Current Students

  • 19th century Niagara revisited through new online exhibits

    Originally posted in The Brock News | MONDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2021 | by 

    Image caption: “Admiring tourists viewing the falls, from Prospect Point, Niagara, USA.,” Niagara Falls Stereo Cards Collection, RG 599, Brock University Archives and Special Collections.

    Brock University students have journeyed to the past collecting images of Niagara in the 1800s and are showcasing their findings in digital exhibits now on view for the community to enjoy.

    Throughout the Fall Term, students enrolled in VISA 2P90 Art in Revolution: Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture took a deep dive into the visual culture of 19th century Niagara while learning how to use CollectionBuilder, Open Source software used by museums, galleries and libraries around the world to build digital collections.

    Led by Keri Cronin, Associate Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, the idea to build online exhibitions with students was sparked by the Digital Scholarship Institute workshop in May offered by Brock’s Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL).

    Cronin attended the Digital Scholarship Institute and learned to use the software herself to build online exhibits using basic coding and metadata. She knew the skills would be extremely useful to students.

    “In this contemporary climate, knowing how to build an online presence for an exhibit is a vital, professional skill for students on their career path,” Cronin said. “This is important experiential education — future employers will be impressed.”

    Cronin said bringing the project to fruition was a team effort. The class worked in close collaboration with Digital Scholarship Librarian Tim Ribaric, who supported their technical training on CollectionBuilder. The DSL is the centre of digital scholarship at the University.

    Students also worked with David Sharron, Head of Archives and Special Collections in the Brock University Library, who provided access to the archives for students to research and collect materials from Brock’s digitized collection.

    Sharron said the Library has been digitizing parts of the collections for more than 15 years and when Cronin wanted to develop a major assignment based on these records, it was a quick ‘yes.’

    “There are millions of records that represent Niagara and its history in Archives and Special Collections. It is always a thrill to see what subjects and materials appeal to the modern student and what they can do with them,” said Sharron. “Projects like this bring these historical materials into the digital world in new and exciting ways.”

    Cronin agreed, saying that “traditionally we look at Europe, not Niagara. Students loved engaging with the local history. It gave them an opportunity to learn about key themes relating to 19th century life, art and visual culture.”

    Student Madeline Collins created an online exhibition entitled Modernizing the Landscape – Industrialization at Niagara Falls and called the project unique and illuminating.

    “I’ve never done anything like it,” she said. “Metadata and archival research are kind of like the behind-the-scenes of art history, so it was amazing to get a detailed, hands-on opportunity to try it out.”

    Other examples of student exhibits include Hydroelectric Power Niagara Falls by Ella Sexton examining the relationship between hydroelectricity and Niagara Falls; The Tipped Inkwell by Rachel Stangl looking at 19th century penmanship; A Fond Sigh of Friendship by Abigail Leeder displaying imagery and literature found in a ‘Friendship Journal’; and Don’t Slip and Niagara Fall by Riley Cuddy-Colbon, a collection of images of past extreme winters in Niagara Falls.

    Cronin commended the students for sticking with the project, admitting that CollectionBuilder is a tough platform to use and has its challenges.

    “The students worked through the learning curves, trusted the process, and have created something very special that they will use in their portfolios moving forward.”

    To view all of the student digital exhibits, please visit Cronin’s website.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News, Uncategorised

  • Brock students create sound art through experiential learning

    Published in The Brock News | MONDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2021 | by 

    A group of Brock University students have learned to engage with their sonic environments in new and unexpected ways, and are sharing their discoveries through creative sound art.

    This past spring, 72 students in Brock’s “The Culture of Noise” course had the opportunity to gain hands-on sound experience in sound production, execute their own soundwalk recording and learn how to use digital editing software.

    Their work is now being featured on the course’s web page for listeners to take in.

    Offered annually as a Spring/Summer course through the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), STAC 1P99 The Culture of Noise explores the role of noise in music, art and social spaces.

    The course delves into the history of sound studies from the influences of the Dada art movement to the groundbreaking theories of late Canadian composer, writer and influential sound theorist R. Murray Schafer.

    Taught by Ryan Bruce, MIWSFPA instructor, ethnomusicologist, jazz historian and saxophonist, the course had students conduct a soundwalk and create a finished recording that could be included in exhibitions to help build student portfolios for future opportunities.

