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  • TOP GIRLS: opens March 2!

    by Caryl Churchill.

    Directed by DANIELLE WILSON
    Set Design by NIGEL SCOTT
    Costume Design by KELLY WOLF
    Lighting Design by JENNIFER JIMENEZ
    Original Music by MAX HOLTEN-ANDERSEN
    Assistant Direction by MICHELLE MOHAMMED
    Dialect Coaching by JANE GOODERHAM

    When: March 2-10, 2018

    FRIDAY, MARCH 2 and SATURDAY, MARCH 3 at 7:30 pm
    SUNDAY, MARCH 4 at 2:00 pm
    FRIDAY, MARCH 9 at 11:30 am and 7:30 pm
    SATURDAY, MARCH 10 at 7:30 pm

    What would you sacrifice to get to the top?
    Top Girls opens at the MIWSFPA on March 2.

    TOP GIRLS, by celebrated playwright Caryl Churchill and directed by Danielle Wilson, runs from Friday, March 2, 2018 to Saturday, March 10, 2018 in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines.

    Manchari Paranthahan as Nell, Meryl Ochoa as Win, in Top Girls at Brock University.

    The Department of Dramatic Arts, part of Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, is proud to present an original production of this venerable play about women and power. First produced in 1982, last seen in Niagara at the Shaw Festival in 2015, this contemporary play tells the story of Marlene, a career-driven woman who is only interested in women’s success in business.

    The play is an exploration and critical look at women and their relationship to power and success. For the director, Professor Danielle Wilson, the main question at the heart of the play is “what would you sacrifice to get to the top?”

    The play follows the story of Marlene, who in 1980’s London has just been promoted to managing director of the Top Girls Employment Agency. With a magic realist twist we see Marlene celebrate her success at a dinner party with five women from history, literature, and art, and as the drink begins to flow, so do their stories of family, adventure, and loss which overlap in witty and humorous dialogue.

    Manchari Paranthahan as Nell, Meryl Ochoa as Win, Helena Ciurciura as Marlene, in Top Girls at Brock University.

    Throughout the play we also meet the real-life women in Marlene’s life at the office. They struggle to rise to the top of the corporate ladder but are held back by lack of opportunity and the harsh competitiveness of the business world.

    The themes and story of the play are extremely topical.  The play examines the challenges of working women who choose self-promotion and career over motherhood, family, domesticity. We learn of the cost of Marlene’s ‘successful’ life. Set during the reign of the British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher, known as the “Iron Lady”, the play asks whether it was an advance to have a woman prime minister if we elected someone with policies like hers.

    TOP GIRLS highlights the contradictions between feminism and capitalism. A running theme throughout the play is the secrets that underpin Marlene’s success which in some ways serve to perpetuate the patriarchal structure common in many workplaces. We only learn of these secrets in the final confrontational scene with her closest family, Joyce and her daughter, Angie.

    The play is directed by Dramatic Arts faculty Danielle Wilson. Professional collaborating artists include set designer Nigel Scott, costume designer by Kelly Wolf, lighting designer Jennifer Jimenez and music composer Max Holten-Andersen. Jane Gooderham is the Dialect Coach.

    Helena Ciurciura as Marlene, Emma McCormick as Angie, in Top Girls at Brock University.

    TOP GIRLS showcases the talents of students in the Department of Dramatic Arts undergraduate program. Michelle Mohammed is the Assistant Director, Alicia Marie Bender is the Stage Manager, Whiney Braybrook-Byl is Assistant Stage Manager. Performers include: Helena Ciuciura, Emma McCormick, Samantha Mastrella, Meryl Ochoa, Manchari Paranthahan, Catherine Tait and Kristina Ojaperv.

    READ ALL ABOUT IT!

    Director Danielle Wilson discusses feminism, ambition, #MeToo and the unique challenge of mounting this play in a brief interview found at the bottom of this page.

