Articles by author: dtemprile

  • Brock students on Broadway

    Cast members from the student-run Mirror Theatre had the unique opportunity to perform in the heart of the New York City theatre district recently.

    On Wednesday, April 25, the cast members performed vignettes from their applied theatre work at the Marriott Marquis hotel.

    Mirror Theatre is a comprised primarily of Brock Dramatic Arts students that produce and perform interactive scenes on a variety of social issues. The group is coached by Dramatic Arts Chair and Professor of Drama in Education and Applied Theatre Joe Norris. It gives students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they learn in their courses in real-world situations. Through experiential education, the students develop life and learning skills that will prepare them for their careers and future studies.

    Mirror Theatre was invited to attend the Arts Based Educational Research (ABER) business meeting in New York City by the ABER Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. At the conference, they presented “Employing Playbuilding Research and Pedagogy in Addressing Educational and Social Issues Facing Youth.” Their scenes addressed issues of academic integrity, seeking help, dealing with gossip, refusing unsafe working conditions, parental pressures and healthy eating.

    Regent cheque for Mirror Theatre

    Regent cheque presented to Mirror Theatre for $500.

    The trip was partially funded by the Regent Student Livings’ Dramatic Arts Student Independent and Outreach Projects fund. Recently, Mitch Allanson (BA ’16) presented Abby Rollo, Mirror Theatre’s President and Lindsey Abrams, Treasurer a cheque for $500. This award will be available to DART students each year and is part of Regent Student Livings investment in the success of the students at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    Cast members of Mirror Theatre include, Lindsey Abrams, Dani Shae Barkley, Kaedyn Brouse, Candice De Freitas Braz, Aaron Drake, Nadia Ganesh, Rosa Moreno, Mike Metz, Abby Rollo, Sumer Seth, Dawson Strangway and Director Joe Norris.

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    Categories: Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, News, Performance Season

  • Brock faculty, staff, students and grads performing at In the Soil

    (Source: The Brock News | Wednesday, April 25, 2018 by Alison Innes)

    It’s a festival born out of love for the local community and the arts.

    In the Soil, the three-day, multi-layered and multi-disciplinary festival in St. Catharines, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend, and Brock has played an important role in its growth.

    The festival started as an idea sparked at a Centre for the Arts performance in Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, where Annie Wilson (BA’03), Joe Lapinski (BA’99) and Sara Palmieri (BA ’03) wondered how they help showcase Niagara talent. Three more former Brock students came on board to found the festival in 2009: Deanna Jones (BA ’02), Natasha Pedros (BA ’04) and Jordy Yack.

    They wanted to bring people together with local artists to create a shared experience and celebrate Niagara’s arts scene.

    Brock’s support of In the Soil has been important from the start, says Wilson, who studied Theatre and English.

    “To have the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts right in the downtown core is a dream come true and so is the opportunity to collaborate with so many incredible profs and friends over there,” says Wilson. “Brock University has supported In the Soil Arts Festival from day one and the ongoing investment in us has allowed us to grow it into what it is today.”

    Suitcase in Point Theatre Company, a theatre group founded by graduates from Brock’s Dramatic Arts program, took over organizing the festival in 2012. The group worked to sharpen the festival’s interdisciplinary approach and now has a tradition of showcasing the latest work in theatre, literature, music, film, comedy and site-specific installations.

    Many Brock students, staff, faculty, and grads are exhibiting and performing at this year’s festival in various venues around the downtown core, including:

