Articles by author: dvivian

  • Dramatic Arts presents: Tensions of Engagement in the Canadian Immigrant Theatre Context

    featuring Lina de Guevara, founder of Puente Theatre (Victoria) and Ruth Howard of Jumblies Theatre (Toronto), with Dr. Yasmine Kandil of Brock University (Niagara)

    March 16 and 17, 2018

    A panel conversation and workshops on the theme of Tensions of Engagement in the Canadian Immigrant Theatre Context. This event will look at how theatre has been used to create collaborative opportunities with immigrants and refugees in Canada, and what struggles lay ahead of us to bridge the divide between settler Canadians and newcomers.

    All events take place at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines ON L2R 0B5
    A free community event!
    Registration required for workshops only.
    tensions-of-engagement-workshops.eventbrite.com
    Limited parking available.
    Contact Dr. Yasmine Kandil ykandil@brocku.ca for more information.

    PROGRAM:
    Friday March 16 7:00pm
    PANEL Discussion in the MIW THEATRE:
    Tensions of Engagement in the Canadian Immigrant Theatre Context

    This panel, moderated by Dr. Natalie Alvarez (Brock University), will feature three of Canada’s applied theatre artists who have devoted a large portion of their creative work towards working on issues of diversity, multiculturalism, and creating opportunities for immigrants and refugees to explore their narratives of settlement through theatre.

    This comes at a crucial time, as our society is witnessing an awareness of the insidious racism that exists in our country, as revealed by the Angus Reid Institute report of October 2016. Our panel will discuss how applied theatre with immigrants and refugees in Canada has evolved over the past few decades, and whether there has been a positive and tangible impact that this medium has had on this community, and on settler Canadians.

    Saturday March 17 10:00am – 3:00pm
    WORKSHOPS: STUDIOS B and C at the MIWSFPA

    Workshop STUDIO B (MW 247)
    10:00-12:00pm (Ruth Howard)
    This workshop will explore Jumblies’ recent Four Lands touring project, which brings together settler, newcomer, Indigenous residents of all ages and backgrounds in a gentle exploration of different perspectives on a place.
    jumbliestheatre.org/jumblies/about/staff/ruth-howard

    Workshop STUDIO C (MW 243)
    1:00-3:00pm (Lina de Guevara)
    This workshop will explore the different tools used to do research related to immigrant and refugee narratives: interviews, storytelling of personal stories, image creation, forum encounters, audience participation, etc. Lina will share the tools that she uses and those she avoids.
    linadeguevara.ca

    Registration required for workshops only.
    tensions-of-engagement-workshops.eventbrite.com

    PANELISTS:

    Lina de Guevara

    Lina de Guevara was the first immigrant artist to establish a theatre company in Victoria that solely focused on promoting the narratives of immigration and settlement with the purpose of bridging the gap between this minority group and the predominantly white culture of Victoria. Her work has spread to other provinces in Canada since she began her Canadian journey almost 40
    years ago.

    Ruth Howard

    Ruth Howard is the founder and Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre, based in Toronto. Her work with professional artists and diverse communities has won her recognition and awards. Jumblies is known for its large-scale collaborative community-engaged theatre and interdisciplinary arts residencies, projects and productions, as well as its dedication to learning and mentorship in community arts.

     

    Dr. Yasmine Kandil

    Yasmine began her immigrant journey in Victoria, BC, where she worked on multiple projects exploring celebration as a means for immigrant youth to claim a space in their new Canadian home. She is presently 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.

     

    Our guests, Lina de Guevara and Ruth Howard, are two of our Walker Cultural Leaders for 2017-18.  This 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.
    This education program is generously founded by Marilyn I. Walker. Please join us!

    Tags: , , , , , ,
    Categories: Announcements, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Visiting Artists

  • 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


    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

    Tags: , , ,
    Categories: Events, Performance Season, Plays

  • Dramatic Arts presents: In Transit: Artistic Interventions in Precarious Times

    featuring Dr. Kerr Mesner, Arcadia University (performer) with
    Dr. Stephen Low (Moderator, Discussant and Talkback Facilitator)

    Thursday, March 15, 2018 7:00-9:00 pm, in the MIW THEATRE

    In Transit: Artistic Interventions in Precarious Times is a one-person performance piece, combining multimedia, live theatrical performance, and audience engagement to create an evocative and thought provoking dramatic experience. This autoethnographic theatrical piece explores the intersections of queer identities, Christianity’s contributions to antiqueer
    violence, and the challenges of embodying transgender identities within our current political contexts. Mesner weaves a narrative arc between current live theatrical performances from his 2017 piece, In Transit and multimedia excerpts from the filmic
    version of his 2014 play, Intervention, that was part of his doctoral dissertation.

