Articles by author: ckim2

  • Brock mourns loss of champion of Dramatic Arts

    Mary-Jane Miller (right) with her late husband Jack Miller shortly before her retirement in June 2004.


    Originally published in The Brock News FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2022 | by 

    The Brock community is deeply saddened by the recent passing of Mary-Jane Miller, who spent 36 years with the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART).

    Miller, who began teaching at Brock in 1968 and served as both Associate Professor and Chair of the department during her tenure, passed away peacefully at home on June 22.

    A crucial member of the DART program, she was part of the early academic cohorts at Brock.

    Miller’s level of dedication and commitment over her 36 years with the University still resonates with many.

    DART Associate Professor Gyllian Raby has many fond memories of Miller, who impacted not only the department, but also its students.

    “MJ set an example, consciously; she was a teacher in her every move. Her profound sense of duty made her step up for several years after her migraines undermined her desire to Chair the Department of Dramatic Arts,” Raby says. “She didn’t want to retire until she felt our fledgling department was stable and had found its identity; she cared so very deeply.”

    DART Professor David Fancy says Miller “left a very strong legacy of commitment to theatre and dramatic arts in the Humanities and at Brock.”

    “She was a key architect to the development of the Department of Dramatic Arts in the 1960s and ’70s,” he says.

    After retiring in 2004, Miller went on to become Professor Emerita, maintaining strong ties to the Brock Dramatic Arts community.

    Miller and her late husband, Jack Miller, who passed away in 2016 and also had a significant impact on the University, are remembered for their lasting contributions.

    “Their combined generosity to the department was legion and they led forward with a most steady and loving personal relationship that taught me about the beauty of being quietly grand in later years,” says David Vivian, Professor and Chair of the Studies in Arts and Culture.

    Miller’s family will receive friends on Friday, July 1 from 11 a.m. to noon at Patrick J. Darte Funeral Chapel, 39 Court St., St. Catharines, with a memorial service to follow in the chapel.

    Memorial donations to either the Stephen Lewis Foundation or the Brock University Scholarship Fund would be appreciated by the family.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, Future students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Visiting Artists

  • Roberta Doylend to retire after over a decade as Head of Wardrobe

    Image: Roberta Doylend and the late Marilyn Walker working on the Tree of Learning, a nine-foot-tall quilt that incorporates uncommon fabrics and techniques from textile and fibre art to depict a dream about studying the arts, now displayed in the MIWSFPA. Credit: Norris Walker 


    Roberta Doylend looks to exit stage left, as she sets to retire on May 31, 2022.

    Doylend is Head of Wardrobe at the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), in addition to running the costume shop and storage for the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART).

    She has over a decade of fond memories to look back on, as well as a storage room full of breathtaking costumes to show for her passion and devotion. From day one, she has committed all her time to the DART program and its students.

    “I arrived at the Thistle side of the department with my suitcase and my dog in the morning after a red-eye flight from Victoria,” she says reflecting on her first day at Brock. “It has been a whirlwind of teaching, creating theatre and supporting the next generation of theatre creators,” she adds.

    She’s found joy in every aspect of her position and beyond the love of teaching, there are certain moments that stand out for her.

    “For my first several years at Brock, I designed and dressed students for the Annual General Brock’s Soiree. Over the years, the Soiree was the event to attend, dress up and meet The General (Sir Isaac Brock). Dressing students in period clothing from 1812, to the final celebration of Brock’s 50th Anniversary with original ’60s clothing on 30 plus student interpreters. Lots of work, but so much fun,” she says.

    “The transformative announcement by Marilyn and Norris Walker to create a School for Artists was a significant milestone. Being able to design the Costume Shop and Storage and having several years to teach students in our stunning new facility is a dream realized,” she says.

    Over the years, Doylend has contributed to the evolution of the department. Developing many production courses with students, for mainstage and festival performances on both the Brock Main Campus and the Downtown Campus.

    Doylend may be leaving the school, but it seems her journey in the Dramatic Arts doesn’t end here. With all her experiences and passion in hand, she sets her eyes on a long-awaited homecoming.

    “I am returning to my roots as a Costume Designer and business owner on Vancouver Island. I look forward to designing costumes for live theatre and working at my new company that will facilitate the re-creation of vintage products, techniques and repair over purchasing new,” said Doylend.

    She sees this new opportunity to not only continue teaching and inspiring young theatre costumers, but also as a way she can continue to do something she loves.

    “I will offer drafting, stitching, specialty craft workshops and mentor theatre costumers in an atelier in Chemainus, BC.”

    Doylend has been and will always remain a beloved faculty member. While she will be missed by faculty, staff, and students at the Marilyn, we know she will bring the same spirit of enjoyment to her amazing new journey.

    There is a celebration in the works for May 31 starting at 4:00 pm in the Wardrobe Shop where students, alumni and colleagues are welcome.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Brock to partner with Suitcase in Point on youth theatre program

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, located in the heart of downtown St. Catharines, will host an intensive two-week theatre program for youth this summer.


    This summer, Brock University will welcome creative youth for an electrifying experience at its downtown arts school.

    Electric Innovations, a two-week intensive theatre program, will be hosted at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) and presented by celebrated local multi-arts company Suitcase in Point in partnership with the National Theatre School of Canada.

    Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) will join the initiative as a community partner, offering studio and performance space in the University’s state-of-the-art facilities.

    Held July 11 to 23, Electric Innovations begins with a week of presentations and workshops led by some of the finest theatre artists in Canada, including Miriam Fernandes, Cole Alvis, Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster and Joanna Yu. In week two, participants will devise an original piece of work under the mentorship of the program’s Lead Artists Marcel Stewart and Michelle Mohammed (BA ’18).

    Mohammed, Artistic Associate at Suitcase in Point and a Brock DART graduate, is pleased the groundbreaking program will run in person this year after taking place virtually in 2021.

    “We believe in investing in the training and development of young artists and providing a space for new talent to emerge, create, play and find their artistic voices,” she said.

    Co-ordinating the program alongside Mohammed is fellow DART grad and Suitcase in Point Artistic Associate Kaylyn Valdez-Scott (BA ’18), who acknowledged the challenges that existed in finding motivation in the arts during the pandemic.

    “Electric Innovations will provide a brave space where young artists can breathe and laugh with like-minded souls, while creating meaningful work that expresses our current state of being with each other and ourselves,” Valdez-Scott said.

    DART Chair Jennifer Roberts-Smith said she is thrilled to welcome young artists and their mentors into the MIWSFPA spaces and introduce them to faculty and staff.

    “Dramatic Arts is so pleased to support this new way of mentoring young artists,” she said. “We have a lot to learn from the participant-centred approach, and we are very excited to see what the young artists will bring to the program.”

    Applications are now open to youth 15 to 18 years of age in the Niagara or Greater Toronto-Hamilton regions. Eight participants will be selected for the program.

    The deadline to apply is Monday, June 13. For application details, please visit the Electric Innovations website.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Faculty & Instructors, News