    • Adrian Thiessen (BA ’10), president and creative head of Fourgrounds Media, will be showing his piece “Please Do Not Disturb the Grapes,” which gives a bird’s perspective of Niagara wine country as part of Rhizomes at Silver Spire United Church.
    • We Who Know Nothing, a theatre group centred in the Department of Dramatic Arts and led by Associate Professor Gillian Raby, will be performing a short piece on colonialism and First Nations histories.
    • Also at Rhizomes, Twitches & Itches Theatre, an ensemble made up largely of Dramatic Arts graduates, will be presenting emerging theatre voices in “The Comments Section,” a collaboration between young artists.
    • Arnie McBay (MA ’13), Visual Arts Facilities Technician at MIWSFPA, and English Professor Gregory Betts will be showing “Signs of Our Discontent” (The Textures of Our Solitude). The site-specific installation at the corner of St. Paul and Garden Park responds to the fading advertisements painted on downtown buildings.
    • Fourth-year Visual Arts student Amber Lee Williams video performance “Self Portrait As A Female Fountain” explores themes of identity and is an extension of her exhibition “Hidden Mother” on until Saturday, April 28 at the MIWSFPA.
    • Dramatic Arts student Matthew Beard is the founder of Big Chicken Improv, an improv group that includes various Brock students. They will be performing long- and short-form improv on Saturday evening.

    Prior to the festival, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will be hosting a special event on the evening of April 27 for students from Stamford Collegiate.
    The MIWSFPA is also a festival sponsor.

    What: In the Soil Arts Festival

    When: Friday, April 27 to Sunday, April 29

    Where: Downtown St. Catharines

    Tickets and event details: inthesoil.on.ca

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Brock to host Heritage Fair Wednesday

    Giovann Contini was invited to tour the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts after selecting the school as the subject of his Heritage Fair project.

    Brock will open its doors to more than 100 young history enthusiasts this week.

    The University will host the annual Niagara Catholic Regional Heritage Fair on Wednesday, April 18, welcoming more than 100 elementary students to present their projects.

    Also known as the Historica Fairs Program, the educational fair encourages Niagara Catholic District School Board students in Grades 4 to 8 to develop awareness and interest in Canadian history. Students spend several weeks creating their history projects, which are then presented in class and showcased in their respective school’s gymnasium. The most promising projects then advance to the regional event, held at Brock.

    Students participating in Wednesday’s fair engage in a full day of learning, with morning workshops on Indigenous culture and an afternoon excursion to the Niagara Falls History Museum.

    When mulling over options for his project, Giovann Contini knew there was a building in downtown St. Catharines he was eager to feature — the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    Heritage Fair project

    Grade 6 student Giovann Contini chose to do his Heritage Fair project on the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    The Grade 6 student from St. Michael Catholic Elementary School in Niagara-on-the-Lake was drawn to the school because of his love for the arts.

    “At first, I was going to choose the topic of Canadian military weapons through the ages, but I realized I wasn’t as interested in that topic as I thought,” he said. “As I started to look into other topics, I got really excited about what the MIWSFPA was. Since it’s so new, I figured it would be a great opportunity to do something that no one else has done.”

    When Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts Joe Norris got news that Contini was presenting his project on the MIWSFPA, he invited him to the downtown campus for a private tour and interview session.

    “After the tour, I really felt like I would love to go to this school when I’m older. It just has so much to offer,” Contini said.

    Included in the project, to be showcased on Wednesday, are paintings created by Contini.

    He drew inspiration “from the sketches in the painting studio that the Brock students were working on,” he said. As his paintings progressed, he added colours to the black, grey and white background, “symbolizing how art brings colours into our lives and makes it more interesting.”

    The Heritage Fair runs from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Pond Inlet. This event is open to the public between 4:15 and 4:45 p.m.

    Five winners from regionals will advance to the Provincial Fair in Toronto in June.

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    Categories: Future students, News

  • Dramatic Arts students explore the theme of Expectation and Reality

    The popular One Act Festival is coming back to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts this weekend. Pictured is the performance of All by Myself from the 2017 One Act Festival directed by Naomi Richardson, designed by Chelsea Wilson and featuring Rebecca Downing, Jessica Johnson, Alex Boychuk, Lauren Reed and David Poirier.

    The popular One Act Festival is returning to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts this weekend.

    Students from the Dramatic Arts Directing II course (DART 3P54) have been hard at work developing their plays under the supervision and guidance of instructor Neil Silcox and teaching assistant Kevin Hobbs. The experiential course offers students practical and real-world experience as directors, dramaturges, performers, designers and theatre technicians, often for the first time.

