Commotion is a tri-generational program that trains emerging Brock Graduates to create theatre and work with high school students in the surrounding community. The program is run by Gyllian Raby, a Brock professor and Pablo Felices Luna, the artistic director for Carousel Players youth theatre in St Catharines. In reaching out to the local youth, this program is a vital resource to identifying and teaching the relationship between the creative process and group dynamics for Brock’s emerging artists.
Twice a week, for a twelve week period, the students engage in high-octane, personal and inventive processes that lead towards devising a one-act play for public presentation. The groups alernate their creative strategies between four compass points of resource exploration, scored improvisation, evaluation of cultural assumptions and participation with their surrounding community. Community members from cross-disciplinary backgrounds provided feedback to the students and attempt to illuminate the expressive voice of the group presentation as a whole. As a crucial aspect to the program, this process aims to unfold the interests and concerns that are the common denominator of the group, rather than those proposed by external media.
The presentations were held at the Courthouse Theatre in St Catharines between December 8th and 10th and were a great success!
Gyllian comments, “In the last two weeks of the program, the COMMOTION team helps the groups ‘weave’ their material into a one-act plays and rehearse for the production. The fact that the play script arrives so late can be nerve-wracking, but the final production is made possible by the trust the participants develop in their work and in one another, as well as the professional artistic support by Carousel Players. The young people we have worked with have taught us a great deal about collaborative processes, ownership and creative practice. They have inspired us.”
The COMMOTION Project is made possible by SSHRC: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Department of Dramatic Arts of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University, Carousel Players, TALK Niagara and approval from the District School Board of Niagara.