyone interested to take this opportunity to discover a deeper connection with their voice.

    This workshop is open to all Brock community members and the public. More information can be found on the lbs/sq” website. Registration is now open, with early bird registration closing on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, 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.”

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
    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.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News

  • 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.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, Media Releases, News

  • 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?”

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News

  • 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.

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

  • 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!

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News

  • 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.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News