    Silcox says “Brock does a great job of balancing out the theoretical and experiential aspects of dramatic arts” compared to the other programs he’s worked for.

    “Developing a strong understanding of theories and then being able to get on your feet and actually do it is the only way to learn to do performing arts,” Silcox says.

    Directing II students are responsible for selecting a script, auditioning a cast, rehearsing, designing the show and co-ordinating with the dramatic arts production team on all technical needs.

    This year, the festival is presenting six shows under the theme “Expectation and Reality.”

    Silcox says he discovered the theme “after reading through each of the students’ chosen acts side by side.”

    “We didn’t offer this theme to the students and make them try to select something,” he says.

    This process allows the students to have full control and individuality with their acts, but also challenges them to tweak their shows in a way that highlights the theme more.

    “Although it may seem cliché, audience members should expect the unexpected,” says Silcox.

    The shows range from century old to extremely contemporary, absurdism to strongly political, all exploring this year’s theme from a unique angle.

    Shows being presented this year include Articulation by Alicia Richardson, Your Mother’s Butt by Alan Ball, Echo by Joseph T. Shipley, The Little Stone House by George Calderon, The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco, and The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre by Allan Knee.

    All shows take place in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre of the MIWSFPA on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 starting at 7 p.m. each night. Admission is pay-what-you-can and limited paid parking is available nearby. For more information on the 2018 One Act Festival, visit the Dramatic Arts website.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, In the Media, News, Performance Season, Plays

  • Dramatic Arts offers three-day lineup of events

    Ruth Howard of Jumblies Theatre, Kerr Mesner of Arcadia University, and Lina de Guevara of Puente Theatre, will be part of three days of programming presented by Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts from March 15 to 17.

    It will be a busy week for Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts, with a theatrical performance, panel discussion and series of public workshops all lined up in a matter of three days.

    The programming, sponsored by the Walker Cultural Leader Series, takes place Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 17 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) in downtown St. Catharines.

    Kerr Mesner, of Pennsylvania’s Arcadia University, will kick-off the three-day lineup Thursday with the debut of In Transit: Artistic Interventions in Precarious Times. The one-person performance piece combines multimedia, live theatrical performance and audience engagement to create an evocative and thought-provoking dramatic experience. His autoethnographic theatrical piece explores the intersections of queer identities, Christianity’s contributions to anti-queer violence and the challenges of embodying transgender identities within current political contexts.

    Mesner weaves a story arc between live theatrical performances from his 2017 piece, In Transit, and multimedia excerpts from the film version of his 2014 play, Intervention, that was part of his doctoral dissertation.

    He performs in the Marilyn I. Walker (MIW) Theatre Thursday, March 15 from 7 to 9 p.m.

    On Friday, March 16, a panel discussion, “Tensions of Engagement in the Canadian Immigrant Theatre Context,” will take place in the MIW Theatre at 7 p.m.

    Ruth Howard of Jumblies Theatre, Lina de Guevara of Puente Theatre and Professor Yasmine Kandil of Brock University will discuss how applied theatre with immigrants and refugees in Canada has evolved over the past few decades. Moderated by Brock Professor Natalie Alvarez, the panel will examine whether the medium has had a positive and tangible impact on this community, and on settler Canadians.

    Kandil began her immigrant journey in Victoria, B.C., where she worked on multiple projects exploring celebration as a means for immigrant youth to claim a space in their new home. She is currently engaged in the second phase of devising a theatre piece that examines narratives of immigration and settlement for Brock students and local immigrants and refugees in relation to expectations, obstacles and assimilation.

    Beginning Saturday, March 17, Brock’s visiting scholars and theatre makers, including two panelists from the previous evening’s event, will present workshops about their work in the Dramatic Arts field.

    Howard, founder of Toronto-based Jumblies Theatre, explores her recent Four Lands touring project in a workshop held in Studio B of the MIWSFPA from 10 a.m. to noon. Her work on issues of diversity has won many awards. Jumblies Theatre is known for its work with minority groups, engaging non-artists and a larger spectrum of participants through community-based theatre.