    Fourth-year student and Assistant Director for the production, Michelle Mohammed, is writing about the development of the show in a dedicated blog: darttopgirls.wordpress.com and dartcritics.com

    The public presentation program of the Department of Dramatic Arts is an integral part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate to contribute to regional cultural development and build community connections by engaging our audiences with the breadth of talent and creativity of the students, staff, guest artists and faculty of Brock University.

    The Department invites teachers and educators to bring their students to see this exciting production of TOP GIRLS.
    Read the Special Invitation to learn more.

    Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at the
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    Limited parking onsite.

    Purchase tickets at the FirstOntario PAC Box Office
    905.688.0722 or online firstontariopac.ca
    Tickets: $18 Adults|$15 Seniors/Students| $5 eyeGo | $12 Groups
    *Applicable fees and taxes are extra

    See the article in the Brock News.


    We asked the director of Top Girls, Professor Danielle Wilson, about feminism, ambition, and the unique challenges of mounting this play.

    What type of feminist beliefs does Top Girls draw upon?

    The play is an exploration and critical look at women and their relationship to power and success. For me the main question at the heart of the play is “what would you sacrifice to get to the top?” Something is always sacrificed, whether it be relationships, personal integrity, mental health, leisure time etc., in the pursuit of success. Top Girls looks specifically at women’s responsibilities and relationships with each other in a capitalistic and individualistic society. It tackles these issues in a broader political spectrum vs. it being about women overcoming their oppression. You can’t get away from being a woman in this play, no matter how hard these women try. What I understand is that the play was inspired by two streams of feminism: one which is about changing the economic situation for everyone which is more collectively oriented and one that accepts and supports an individual’s success over the collective gain. Top Girls examines an individualistic society in which the few thrive at the expense of many and one in which isolated female success overshadows the plight of the majority.

    How do you connect the feminism of the 1980’s portrayed in Top Girls to feminist movements and/or beliefs today? How do you think our students will understand the representation of feminist thought in your production?

    Fourth wave feminism, which we are seeing now, tends to be more collectively oriented. Social media started an entire #MeToo movement, which questions abuse of power. Top Girls discusses power and success in relationship to women. The main character in the play, Marlene, tends to use what one might call more ‘masculine’ tactics in the workplace. The entire corporate structure has been built on more masculine characteristics of leadership. When a woman is in a top position, masculine qualities can run contrary to what is expected of her gender, so she may be perceived as cold or distant or a bitch. Margaret Thatcher, who serves as an unseen character in the play was described as the ‘Iron Lady”, but no man who ruled in the way she did was ever called the ‘Iron Man’, he was just a man. She even had voice lessons to help her sound more masculine so that her cabinet would take her seriously. One of the characters in the play, Nell says that “an employer is going to have doubts about a lady, whether she’s got the guts to push through to a closing situation. They think we’re too nice. They think we listen to the buyer’s doubts. They think we consider his needs and his feelings.” We’re becoming aware that there is more than one way to lead and it is not an imperative to oppress or step on others in order to succeed.

    I think students will recognize the issues being debated between Marlene and Joyce as they each argue opposite political viewpoints. Today, there is definitely a more collectively oriented mindset as evidenced by the Occupy movement, Idle No More, and the #MeToo movement. There is resistance to the social and economic status quo. Young people, both men and women, are building strength through bonds with each other and challenging systemic abuse, racial profiling, and poor economic prospects.

    What is “the top”?

    I think it depends on the person. Success and reaching ‘the top’ is complicated and is defined by each person differently. For some it may be reaching the top over someone else, for others it may be reaching the top of one’s own potential.

    Marlene’s character seems to be the one striving for the “top” and stepping on anyone in her way, should we be feeling empathy for her? Should we like or dislike her? What should we be learning from her actions?

    I think ultimately it will be up to the audience to decide how they feel about her.  We learn a lot about her personal life in the third act and what she has sacrificed to get to where she is. Caryl Churchill, the playwright, has written a complex character who is flawed, but what human being isn’t? Some may admire and empathize with her actions. She did what she had to do. Others may not. We see both sides of the story in the final act in which she has a showdown with her sister, Joyce, who has taken a very different path in life. Ultimately, Churchill has written a play that involves more questions than answers, but that’s the beauty of it, you get to chew over these questions after the play is over. To me, that’s the mark of a great play.