    Bruce wanted students to really start listening and opening their ears to sound, whether it was music or noise.

    “Composers of the 20th century were very interested in this concept, starting from the early 1900s when noise was used as way to make music,” he said. “Early sound theorists turned music on its head and shed light on the value of listening and our ears.”

    Students worked in teams of three, with one recording a 25-minute soundwalk using a sound recording device; one editing the recording on Audacity (sound-editing software) to produce a final three-minute soundscape; and one reflecting on the process and writing a description to accompany the work.

    Bruce said that soundwalks “are a very interesting exercise, especially these days, as it forces us to be quiet while actively listening.”

    As a result, students learned about how sound impacts environment and gained experience with production tools to express their creative findings.

    David Vivian, Director of STAC and Associate Professor of Scenography in Dramatic Arts, reflected on the timing of this exercise in relation to the pandemic.

    “The last many months of the pandemic have given us indelible experiences that are rich material for creative exploration in sound,” he said. “This past spring’s offering of STAC 1P99 was an excellent opportunity for students from across the University to explore the possibility of sound design to make sense of these troubled times.

    “We look forward to even more provocative and revealing expressions in sound when we offer this online course in spring 2022,” Vivian said.

    To listen to the final soundscapes created by STAC 1P99 students, visit the Culture of Noise web page.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News, Uncategorised

  • BIPOC theatre leaders to discuss new industry approaches at Brock event

    Theatre leaders participating in the upcoming Brock discussion panel include (top row, from left) Haui, Carmen Alatorre, (centre, from left) Shanna Miller, Samantha McCue, Wladimiro A. Woyno R., (bottom row, from left) Giselle Clarke-Trenaman and Kat Chin.

    Originally published in The Brock News Wednesday, | NOVEMBER 10, 2021 | by 

    Prominent Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) Canadian theatre production and design professionals will come together to discuss recent experiences in their fields and new strategies in production at an upcoming Brock University digital panel.

    This is the second event presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART)  in a new series as part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series (WCL Series), “Transformation and Adaptation in Theatre Pedagogy and Training.” The series is organized by DART Professors Karen Fricker and David Vivian with longtime instructor Carolyn Mackenzie.

    “Industry Panel with BIPOC Canadian Theatre Artists” will take place Monday, Nov. 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Zoom. The Brock and wider community are invited to attend and asked to register ahead of time on the Zoom registration page.

    Moderating the panel is Giselle Clarke-Trenaman, Production Co-ordinator at Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver and creator of Black History Matters, an educational program addressing gaps in Black history in elementary schools.

    Panelists include Haui, a mixed media director and designer working in theatre, opera and film; Samantha McCue, an Anishinaabekwe and Ned’u’ten theatre professional based in Ottawa; Carmen Alatorre, a Latinx artist and theatre designer based in Vancouver; Kat Chin, a Toronto-based stage manager who has worked across Canada, off-Broadway and at the Palace of Versailles; Shanna Miller, the Technical Director at Young Peoples Theatre; and Wladimiro A. Woyno R., a live performance designer and Assistant Professor of Theatre Production and Design at School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University.

    The panel will cover a range of topics, from how to bring more BIPOC artists to the theatre industry and cultivate new audiences, to the use of technology and how the pandemic has affected the performing arts industry.

    “We’ve invited these important artists from diverse fields of Canadian theatre design and production to share their journeys of the past 20 months and to encourage our students with the vision and passion that informs their professional practice,” said Vivian.

    “Whether through the lens of anti-racism, decolonization, accessibility or the drive for professional and economic sustainability, this evening promises a vivid invitation to join progressive voices for change in live performance and theatre production in Canada.”

    The third and final event in the DART WCL series is a daylong Casting and Audition workshop on Sunday, Nov. 28 for DART students, staff and faculty. This closing event will be led by Kimberley Rampersad, actor, choreographer, director and Associate Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival; and Marcel Stewart, actor, writer, director and arts educator.

    To learn more, please visit the WCL Series website.

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

  • Brock Visual Arts Gallery showcasing work from students and faculty reopens

    Image caption: Visual Arts students view works of art from faculty exhibition Apart We Were Together, the first in-person art show to be held in the Visual Arts Gallery since it closed due to the pandemic.