    This performance will be of interest to scholars, graduate students, practitioners, and activists working in such areas as arts based educational research, performance studies, transgender and queer studies, religion/theology, and anti-oppressive education.

    All events take place at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    15 Artists’ Common, St Catharines ON L2R 0B5
    A free community event!
    Tickets and registration not required. Limited parking available.

    Contact Dr. Joe Norris jnorris@brocku.ca for more information.

    Dr. Mesner is one of our Walker Cultural Leaders for 2017-18.  This 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.
    This education program is generously founded by Marilyn I. Walker. Please join us!

    Tags: , , , ,
    Categories: Announcements, Events, Visiting Artists

  • The State of Our Art: Drama in Education and Applied Theatre in Ontario

    The Department of Dramatic Arts, Brock University and the Walker Cultural Leader Series presents:

    The Second Drama in Education and Applied Theatre Symposium.

    January 26 and 27, 2018

    Our world as we know it is rapidly changing, with scholars identifying present events as ‘post-normal’ (O’Connor and Anderson 2015). In this climate of anxiety and political uncertainty, how is the practice of drama in education and applied theatre a means to respond to and attempt to speak back to these times? The lectures and workshops will offer key insights into how our scholars use this practice to grapple with these issues.

    Featuring Julie Salverson (Queens University), Kathleen Gallagher (OISE), and workshops by by Professors: Kathleen Gallagher, Joe Norris (replacing Kathy Lundy as listed in the PDF), Julie Salverson, Larry Schwartz, and Belarie Zatzman.

    for more information download this PDF.

    Keynote: Friday, January 26 7:30pm
    Professor Julie Salverson, Queens University

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

    All of us today, as scholars, artists and citizens, are challenged with listening to and telling forward the story of this home we call Canada. As we consider this task, where are the possibilities for change, for hope, and for honest listening – listening not to consume and extract (what scholar Dylan Robinson calls hungry listening) but to acknowledge and attend? I will talk about ways to think and feel about what it means to witness and respond to calls for justice as whole people who draw upon a rich variety of resources. How do all of us, individually and collectively, honour our own heritage, traditions and teachers? How do we bring these to the table and to how we live, work and attend? What do each of us offer to the conversation? This is about what it means to be “on the ground”, to negotiate the challenge to witness with the alarm and feeling of consequence that entails a meeting with a traumatized environment. I will draw on Karen Barad’s performative metaphysics, Donna Haraway’s “staying with the trouble” and E.V.Walter’s discussion of “places of experience” to re-imagine my ideas of foolish witness.

    Keynote: Saturday, January 27 9:00am
    Professor Kathleen Gallagher, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

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

    In this keynote, I will use a case study of one research site in Lucknow, India, in my current multi-sited, applied theatre research, Youth, Theatre, Radical Hope and the Ethical Imaginary: an intercultural investigation of drama pedagogy, performance and civic engagement (2014-2019) to consider how drama can ‘speak back to these times’ if we deem- as some social innovation theorists do- the social world as made and imagined. How have the students in India, and how might we in our various pedagogical and creating contexts, use theatre to understand social systems and imagine a progressive sociality? In India, using drama, performance and critical dialogues, the work is both deeply political and radically hopeful through the ways in which it reorients, redefines and revisions the social world. Their classroom practice follows from a 19th century feminist theatre history, I will argue, that enables a transformative ambition, just what is needed in these harrowing global times. As democracies thin under populist and neoliberal regimes across most nation states, the young people and their teachers in India have long understood the power of collective opposition as a social practice and political resistance, but they have also seized upon drama and performance as the most powerful means to this end. Social innovation scholars have suggested that by harnessing what they are calling “collective intelligence”, it may be possible to dramatically improve societies’ ability to tackle seemingly intractable social problems. The students at Prerna school in India have positioned theatre as a “language of care” and a central tool for understanding the political economy and deconstructing the forces of oppression. It is time for all of us to harness the unimaginable, in our classrooms, on our stages, and in the street.