    Following from 1 to 3 p.m. in Studio C will be de Guevara’s workshop, which examines the different tools used to research immigrant and refugee narratives. She was the first immigrant artist to establish a theatre company in Victoria that focused solely on promoting the narratives of immigration and settlement, with the purpose of bridging the gap between the minority group and predominantly white culture of Victoria. Her work has spread to other provinces in Canada since she began her Canadian journey almost 40 years ago.

    Admission to all three days of programming is free thanks to sponsorship from the Walker Cultural Leader Series, founded by Marilyn I. Walker. However, participants are asked to register for the March workshops in advance through Eventbrite.

    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.

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, In the Media, News, Visiting Artists

  • MIWSFPA offers ticket promotion in honour of International Women’s Day

    Brock Dramatic Arts students Manchari Paranthahan and Meryl Ochoa in the production of Top Girls playing at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts March 2 to 10.

    (Source: The Brock News | Wednesday, March 13, 2018)

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is offering a special Top Girls promotion in honour of International Women’s Day.

    Tickets for the Brock production’s March 9 and 10 performances will be two for the price of one when buyers mention International Women’s Day.

    The promotion will be available in person at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office or by phone at 905-688-0722. Box office hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Top Girls, Brock’s second mainstage production of the year, is a contemporary play that takes a critical look at women and their relationship to power and success.

    More information on the show is available on the Brock News.

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, In the Media, News, Plays

  • 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, In the Media, News, Plays

  • Playwright/Actor Damien Atkins to Visit Brock Department of Dramatic Arts

    Toronto based actor and playwright Damien Atkins will do a reading from his work followed by a conversation with students in DART 3P92 Scriptwriting

    Date: Tuesday Feb. 13

    Time: 10:30 am

    Location: STUDIO B MW247 Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    This is a free community event! All are welcome to attend.

    Damien Atkins is a playwright and actor who has performed across Canada and the United States. Playwriting credits include miss chatelaine (The Grand Theatre/Theatre Passe Muraille), Real Live Girl (Buddies in Bad Times/Manitoba Theatre Centre/The Grand), the adaptation (with Marjorie Chan) of Hisashi Inoue’s play In The Garden, Two Suns for Crow’s Theatre, Good Mother (Stratford Festival), Lucy (Canadian Stage Co./Ensemble Studio Theatre – NYC/Delaware Theatre Co.), The Mill, Part Four: Ash (theatrefront), The Gay Heritage Project (with Andrew Kushnir and Paul Dunn – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), and We Are Not Alone (Crow’s Theatre/Segal Centre). He is the youngest playwright ever produced by the Stratford Festival. Damien has been nominated for nine Dora Mavor Moore Awards for acting and writing, including nominations for Best New Play for Lucy and The Gay Heritage Project. He has received the PRISM/UBC Creative Writing Residency Prize for Good Mother and a Dora for Best New Musical for Real Live Girl. Damien has been playwright-in-residence at UBC, Canadian Stage, Crow’s Theatre, and Factory Theatre, as well as a Guest Instructor at The National Theatre School.

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    Categories: Events, News, Visiting Artists

  • Acting exercise helps prepare co-op students for workplace

    From small talk at the water cooler to encounters with testy photocopiers, students embarking on co-op work-terms never quite know the situations they may experience in their new workplace.

    To help lessen stress and increase comfort heading into a new environment, Brock Dramatic Arts students recently visited their co-op peers to share some scenarios they may be faced with.

    Comprised primarily of Dramatic Arts students under the direction of Joe Norris, Dramatic Arts Chair and Professor of Drama in Education and Applied Theatre, Mirror Theatre spent time in three Co-op Education classes over the past few weeks to provide guidance and reassurance by acting out scenes in Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.

    Dramatic Arts exercise in co-op class

    Co-op students Daniel O’Leary, left, and Marsel Avdic, right, play tug of war with fourth-year Dramatic Arts student and Mirror Theatre member Sumer Seth during an ‘Awkward Elevator’ scene.

    The group write and present interactive scenes on a variety of social issues, with the latest art-based research project exploring the interpersonal dynamics of work placements from entry to exit.