    Originally published in The Brock News on | FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2021 | by 

    After a year and half, the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) has recently reopened its doors to the Brock University community and wider public to view in-person exhibitions.

    The latest show running in the gallery is a student exhibition featuring the work of Visual Arts students Sarah Formosa and Rabia Choudhary. Intricate Connections (Sarah Formosa); Unruly Growth (Rabia Choudary) opened Thursday, Oct. 21 and runs until Nov. 19.

    Choudhary called it “thrilling” to be sharing her work publicly.

    “These pieces were created during the pandemic and explore my struggles with identity, and coming to terms with who I am,” she said. “It is such a privilege to share my work with the Brock community.”

    Formosa agrees that sharing her work in a public show is an exciting opportunity.

    “I have officially heard my first gasp from a child, entering a space that holds something that I’ve created,” she said. “I hope visitors enjoy these works and that there might be an opportunity to leave the gallery having gained another perspective on life.”

    The first exhibition to be mounted in the space was a Visual Arts faculty exhibition opened in September entitled Apart We Were Together. Exhibiting artists were Associate Professor and Visual Arts Department Chair Amy Friend, Associate Professor Derek Knight, Assistant Professor Troy David Ouellette and Associate Professor Donna Szoke.

    The concept of the show was loosely borrowed from celebrated author and philosopher Jacques Rancière’s book The Emancipated Spectator, which explores the idea of ‘apart we were together’ investigating outcomes when an artist is separated from their work and the viewer.

    The exhibition included photography, video projections and multimedia installations made of fibre-optic cable. Exhibiting artists drew on pandemic-related themes for their works such as separation, the loss of connection, solidarity and nostalgia.

    As stated in the Exhibition Introduction, the artists acknowledged that even with the closure of galleries, theatres and other areas of cultural production during the pandemic, there was always the possibility of “wonderment and dialogue” within the arts.

    The ‘apart we were together’ theme underscored the importance of solidarity, especially during challenging times. Though the in-person exhibition has closed,  a virtual exhibition can be viewed online.

    The Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space is located on the first floor of the MIWSFPA at 15 Artists Common in downtown St. Catharines. The gallery is open to the Brock community and wider public Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. September through April.

    Brock students and staff are encouraged to RSVP through ExperienceBU to attend the exhibition. All Brock University protocols apply including mandatory full COVID-19 vaccination and masks for all visitors. The visiting public is asked to enter the building through the main entrance for check-in at the Security Desk.

    Questions can be directed to the Visual Arts Gallery at visagallery@brocku.ca

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

  • Visual Arts podcast launches new season challenging ideas of western art

    Image caption: Co-hosts of Unboxing the Canon podcast, Associate Professor Linda Steer, left, and fourth-year Brock student Madeline Collins.

    Originally published FRIDAY, OCTOBER 01, 2021 in The Brock News | by 

    Unboxing the Canon has made its return with the goal of doing a deep, critical dive into the history of western art.

    The second season of the popular podcast from Linda Steer, Brock Associate Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture, is now live with new 20-minute episodes dropping monthly.

    Unboxing the Canon look at issues that are part of the history of western art, examining how those issues played out historically and how they connect to contemporary culture and thinking.

    The first episode dropped Sept. 17 and explores Orientalism and the Western Gaze. Upcoming episodes will address topics such as the representation of disability in western art, an art movement known as Primitivism connected to colonization, and the history of self-portraits, religion and landscape in paintings.

    According to Steer, who teaches first-year Art History, asking hard questions about these topics is important to developing a deeper understanding of the canon.

    “Students are hungry for a critical view of the western canon; they want to deal with the issues and unpack them and understand why they may be problematic,” Steer said. “When examining the long history of western art and its ties to imperialism, for example, we can ask important questions about iconic images that continue to have a tremendous impact on contemporary society.

    Steer says listeners don’t need any prior knowledge of western art to enjoy the podcast. She started the project last year as a way for students in her first-year VISA 1Q99: Introduction to the History of Western Art class to take a break from their screens and do a little extra learning while taking a walk or relaxing at home.