    Are there significant challenges with this production that our audience would be interested in knowing about?

    The play involves a big dinner party at the very beginning. Caryl Churchill has written overlapping dialogue where people are talking over each other, like at a real dinner party. It has been challenging to choose what the audience hears and doesn’t hear.  Sometimes the audience will hear both and have to choose which to listen to. It has been both a challenge as a director and as an actor. Not only must the actors learn their lines, but they must also learn when they begin speaking in the middle of someone else’s line.

     

    February 17, 2018
    /dv

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  • Community collaboration leads to a new play by Brock prof

    (Source: The Brock News | Monday, February 12, 2018 by Alison Innes)

    It was a simple, yet powerful statement.

    “We need to pay attention to the lives of Niagara’s migrant agricultural workers,” René Lopez, a worker advocate, said to Brock University Associate Professor David Fancy in 2010.

    That conversation began a journey of community collaboration that lead to the production of Our Lady of Delicias by the Essential Collective Theatre, which runs from Friday, Feb. 23 until Sunday, March 4 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    Fancy, a professor with the Dramatic Arts program, collaborated with dozens of migrant workers and Dramatic Arts students for two years to develop the play. The story features the character of Rangel, a Mexican migrant worker who has been travelling to Canada for years to work in the vineyards and greenhouses of Niagara.

    “I’m excited by this new script,” says Essential Collective Theatres’ Monica Dufault, a long-term Brock instructor who is directing the production. “It explores migrant worker issues in considerable depth with a real artistry that I’m keen to share with audiences.”

    “Having lived in Niagara for more than a dozen years now, I still feel that this is a reality that is consciously ignored: the lives of people who are our neighbours,” says Fancy.

    The cast of four, including Carla Melo, Juan Carlos Velis, Camila Diaz-Varela and Josée Young, features an exceptional range of Canadian acting talent with extensive stage and screen credits. Brock Dramatic Arts graduates James McCoy and Jo Pacinda are creating the design and costume design for the production.

    What: Our Lady of Delicias, performed by the Essential Collective Theatre

    When: Friday, Feb. 23 to Sunday, March 4

    Where: Robertson Theatre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

    SPECIAL OFFER: Present your ECT show program or ticket stub to receive a 20% discount on tickets for Top Girls presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts!

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    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, Uncategorised

  • MEMORIES KNOWN AND UNKNOWN: exhibition opens Jan 9, 2018 / lecture on Jan 31

    William Bell and Grandma, from the Bell-Sloman Collection of the James Gibson Library, Brock University

    A Walker Cultural Leader Series and Canada 150 Exhibition and Public Lecture:

    MEMORIES KNOWN AND UNKNOWN

    Visual Arts faculty have selected photographs and ephemera from the Bell-Sloman Collection of the James Gibson Library, part of a remarkable collection donated to Brock University by Rick Bell in 2010. The collection features more than 300 photos and various papers spanning more than a century that document the Bell and Sloman families, who descended from former slaves in the American south. The exhibition at the Visual Arts gallery will showcase some of the material presented at the Walker Cultural Leader series lecture on January 31, when we are pleased to welcome Dr. Julie Crooks from the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her research situates the Bell-Sloman Collection as a “fugitive archive,’ built with defiance and resistance, in order to preserve, salvage and recover the histories of African Canadian communities whose stories and material artefacts are often left untold or subject to erasure.

    Exhibition: Monday, January 9, 2018 to Friday, February 9, 2018
    Regular visiting hours are Tuesday through Saturday 1 to 5 pm.
    To check viewing times of the exhibition please see the webpage.
    Location of Exhibition: Visa Gallery and Exhibition Space, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University

    Note: The date of the exhibition reception is Wednesday, January 31 at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
    The lecture follows at 7:00 p.m. A free community event. Please see below for more details.

