Lyric Canada 2010

LyricCANADA 2010 – Thursday, October 21 through Saturday, October 23, 2010.

Brock University, St. Catharines ON (daytime program)
Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake (evening program)

Lyric Canada 2010 is an inaugural international conference consisting of one Keynote presentation, two Plenary presentations, Moderated Roundtable, 14 presentations by scholars and practitioners, and 15 Showcase presentations involving composers, librettists and performers.

Lyric Canada 2010 will bring together creators of lyric theatre in Canada and abroad with scholars whose research does or could encompass their work. In this context the term “lyric theatre” encompasses a wide range of dramatic works in which sung text is an integral part. Thus it includes cabaret, musicals, operetta, opera and all points in between.

By uniting a transnational group of researchers and creators of lyric theatre, we intend to develop a network from which to draw inspiration, expertise and experience for anyone pursuing research or production of this unique art form.

Why is this an important event?
 This is an innovative ground-breaking project that nobody else is doing.
 For the Department of Dramatic Arts and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts this conference broadcasts Community Outreach and collaboration with the Shaw Festival, our major international collaborator in cultural creation and industry in the Niagara Peninsula.
 We are fostering the development and enrichment of Pedagogical Experiences and Institutional Relationships.
 We are bringing internationally known Composers and Writers to share their creative intelligence and experience with the Brock and Niagara communities.


A special component of the conference program will be the presentation of new and recent works in the Lyric CANADA 2010 Showcase. The Shaw Festival is a major collaborator in this project, facilitating three evenings of presentation of new and recent works in the Lyric Canada 2010 Showcase program in the Studio Theatre at the Shaw Festival. Details of the Showcase program are available on the website The program includes:

Leslie Arden One Step Forward 
Tapestry New Opera: Tapestry’s Creative Process: Marjorie Chan, Writer in Residence as hostess; A writer/composer team from the most recent LIBLAB; 2 Opera Briefs (10 minutes)
Paul Sportelli, Jay Turvey, and members of the Shaw Company Maria Severa
Bram Gielen, Tracy Michailidis, with the Summerworks hit Biggish Kids
among other established and new artists on the Canadian and American lyric theatre scene.

Tickets to the Showcase performances are available through the
Centre for the Arts Box Office at Brock University
(search for lyric)
905.688.5550 x 3257 (within local region only) or 1.866.617.3257 (outside local region)
Cost: $25.00 for one evening program; $65.00 for all three evening programs


Stewart Wallace (the composer of Harvey Milk and The Bonesetters Daughter) is coming from Texas en route to China to present the Keynote speech: FATE! LUCK! CHANCE! Adventures in Opera Making

Sarah Schlesinger, Chair of Graduate Musical Theatre Writing at the Tisch School of Arts (NYU), Sarah is a multiple award-wining lyricist and librettist – her works include The Ballad of Little Joe, Prairie Songs, and Swing Shift. Sarah will be speaking about nurturing and training the next generation of writers and composers in lyric theatre. We are also programming a pedagogical experience between herself and students of the Departments of Music and Dramatic Arts wherein students of Brock can learn from this powerhouse writer in lyric theatre in an intensive workshop moment.

Our very special guest Canadian Plenary speaker is Jim Betts, Canadian composer, lyricist, and librettist (Colours in the Storm, Thin Ice, Shooting of Dan McGrew), and author of Field of Stars: Songs of the Canadian Musical Theatre (2004) and Field of Stars: More Songs of the Canadian Musical Theatre (2008) (Toronto: Northern River Music). Jim’s provocative presentation is entitled Why Canadians Can’t Write Musicals (And Why Almost No One Else Can, Either)


Thirty panel presenters from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States complete the wealth of the panel program to be presented at Brock University.

A selection of the three-day program includes:

Robert Walsh, composer will present From the Ashes: The development of lyrics in The Forbidden Phoenix, with Wayne Strongman and Tapestry New Opera, Toronto speaking about their production Iron Road

JOINT SESSION: Kathryn Harvey, University of Guelph’s L. W. Conolly Theatre Archives and Francesca Marini, Stratford Festival, ON, will speak about the challenges of archiving performance, particularly musical theatre, and the wealth of their respective archival collections.

Mel Atkey, London-based author of Broadway North: The Dream of a Canadian Musical Theatre will speak about his new volume: A Million Miles from Broadway: Musical Theatre from a Universal Perspective

Julie Salverson, Queen’s University, ON will present Opera meets clown and the Atomic Bomb . . . The development of Shelter 

Sheldon Rosen, Ryerson University, and Darren Russo, McGill University, will present Hansel & Gretel: Typographic Play

Please see the online programme schedule at

The Conference may be attended in whole or in part. Members of the public are welcome to the conference or only attend the evening performances at the Shaw Festival.

Conference Registration is available at the conference website
Cost: $150.00 to 290.00 depending upon program and including the Showcase program.

questions or inquiries, please contact:

Marie Balsom, Communications
Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University
Niagara Region | 500 Glenridge Ave. | St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1 | T 905 688 5550 x4765 | F 905 378 5712

Your hosts for LyricCANADA 2010:

Professors Virginia Reh (Dramatic Arts)

David Vivian (Dramatic Arts/Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture)

LyricCANADA 2010 is produced with the generous support of:

Brock SSHRC Institutional Grant (BSIG)
The Humanities Research Institute of Brock University
The Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
The Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture
The Department of Dramatic Arts
The Department of Music
Centre of Teaching, Learning and Educational Technologies, at Brock University

and our special collaborator
The Shaw Festival

Hospitality vehicle provided by St. Catharines Mazda

general enquiries:

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