    Now, other instructors at the University and beyond are also using the podcast as a teaching tool. Each episode includes materials for further learning, including resources and websites where listeners can view the works of art being discussed.

    This continued engagement is an aspect of the project that Steer and fourth-year History of Art and Visual Culture student Madeline Collins are passionate about.

    Collins, who joined the podcast this season as a Research Assistant, said that images are not neutral and that there is a lot happening that viewers are not always aware of.

    “There is so much behind what we see. We need to look critically and realize how biased, gendered, racialized and colonized images are at the forefront of our cultural memory,” she said. “It has been a part of the story the whole time, and once you see it, it totally changes your perspective moving forward. That is my favourite part about this podcast.”

    In addition to co-hosting the podcast episodes, Collins is involved in all aspects of production, including conducting research, sound design and working closely with Steer on writing.

    The pair have been working together since July so Collins could learn the sound design and editing software gearing up for the season.

    Excited to be involved in the project, Collins, an avid fan of podcasts herself, said she has already learned so much from the experience.

    “I’ve always been interested in podcasts and the incredible ways in which we can communicate ideas through them, especially for those who learn better through listening,” Collins said. “I have never been a part of anything like this before, particularly learning all about microphones and sound editing, and I am loving the experience.”

    Unboxing the Canon is publicly available on all podcast services, including AppleGooglePodbean and Spotify. For updates and information on future episodes, follow Unboxing the Canon on Instagram and Twitter.

    The transcripts and sound files from each episode of Unboxing the Canon can be found in Brock’s digital repository.

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

  • Popular Brock concert series back on stage for 2021-22 season

    Image caption: The Walker String Quartet rehearses on stage at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre for the 2021-22 performance season. Photo by Max Holten-Andersen.

    Originally published FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2021 in The Brock News | by 

    After a year of performing from their homes, musicians featured in Brock University’s RBC Foundation Music@Noon series will return to the stage at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) for the 2021-22 season.

    Although there will be no live audience this fall, performances will be livestreamed for the Brock and wider community to enjoy online.

    Presented by the Music Department at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) and sponsored by the RBC Foundation, the free concert series takes places most Tuesdays at noon throughout the academic year and features the department’s performance faculty, special guests, Brock students and alumni.

    In partnership with the PAC , the Music@Noon season opens Tuesday, Sept. 28 with the musical stylings of the John Sherwood Trio. Featuring John Sherwood on piano, Kieran Overs on bass and Terry Clarke and drums, the trio will delight audiences with selections from the Great American Songbook.

    With concerts booked for most Tuesdays until the holiday season, the fall program will feature faculty performances as well as recitals from Music students later in the year. The livestream concerts can be viewed on the Facebook pages and YouTube channels of the MIWSFPA and PAC, as well as on the PAC website.

    A  return to in-person concerts may be possible in January, depending on Brock University and provincial protocols for COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

    For a full listing of upcoming concerts and to check for live audience updates, please visit the Music@Noon website.

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

  • PROJECT: Soundscape, presented by the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, on exhibit September 24

    IMAGE CREDIT: REINHARD REITZENSTEIN

    Music, Noise, and Soundscape: Gayle Young and Ryan Bruce in Conversation

    Created in 2021, Music, Noise, and Soundscape: Gayle Young and Ryan Bruce in Conversation is a virtual project of the Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture homed in the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University. It includes an interview, performances and demonstrations, as well as an outreach activity.

    Gayle Young is a composer and musician based in the Niagara region who creates her own instruments and performs music for them, often employing unusual tunings. She has also performed and recorded works by John Cage and Yoko Ono. Gayle composes works for voice and chamber instruments and creates electronic sound for film and visual art installation. Many of her compositions include environmental sounds recorded through tuned resonators that she invented to integrate harmony and soundscape.

    Gayle wrote The Sackbut Blues, the biography of pioneering electronic instrument inventor Hugh Le Caine (1914-1977), who invented several instruments for electronic music, including the Sackbut, an innovative touch-sensitive keyboard instrument first recorded in 1946. As editor of Musicworks Magazine for over two decades, she presented an inclusive gaze on the world of experimental music.