    Using applied theatre, experiential and problem-based learning theories and techniques, the students present scenes that address worker safety, on-site learning, asking for help, dealing with unreasonable demands and degree of personal sharing and assessment. Audience members redirect the scenes from their seat and, at times, come on stage to try to act out their thoughts through role-play.

    The initiative was intended to generate discussion amongst the co-op students on a variety of work-related topics in the 0N90 class.

    Students were asked to put themselves in the actors’ shoes in order to understand how they would handle each of the given situations in real life.

    “I would recommend this type of interactive learning in future classes,” said second-year Public Health co-op student Micaela Snow following the exercise. “I feel like the presentation gave us a deeper understanding of expectations and work etiquette rather than if we just listened to the professor talking about it.”

    Julia Zhu, Brock’s Associate Director of Co-op Education, hoped the experience helped to “facilitate ‘a rehearsal for life’ by offering an opportunity for students to safely test out their approach to impromptu social, ethical and culture situations.”

    Course facilitator Ashley Haroutunian said she was impressed by the level of engagement students displayed as they watched the vignettes and participated in the discussions and re-enactments.

    “They demonstrated a keen ability to reflect and contribute thoughtful observations and suggestions to help the players navigate the challenging workplace scenarios and conflicts,” she said. “Professor Norris and his students did an excellent job of supporting their learning by inviting, encouraging and involving students in the process.”

    Mirror Theatre has previously worked with Brock’s English as a Second Language Services in addressing academic integrity issues; Student Health, examining mental health and drinking issues; Health and Safety, discussing violence in the workplace; a Health Sciences class, articulating challenges of patient care; and the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation’s TA training sessions. The group’s members are heading to New York in April to present their arts-based research at the American Educational Research Association.

    Mirror Theatre members who participated in the recent co-op exercises include fourth-year Con-Ed Dramatic Arts students Mike Metz and Lindsey Abrams, third-year Psychology and Dramatic Arts student Nadia Ganesh, fourth-year Dramatic Arts and Education student Aaron Drake, fourth-year Con-Ed student Abby Rollo, second-year Con-Ed Dramatic Arts student Dani Shae Barkley, fourth-year Dramatic Arts student Sumer Seth and first-year Dramatic Arts student Dawson Strangway.

    Speaking with Mirror Theatre members on how this group has impacted their lives, Mike Metz, fourth year Con-Ed Dramatic Arts student says, “When I started Mirror Theatre in my first year, I was a Con-Ed math student. Mirror Theatre was one of the major reasons I decided to switch my major to Drama.”

    Lindsey Abrams, fourth year Con-Ed Dramatic Arts student adds, “Mirror Theatre has given me the opportunity to explore my love for theatre through different lenses as an actor, prospective educator, and learner.  I get the opportunity to explore all different areas of theatre that can be presented, and feel as though I am always a part of a team.”

    When Nadia Ganesh, third year Psychology and Dramatic Arts student was asked what she enjoys about participating in Mirror Theatre, she said, “I love the fact that Mirror Theatre gives me the ability to impact the lives of others even if it is only in a minor way. If it’s just making one person laugh, I’m happy that I’ve had the opportunity to affect that individual in a positive way.”

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Brock University engages with community at Burlington Performing Arts Centre

    Brock University Dramatic Arts faculty and students engage with young theatre artists and teachers at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre

    This past Tuesday Oct. 17, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts participated in “Career Day – Life in the Theatre Industry” at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. This event welcomed approximately 150 students/teachers from seven different schools and three different district school boards.

    The day consisted of interactive workshops and demonstrations to explore the many diverse careers available in the theatre industry, a live theatrical performance, and the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with representatives and students of the leading college and university programs offering performance and production related theatre courses. It was a great opportunity for students to delve into the vocations of the theatre world in a creative and experiential manner.

    Throughout the day many teachers mentioned how successful the event was and how it fits so successfully into the secondary curriculum.

    The Department of Dramatic Arts looks forward to meeting these young artists again when they apply for future studies at Brock University!

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    Categories: News