    THE BELL-SLOMAN COLLECTION AT BROCK UNIVERSITY: A FUGITIVE ARCHIVE

    Dr. Julie Crooks of the Art Gallery of Ontario

    Dr. Julie Crooks is our second Walker Cultural Leader in Visual Arts for 2017-18. Her public lecture will draw on current research that examines the ways in which black communities, by the mid to late 19th century, in settlements throughout Southern Ontario, used photography as a critical and powerful tool for self-representation. Crooks’ research situates the Bell-Sloman Collection as a “fugitive archive,” built with defiance and resistance, in order to preserve, salvage and recover the histories of black communities whose stories and material artefacts are often left untold or subject to erasure. The exhibition at the VISA Gallery and Exhibition Space (above) will showcase some of the material presented in the lecture.

    Wednesday, January 31, 2018
    Time: 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Preceded by a reception for the exhibition at the VISA Gallery and Exhibition Space.
    Location: Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, Brock University (second floor, above the VISA Gallery)
    This is a free community event, but tickets are required and are available at wcl-bell-sloman-crooks.eventbrite.com

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  • Exhibition: ART BLOCK: BAC on the Block opens Dec .6

    Work exhibited in last year’s edition of  ARTBlock: BAC on the Block exhibition.

    Members of the Brock Art Collective will host their third annual ARTBlock: BAC on the Block exhibition beginning Wednesday, Dec. 6 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    The group, comprised of MIWSFPA students, will showcase works completed on 6-inch by 6-inch panels and made with a variety of mediums. Most works will be for sale starting at $40.

    The opening reception will be held Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m.
    The exhibition, held in the Visual Arts Exhibition Space, runs until Friday, Dec. 22.

    Regular visiting hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

    More information is available on ExperienceBU or Facebook

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, News, Uncategorised

  • Bernhard Cella, Walker Cultural Leader visits Brock University

    Image by Bernhard Cella

    Walker Cultural Leader Series –  Lecture/Performance and Book-Making Workshop:

    The Walker Cultural Leader series brings leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University. Engaging, lively and erudite, these sessions celebrate professional achievement, artistic endeavour and the indelible role of culture in our society. Please join us.

    The Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) is invites you to attend and participate in the events and activities organized with artist and book maker Bernhard Cella during our Walker Cultural Leader Series in early November. Focusing on the making of art books and innovative forms of publishing, these events are free.

    A visual artist working in Vienna, Austria, Bernhard Cella is the founder of Salon für Kunstbuch, installed in the 21. Haus / Belvedere, and of the no-isbn project. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and at the University of Fine Art Hamburg. A book maker, Cella published an expanded edition of his No ISBN. On Self-Publishing in 2017.

    This education program is generously founded by Marilyn I. Walker.

    Lecture/Performance:

    Wednesday, November 1, 2017
    Time: 6:00 p.m.

    Artist, curator and art book maker, Bernhard Cella (House 21/ Belvedere and Salon für Kunstbuch, Vienna, Austria) demonstrates and performs contemporary book making.

    Location: Rodman Hall Art Centre, 109 St. Paul Crescent, St. Catharines, ON
    Open to the public.

    For more info, visit: experiencebu.brocku.ca/event/65852

    image by Bernhard Cella

    workshop:

    Medium/Media: All media that can be captured on paper. A book making workshop with Bernhard Cella.

    Friday, November 3, 2017
    Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    The objective of this workshop is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the medium “book” as a production process, and for individual participants to produce their own small publication or part of a larger one. This workshop focuses on the current status of the printed (analogue) book and associated questions. Participants will design and develop their own publications, from the initial idea through to the finished product.