    Ryan Bruce is an ethnomusicologist, jazz historian and saxophonist. His research concentrates on the transition of jazz styles from the 1950s–1960s (bop and the jazz avant-garde) with investigations in jazz historiography, improvisation, musical analysis, and interdisciplinary comparisons to other avant-garde art forms. His work includes special focus on collaborating with performers to create digital resources for teaching jazz history, improvisation, and world music traditions.

    Ryan holds a PhD in Music from York University and has published articles on jazz criticism, musical analysis, and specific musicians for the current Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is also an active teacher and performer of jazz and free improvisation on saxophone.In 2021, Ryan is teaching STAC 2P93 Critical Practice in the Fine and Performing Arts.

    Experience the ‘Soundscape’ exhibition by visiting the Brock University Digital Scholarship Lab

    Please note the virtual exhibition is best viewed on a laptop or desktop computer. Headphones are recommended.

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

  • Accessibility in music education at centre of upcoming talk

    IMAGE CAPTION: Music educator Erin Parkes will be the first speaker in a virtual series offered by Brock’s Department of Music as part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series.

    Walker Cultural Leader and music educator Erin Parkes will address key questions about providing access to music education to people with exceptionalities in an upcoming online lecture presented by Brock’s Department of Music.

    Held online Friday, Sept. 24 from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., Parkes will discuss teaching models for students who require a different approach and the benefits of opening up music studios to diverse learners.

    Parkes is Founder and Executive Director of the Lotus Centre for Special Music Education, a charitable organization committed to providing access to music education for people with exceptionalities. She holds a PhD in music education from McGill University, where she researched how to effectively train studio music teachers to work with students with autism.

    This is the first online presentation of a virtual speaker series offered by the Department of Music as part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series. Welcoming musicians, music scholars, and music educators to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts online, these lectures and workshops are free community events and are open to the Brock and wider community.

    Registration is required by emailing music@brocku.ca

    For more information, please visit brocku.ca/music

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Brock series to address transformation, adaptation in Canadian theatre

    Image caption: Mike Payette (left), Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre, and Philip Akin (right), former Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre Company, will take the virtual stage on Monday, Sept. 20, reflecting on changes in the Canadian theatre industry as part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series.

    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2021 | by 

    A panel of prominent Black Canadian theatre leaders will explore the industry’s evolving landscape during an upcoming community discussion hosted by Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART).

    The webinar, “Black Canadian Theatre Leadership: Embracing Transformation and Adaptation,” takes place Monday, Sept. 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and is the first presentation of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series (WCL Series).

    The online event will feature panelists Philip Akin, former Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre Company, and Mike Payette, Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre, with moderator Luke Reece, Associate Artistic Director of Soulpepper Theatre. Registration is required through the Zoom webinar page.

    The speakers and moderator will reflect on changes in Canadian theatre in recent years, with a focus on the artistic missions of theatre organizations. Discussion points will include how the panelists have approached season planning within existing and evolving organizational missions and how programming can bring in the audiences they intend to cultivate.

    This is the first of three presentations in a new series launched by DART called Transformation and Adaptation in Theatre Pedagogy and Training. The series will run throughout the academic year and is supported by the WCL fund.

    “This fall’s Walker Cultural Leader program follows on from DART’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) Speaker Series last year and intends to build on its momentum,” said DART Associate Professor Karen Fricker, who co-organizes the series with DART sessional instructor Carolyn Mackenzie and DART Associate Professor David Vivian. “We are excited to welcome this intergenerational group of Black theatre leaders for our first event. This is an all-star panel.”

    The WCL Series celebrates the legacy and vision of Marilyn I. Walker and her contributions to Brock University’s Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA). Through her generous gift, the four academic programs at the MIWSFPA invite recognized cultural leaders, top researchers, artists, scholars, musicians and theatre professionals to contribute to the intellectual and creative life of the School and the Niagara region.

    To learn more about upcoming WCL Series events, please visit the website.


     

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Much work to be done on live theatre’s road to recovery, says Brock prof

    Brock Dramatic Arts graduate Amanda McDonnell (BA ’15), who is part of the front of house team at the Shaw Festival, welcomed audiences back this summer.

    THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 2021 | by 

    After 17 months, the live theatrical experience is slowly making its return — but not without challenges ahead, says Brock theatre expert Karen Fricker.