    Workshops: Saturday, January 27, 2018
    DART Studio A workshops: Julie Salverson (10:30 am-1:00 pm) / Belarie Zatzman (2:30-5:00 pm)
    DART Studio C workshops: Joe Norris (10:30 am-1:00 pm) / David Booth (2:30-5:00 pm)
    DART Studio D workshops: Larry Swartz (10:30 am-1:00 pm) / Kathleen Gallagher (2:30-5:00 pm)

    Julie Salverson, Queens University.
    10:30 – 1:00, Studio A
    Who we are as witnesses
    I have facilitated a few sessions this year based on a Quaker practice of holding a question in the light. The question for this workshop is: how can we live together better? I will speak for a few minutes about the deep preparation I require to enter the thorny territory of witnessing, the heritage, traditions and teachings that inform my work, and what a response to these times means to me. I will then invite people in the room to speak to this. There will be no direct interaction or discussion, this is about witnessing and listening.

    Joe Norris, Department of Dramatic Arts, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University.
    10:30 – 1:00 Studio C
    Reexamining Canadian History through Story Circles, Picture Interpretation, Tableaus, Choral Speech and Writing in Role
    Award winner for his publications in his pioneering work in playbuilding as research, duoethnography, a form of dialogic research, and alternative forms of arts-based assessment, Joe also devotes considerable time developing and piloting units of teaching the curriculum through drama. While this workshop will focus specifically on the Klondike, the approaches used can be applied to many curricular topics.

    Larry Swartz, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto.
    10:30 – 1:00 Studio D
    MORE THAN A PLAY
    This practical interactive workshop will demonstrate strategies for using minimal and dialogue scripts to enhance interpretation skills, to build community and to address social justice issues. Handout provided.

    Belarie Zatzman, Department of Theatre, School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design, York University.
    2:30 -5:00 Studio A
    Performing Objects
    In this workshop, we will consider participatory practices that can be used in history, art and drama classes, or in museum / gallery contexts. We will explore applied theatre strategies for examining and interpreting “performing objects” in order to help us construct our encounters with archival objects or artworks, from the present.

    David Booth, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto.
    2:30 -5:00 Studio C
    A Novel Approach to Drama
    This workshop will explore the Young Adult novel as a source and inspiration for improvised role playing leading to dramatic scene building. This genre of contemporary literature is written especially for our students, and explores issues of coming of age, relationships, social justice, and identity. As teachers, we can use the themes and events in these texts as stimuli for interpreting, exploring and inventing situations and scenarios as a whole class, working in groups and partners, as we construct our scenes into a playmaking conclusion.

    Kathleen Gallagher, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.
    2:30 -5:00 Studio D
    Verbatim Theatre: telling other people’s stories
    Physical, ethical, social, and artistic questions converge at the centre of Verbatim Theatre practice. This session will invite participants to explore and examine some of the techniques and practices that are currently in use, in the evolving genre of Verbatim Theatre. Part story-telling, part composite, part-mimicry, part invention, the work will invite critical discussion about the skills, the social value, and the creative impulses connected to this form of theatre-making. Extending its reach beyond theatre and performance, Verbatim has found a place, too, in social science research. Harnessed to ideas about power relations and ‘collaborative’, multi-vocal, qualitative research practices and forms of dissemination, this genre of theatre further opens up discussions about the ever-expanding defi nitions of research methodology.

    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University
    A free community event, please register for the workshops:
    the-state-of-our-art-symposium-workshops.eventbrite.com
    (Maximum 20 per session)

    for more information download this PDF.

    Please note that limited parking is available at the MIWSFPA for guests and presenters on a first come, first served basis.

    Due to multiple event programming on the evening of Friday, January 26 please allow ample time to find nearby parking.

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    Categories: Events, News, Visiting Artists

  • DART presents: Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

    It’s the perfect day for the perfect Tennessee wedding– but where are the bridesmaids?