    During recent years the development of desktop publishing and digital printing has promoted a significant resurgence of micro editions of artistic publication projects. In contrast to industrial manufacture, micro editions facilitate a high degree of interaction between production and conception so that technical processes may influence decisions on content.
    Referring to current examples and historical models, we will analyze various approaches and forms of production for our project. These include analyzing pictorial language, formats and varieties of paper, text production, typography and typesetting techniques. In small groups, we will discuss concepts and prepare mock-ups for various book projects – prototypes that allow a different way of thinking about the space that is a book.

    Location: Niagara Arts Centre, 354 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines, ON L2R 3N2
    Limited spaces available. Sign up by contacting Catherine Parayre – email: cparayre@brocku.ca

    For more info, visit: experiencebu.brocku.ca/event/65852

     

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    Categories: News, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Brock University Annual Homecoming Weekend and Ontario 150 Presents … A Free SESQUI Virtual Reality Experience

    Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, Ontario

    SESQUI, in collaboration with the James A. Gibson Library’s Makerspace, will be bringing a free Virtual Reality Experience to the Marilyn I. Walker Campus. The VR experience features 5-minute stories about Canadians who are shaping their world through creativity.

    Visitors can also make their own Sesquatch, allowing Canadians to explore their identity in an interactive and playful way.  Alongside virtual reality, the Makerspace will also be showcasing some of the emerging technologies, such as 3D printing, robotics, and circuitry, available at the James A. Gibson Library.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Future Students, News, Uncategorised

  • RBC Foundation Music@Noon – March 7

    RBC Foundation Music@Noon
    Our Tuesday Music@Noon series is generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation. This free concert series takes places most Tuesdays at noon throughout the academic year. Held in the acoustically excellent Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, our Music@Noon series provides ample opportunities for artists to display their creativity.

    Performing: Walker String Quartet: Vera Alekseeva and Anna Hughes, violins, Andrée Simard, viola, & Gordon Cleland, cello

    The Walker String Quartet (WSQ) is the Department of Music’s quartet in residence. The group gives prominence to the department through public performance and working with students in high school string programs to share in the joy of music and promote Brock’s music program.

    Quartet members include Music instructors Vera Alekseeva (first violin), Andrée Simard (viola), and Gordon Cleland (cello), along with second violinist Anna Hughes who hails from Guelph. All members of the WSQ are also regular players in the Niagara Symphony Orchestra.

    WSQ workshops with secondary school students over a number of weeks, developing closer ties between the schools and Brock while working together towards a public performance.

    “With this high-level ensemble we are able to bring a new energy to our performing presence in the region, on top of the vital work they are able to do in high schools with students, giving them a sampling of what Brock has to offer,” explains department chair Professor Karin Di Bella.

    “Prospective students will have the experience of having worked with their future teachers, and once they are at Brock they know they will receive the very best instruction possible.”

    In 2016 members of the quartet worked with music students from Laura Secord and Sir Winston Churchill Secondary Schools. At both schools the quartet performed a short program of standard repertoire, talked about Brock and its music programs, and distributed music parts to the students to work on in their classes. A number of weeks later, the quartet returned to the schools and held sectional workshops with the students to work on their parts.

    Finally on November 25, 2016, the high school students came downtown for a day of workshops and tours at the Marilyn I. Walker School of the Fine and Performing Arts, followed by a combined rehearsal and short public performance in Cairns Recital Hall. The gathered audience was appreciative, and the initiative forged closer ties between the two schools and the Department.

    The WSQ also held a similar event with Ridley College students, with a performance by the quartet, combined rehearsals, and a public performance.

    Concert performances are another important aspect of the quartet’s activities. In November, paired with strategic timing of the invitational workshop, the WSQ performed as part of the Department of Music’s Encore! Professional Concert Series in Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    The WSQ was formed in 2016 through funds from the Walker Cultural Leaders Series endowment. The series brings leading performers, artists, practitioners and academics to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    Discussions are underway to build on this success for the 2017-18 season, when the quartet will expand their activities further afield into the Hamilton/Burlington region.

    The Walker String Quartet’s performance takes place on Tuesday, March 7th from 12 noon to 12:50 pm in Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. This is a free community event!

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