    “Amidst the adversity that live performing arts have been faced with through the pandemic, a wonderful thing has happened this summer: the return of live theatrical performance, because it has been able to be outside,” says the Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Officer in Dramatic Arts (DART), who is an expert in theatre criticism, theatre theory and contemporary theatre.

    The Shaw and Stratford Festivals, two of Ontario’s most celebrated repertory companies, have been staging performances outdoors under canopies (tents with no walls) with mandatory masks for audiences in addition to capacity limits in accordance with provincial guidance. Both festivals are taking audience, artist and staff safety seriously, with COVID-19 protocols in place, says Fricker, who is also a theatre critic for the Toronto Star, writing about performances in the city as well as the Shaw and Stratford Festivals each summer.

    Although these outdoor performances do not come close to hosting the usual number of spectators, Fricker says this is a “big step in the right direction.”

    “Artists are being paid and creativity is happening,” she says, adding that while “innovative digital work has been heroic during the pandemic, experiencing live performances in a shared space is a joyous return.”

    Brock’s Dramatic Arts Department engages with the Shaw Festival in numerous ways, including the annual DART/Shaw internship and course-based experiences with Shaw artists and arts workers. A number of DART students and graduates work at the festival in front of house, producing and administration, and creative capacities.

    Seeing some of those familiar faces at Shaw this summer has been a particular highlight, Fricker says.

    While outdoor performances are a step in the right direction, Fricker says there is still more work to do. There will be limited live, in-person programming in the performing arts sector this fall, mainly due to unclear guidance from the provincial government around reopening, she says.

    In the early summer, the performing arts industry lobbied the government to address live performances in the official stages of reopening. Now that the performing arts have been included, companies have been able to plan. However, “you can’t just lift a theatre production off in a few weeks; you need a runway,” Fricker says.

    Colleen Smith, Executive Director of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) adjacent to Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, says the team at the PAC has experienced these challenges first-hand.

    “Never did any of us whose lives revolve around bringing together artists and audiences believe that we would witness the end of the age-old adage, ‘the show must go on,’” she says. “In fact, the show stopped for months at a time. It’s been an unbelievable period of disruption, heartache and loss of purpose for so many artists and arts workers.”

    Smith says that “buoyed by our partners at the City of St. Catharines and Brock University, as well as the support from our Board of Directors, we have used the first half of 2021 to develop a three-year recovery strategy that will place the PAC firmly within our community as a centre for creative and artistic experiences and learning.”

    The PAC is planning a gradual return, starting with the annual Celebration of Nations gathering, which will be in a hybrid format in September.

    Among the local theatre organizations taking important steps to make innovative work and engage the public in Niagara safely is the young people’s theatre company Carousel Players, which is focusing on new play development in August and September.

    “We are experimenting with a range of forms, including clown, puppetry and mask,” says Artistic Director and Brock graduate Monica Dufault (MA ’11). “We want to offer new pieces that are dynamic and theatrically alive when we meet our audiences again.”

    The company will present an outdoor performance, The Giant Puppet Party, for Culture Days in October, a new digital play for ages 12 to 17 called Meet Chloe starting in November, and a school touring production of The Velveteen Rabbit for ages four to seven in March 2022.

    Suitcase in Point, another St. Catharines-based theatre company, recently announced the launch of a reimagined In the Soil Arts Festival running Friday, Aug. 27 to Saturday, Sept. 25. The festival includes opportunities to see live, original theatre, new music, comedy acts, installations and participatory workshops. All-inclusive festival passes are available for purchase online.

    DART graduate Deanna Jones (BA ’02), the Artistic Director of Suitcase in Point and In the Soil, says the limits of the last 17 months have been a “unique test on our arts organization and the arts community at large.”

    “We knew this 13th edition of our annual In the Soil Arts Festival would be different, and we were determined to find inspired ways to get off of our screens and offer artists and audiences safe ways to connect — in person.”

    During In the Soil, artists from Essential Collective Theatre will be set up on James and St. Paul Street interviewing community members about their pandemic experiences. Working on this initiative are DART graduates Jordine de Guzman (BA ’20), Kristina Ojaperv (BA ’19) and Ren Reid (BA ’20). The project will culminate in the Pandemic Stories Project, a new play to be read at St. Catharines’ Culture Days in early October.

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