    Skulking in her attic refuge, Meredith rebels. Frances prays. Mindy eats. Georgeanne lusts, and Trisha swears off romance forever– until Tripp, the wise-cracking usher turns her eye. Trouble lurks everywhere for these colourful and disorderly women, and as the music gets louder and things get rowdier, they must come together to figure out past burns and current conundrums. With a little booze, a little wisdom, and lot of crazy talk, they help one another navigate the storms of life.

    Five Women Wearing the Same Dress comes to St. Catharines from Academy Award winning author Alan Ball of “American Beauty”.

    You have never experienced a wedding party like this one!

    Directed by professor Gyllian Raby, and assisted by Tarndeep Pannu. Other students from the 2017-2018 4F56 ensemble include cast members Helena Ciuciura, Meryl Ochoa, Samantha Mastrella, Rebecca Downing, Candice Burn and Mark Dickinson. Set Design is by Jillian Wardell, Costume Design by Sarah Marks, Sound Design by Naomi Richardson, and Lighting Design by guest instructor James McCoy. The production is Stage Managed by Chelsea Wilson, Allie Aubry and Michelle Mohammed with Kaylyn Valdez-Scott as Publicist, and Adrian Marchesano and Mackenzie Kerr on the Production Team.

    Characters:

    Meredith Marlowe: The bride’s rebellious, pot-smoking younger sister who is very sarcastic and much annoyed with the whole fiasco downstairs. Sporting an outwardly tough attitude, she has a lot of insecurity to hide. Bridesmaid.
    Georgeanne Darby: Tracy’s “ugly sidekick” in high school and college. Accepted the invite to be a bridesmaid even though her relationship with Tracy is strained because Tracy’s boyfriend had once got her pregnant. Bridesmaid.
    Trisha: One of Tracy’s former friends with a supposed bad reputation; a jaded beauty. Bridesmaid.
    Frances: The very naive and religious cousin of the bride. Bridesmaid.
    Mindy McClure: The groom’s clumsy and outspoken lesbian sister. Bridesmaid.
    Tripp Davenport (Griffen Lyle Davenport the Third): An usher who falls for Trisha.

    When: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1 and SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2017

    Time: 7:30 pm to 9:15 pm.

    Location: The Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, Brock University

    Tickets: $7†; $5† child (14 and under); $5† eyeGo program. Free admission to current students of the MIWSFPA with valid student ID card. † Applicable fees and taxes are extra. ONLY 100 SEATS AVAILABLE for each performance, don’t delay.

    Available from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office: 905.688.0722 or Long Distance Toll Free: 1.855.515.0722; online: firstontariopac.ca

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    Categories: Events, Performance Season, Plays

  • Dramatic Arts mourns the loss of Katherine Oswald

    Katherine Oswald, a Dramatic Arts student passed away Monday after a battle with cancer. She was an inspiration to us with her dedication to her craft, her courage to live life to the fullest, and her caring nature towards all with whom she worked. The Department of Dramatic Arts and the Brock University community were enriched by her presence and we are fortunate that she chose Brock to share her exuberance for theatre and the performing arts.

    Katherine and fellow cast member Sarah Marks during preshow costuming and make-up for the production of “Gormenghast” in the dressing room at the Marilyn I Walker Theatre, November 2016. Seen in the mirror is student Nicole James, student Propsmaster for the 2016-17 season.

    Mike Griffin, faculty member and director of Gormenghast (MIWSFPA Theatre, November 2016) remembers:

    From the first moment I met Katherine at the DART Invitational she was a shining light. She beamed with excitement to be part of our Department. She was so full of energy and passion for theatre and her spirit was contagious to everyone she came into contact with. She wanted to do everything and was driven like no student I had ever met. She was an absolute pleasure to work with in Gormenghast. I gave her a role that was nothing like she had ever played before and she brought everything in her being to the part of Swelter because that is what Katherine did, everything she did she committed to with the fullness of her heart. In my Commedia class she was vibrant and hilarious. I will never forget her version of Pedrolino. Katherine was an incredible  woman, student, and performer. She was a model student in so many ways, truly inspiring to other students and to me. I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with her.

    Katherine performing the role of the mad butcher Swelter in the stage adaption of “Gormenghast” by Mervyn Peake, performed by students in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre in November, 2016.

    Faculty and Technical Production Staff in the Department echo Mike’s comments: she will be  remembered as one whose presence lit up a room; a warm-hearted, beautiful and courageous human being, who brought humour, positivity, and determination to everything she did.  She greeted everyone in the hallways with a radiant smile.

    Katherine’s recent and courageous journey to health was documented here:
    www.gofundme.com/katherines-journey-to-health

    Her light went out far too soon.

    See the article in the Brock News.

    Funeral Services are being arranged at Paterson Funeral Home www.pattersonfuneralhome.com in Niagara Falls, at 6062 Main St.

    read the obituary

     

    Tags:
    Categories: Current Students, News

  • PANTALONE’S PALACE, DART’S First Mainstage for 2017-18, opens October 27!

    Pantalone’s Palace

    Love and power collide in this fun-filled, fast paced physical comedy.

    Written and Directed by Mike Griffin

    Set & Costume Design by: Kelly Wolf
    Lighting Design by Chris Malkowski
    Sound Design by: James McCoy
    Mask Maker: Gina Bastone
    Assistant Direction by: Helena Ciuciura

    Hardworking Columbina just wants to enjoy the majestic Wooers’ Woods in peace after a long day’s work, but the greedy business tycoon Pantalone is scheming. When Columbina discovers his plot to build the biggest casino in the world, she knows she must take action. Armed with her wits and her lovesick friends, she aims to set things right in this fun-filled, fast paced, physical comedy that explores the meeting of contemporary life and classical Commedia dell’Arte.

    When: October 27 – November 4, 2017
    FRIDAY, OCT. 27 & SATURDAY, OCT. 28 at 7:30 pm
    SUNDAY, OCT. 29 at 2:00 pm
    FRIDAY, NOV. 3 at 11:30 am & 7:30 pm
    SATURDAY, NOV. 4 at 7:30 pm

    The Department invites teachers and educators to bring their students to see this exciting new production of Commedia dell’arte.
    Read the Special Invitation to learn more.

    See the article in the Brock News.

    See the teaser video.

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

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    Categories: Events, News, Performance Season, Plays

  • Brock co-led research to study police training in mental illness

    Dr. Natalie Alvarez, an associate professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts

    (Source: The Brock NewsWednesday, September 13, 2017 | by Cathy Majtenyi)

    It’s the heat of the moment. A person in mental health distress is waving a knife in the air, yelling or screaming or perhaps even silent. A police officer is on the scene.

    What happens next?

    It’s a question that undoubtedly will come up in Toronto police Constable James Forcillo’s appeal trial, which started Monday. Forcillo was convicted of attempted murder for the 2013 shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar.

    It’s also a question that Brock University researchers Natalie Alvarez and Yasmine Kandil are exploring in their research on how to use theatre to train police officers.

    Dr. Yasmine Kandil

    Dr. Yasmine Kandil

    Alvarez, an associate professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts, along with Yasmine Kandil, an assistant professor in Dramatic Arts, are co-leading a study that will create and evaluate the effectiveness of a type of scenario-based police training grounded in problem-based training methods the team refers to as ‘forum scenarios.’

    In forum scenarios, a scene is played out for an audience. The scene is then performed again, but an audience member can step in to intervene by making different choices, creating a different outcome and changing the way a particular issue is viewed or dealt with. It’s a form of teaching and learning that promotes the principles of procedural justice.

    Theatre educators Alvarez and Kandil of Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts, and Wilfred Laurier forensic psychologist Jennifer Lavoie, alongside their cross-Canada team with specializations in mental illness and de-escalation training, are partnering with the Durham Regional Police and collaborators from the Ontario Police College.

    The federal government’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has awarded the team a $310,960 grant to carry out the four-year study.

    “Experiential learning through forum methods is much more effective in integrating knowledge, being able to apply that knowledge and retain it long term,” says Alvarez. The study builds on Alvarez’s upcoming book that examines the use of immersive simulations in a variety of training and educational contexts.

    Experts involved in the scenarios aim to teach police officers how to recognize behavioural characteristics of various mental illnesses that may present barriers to communication in high-stakes encounters, the impacts and consequences that certain actions will have on the person in crisis, and how to de-escalate volatile situations.

    “We want to recreate situations where the officer perceives a situation where there’s an imminent threat, they’re under extreme stress, and they have to make refined, ethical judgments in that moment of stress,” says Alvarez.

    The team will also address mental health stigmas and misconceptions.

    For Alvarez, the research is not just academic.

    “My oldest sister suffers from schizophrenia and she’s become an advocate for the rights of people living with mental illness,” says Alvarez, adding that her sister frequently gives talks to RCMP officers on the subject.

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  • A public lecture in applied theatre with guest speaker Juliana Saxton, Professor Emeritus

    The Department of Dramatic Arts is pleased to invite you to attend a lecture by:

    Juliana Saxton

    Professor Emeritus, Master Teacher, and International Speaker

    “Seeing the World instead of Numbly recognizing it: witnessing & representation in Applied Theatre”
    This lecture examines the means by which embodied representation of “direct speech” may, through the devices of distancing (Eriksson, 2009)/ différance (Derrida, 1963) /ostranenie (Shklovsky, 1917) engage audiences and actors alike in ”seeing the world” in all its ambiguities, more clearly.

    Friday September 22nd 7:30pm
    Marilyn I. Walker Theatre

    Open to the Brock and DART community, and friends.

    Sponsored by the Social Justice Research Institute

    For more information contact: Dr. Yasmine Kandil, ykandil@brocku.ca

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  • Dramatic Arts alumna honoured with Faculty of Humanities Distinguished Graduate Award

    Brock alumna and puppeteer Sarah Argue will be giving a talk about her business at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on Friday, Sept. 15, before being honoured at the Alumni Recognition Reception on Saturday, Sept. 16 as part of Homecoming weekend.

    (Source: The Brock NewsWednesday, September 13, 2017 | by Alison Innes)

    With a little felt and a lot of talent, Sarah Argue (BA ’06) has created a career for herself in the world of puppetry.

    Through her business, Rock the Arts, the Brock dramatic arts alumna has been touring across Canada with her crew of unique characters sharing shows about compassion, enjoying the little things in life and the power of choice.

    She will return to her alma mater Friday, Sept. 15 to share insight into her professional puppet company. The presentation will take place at 1 p.m. in Studio A of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. All members of the Brock community are invited to attend.

    Argue is in town to receive the Faculty of Humanities Distinguished Graduate Award, to be presented on Saturday, Sept. 16 during the Alumni Recognition Reception held as part of Brock’s Homecoming weekend.

    It has been seven years since Argue launched her successful business after quitting what she described as a “normal job” — working as a program co-ordinator for the City of Ottawa — to pursue her passion.

    She taught herself how to make the felt creations and began taking her show on the road.

    Argue now has a roster of 80 puppets that she uses to perform shows in schools, libraries and theatres. She has also produced a children’s CD and currently has multiple projects on the go, including a film, children’s book and book to support other artists wanting to build their own careers.

    Argue credits the diverse theatre experience she received at Brock — where she performed in The Crucible and directed a Norm Foster play, among other productions — for preparing her for the stage.

    “I didn’t realize at the time what a gift it was,” Argue said of her Brock degree. “I didn’t realize what a well-balanced degree I was getting in theatre.”

    Her time as an undergrad had her touch on lighting, acting, directing and costuming — all beneficial to her career. That experience gave her the confidence to walk into any theatre and comfortably speak to the techs in charge about how her show is set up.

    Argue’s love for creating puppets is matched only by the experience of giving them a voice and watching them evolve into life-like characters.

    Turning her passion into a business hasn’t always been easy, but Argue has relied on the support of other artists. Puppeteer Noreen Young, from Under the Umbrella Tree, has been a mentor to Argue, helping her learn how to pitch to networks and encouraging her to keep going when times get tough.

    Workshops with puppeteer Trish Leeper of Muppets fame have introduced Argue to the idea of puppetry on camera, guiding her toward more film work, including the #IHopeFor awareness campaign for childhood cancer.

    “You need a lot of support from other artists to keep going,” Argue said, while expressing her desire to pay that sentiment forward.

    Carol Merriam, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, said the Faculty is pleased to recognize Argue with the Distinguished Graduate award.

    “The skills that she learned in her studies in dramatic arts and the creativity, enthusiasm and drive that were fostered at Brock have led her to create her own niche,” she said. “Hers is the kind of success we hope and expect from graduates of Brock.”

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