Events

  • Brock mainstage production puts human behaviour, climate crisis in spotlight

    Brock University Dramatic Arts students will explore a variety of complex topics in AnthropoScene, this year’s fall mainstage production.


    Originally published in The Brock News | FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) is inviting the community to experience a journey through time and place in AnthropoScene.

    The fall mainstage production explores how the alienation that results from humans’ supremacist behaviour towards one another contributes to the climate crisis, as well as engages the ethics of theatricalizing the present climate emergency.

    AnthropoScene playfully mingles elements of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, real-life figures including Toussaint L’Ouverture and various youth climate justice activists, and fictional characters across multiple locations and time periods.

    The production, which debuts Friday, Oct. 28 and continues into the first week of November, involves one of the largest groups of students, faculty and staff in recent years. Twelve DART students will perform, as 30 others assist in creative and backstage roles. This original work is written and directed by David Fancy, designed by David Vivian, and choreographed by Trevor Copp and Colin Anthes, with live music performed by Devon Fornelli.

    “I’m so pleased at the skill and talent of the many students involved in creating this production, from actors to assistant designers, directors and sound designers — the list goes on,” says Fancy, a Brock DART Professor.

    Conveying so many complex elements within the production has been no easy task, but one the cast and crew have handled impressively, he says.

    “Our Dramatic Arts students have really shown courage and insight in dealing with the challenging materials that this play covers: self-harm, racism and environmental harm,” Fancy says. “They have also brought great verve and joy to the choreography, company dance numbers and comedic aspects of the project.”

    To help immerse audiences in multiple locations and time periods, the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre has taken on a new form.

    “I imagine the audience having an experience of poetry, drama, comedy, dance, beautiful design, light and sound that will transport them to different places and times,” Fancy says. “I’ve configured the theatre differently than it usually is in order to help the audience feel they are being brought somewhere else.”

    AnthropoScene opens Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances on Oct. 29 and 30, and Nov. 4 and 5. All shows take place at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre in Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in Downtown St. Catharines.

    roundtable discussion, also open to the public, will take place on the production stage Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m., with a panel of experts from Brock and other institutions discussing topics related to staging planetary evolution and destruction.

    Brock Professor of Art Education Fiona Blaikie will lead the discussion alongside Fancy; Vivian; Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Brock’s Posthumanism Research Institute; Katrina Dunn, Assistant Professor in the University of Manitoba’s Department of English, Theatre, Film and Media; Lin Snelling, a dancer whose artistic practice brings the qualities of improvisation into dance, theatre, writing, visual art and somatic practice; and Priya Thomas, Assistant Professor of Dramatic Arts at Brock.

    Tickets for AnthropoScene are $20 for the general public and $16 for students and seniors. For a full schedule of performances or to purchase tickets, visit the Brock University Tickets website.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Performance Season, Plays

  • Voice exploration workshop to be hosted at downtown arts school

    Diane Roberts is the founder of the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process, which draws on 30 years of experience and 12 years of focused artistic research.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    A new workshop this winter will help participants develop a deeper understanding of and stronger relationship with their voice.

    Breathing New Legacies Forward, a Moving Voice Institute intensive, will be hosted Thursday, Dec. 15 to Sunday, Dec. 18 at Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) in downtown St. Catharines. Led by industry specialists Gayle Murphy, Diane Roberts, Gary Logan and Gerry Trentham, Founder and Artistic Director of Pounds Per Square Inch Performance (lbs/sq”), the four-day workshop explores transformative vocal and physical explorations that extend range and deepen presence.

    “It’s a process that is different for everyone,” says Department of Dramatic Arts Associate Professor Danielle Wilson. “There is a connection between the voice, breath and body that the Moving Voice Institute researches. We are excited to have them come to the MIWSFPA this winter and lead this exploratory retreat devoted to the voice.”

    Through the course of this workshop, participants will examine and experience the connections between voice, text and breath in the morning sessions. In the afternoon, participants will work alongside Roberts, an African-Caribbean Canadian theatre practitioner and educator.

    Roberts is the founder of the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process, which draws on 30 years of experience and 12 years of focused artistic research. This work invites participants to consider ancestry as an essential aspect of evolving authority in their voice and body presence.

    Wilson expressed a deep interest in the process because of the strong ties to her personal research in voice and performance.

    “I wanted to experience the Arrivals Legacy work. Participating in the process is essential because voice work is a somatic practice. Experiencing the work is the research,” Wilson says. “We all have a relationship with our voice and this intensive gives participants an opportunity to deepen their relationship with their voice and own their unique sound, regardless of what they do professionally.”

    Breathing New Legacies Forward will be the first voice workshop since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Wilson says being connected and in the same room as those who are exploring, hearing and finding their voice is truly special. She encourages anyone interested to take this opportunity to discover a deeper connection with their voice.

    This workshop is open to all Brock community members and the public. More information can be found on the lbs/sq” website. Registration is now open, with early bird registration closing on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

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  • Annual Dramatic Arts Orientation brings students, faculty, and staff together

    Department of Dramatic Arts Chair Jennifer Roberts-Smith makes opening introductions to students, faculty, and staff.


    The annual Department of Dramatic Arts Orientation was held on Sept. 13, 2022. This event was an opportunity for all new and returning students to meet with the staff, faculty, and organizations they would be interacting with this upcoming year.

    Department Chair, Jennifer Roberts-Smith, started with opening remarks and then welcomed all faculty and staff members to the stage. Cheers filled the theatre as the faculty and staff introduced themselves and the roles. Associate Professor Danielle Wilson, who is DART’s Undergraduate Program Officer, hosted and welcomed other theatre-associated groups and clubs that are open to all students.

    With introductions out of the way, students were sent off in groups throughout the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on a scavenger hunt. This allowed many new students to become more familiar with the facilities and befriend some upper-year classmates with more experience in their programs. This opportunity was an enriching and fun-filled event that brought the department together and provided some much-needed introductions as the new academic year begins to shape.

     

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  • Brock alumni, faculty take spotlight at Hamilton Fringe

    Rebekka Gondosh (right) worked with Spark Intensive participants during their rehearsals for their Hamilton Fringe Performance. (Photo Courtesy of Joginder Singh)


    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, AUG. 9, 2022 | by

    When the Hamilton Fringe Festival got underway last month, Brock alumni and faculty not only shared their talent on stage, but also used their knowledge to inspire the next generation of performers.

    Among the artists who participated in the theatre festival, which returned July 21 to 30 after a two-year pandemic hiatus, were Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) alumni Rebekka Gondosch (BA ’12), Diego Blanco (BA ’21), Holly Hebert (BA ’21) and Asenia Lyall (BA ’22), as well as DART Associate Professors Gyllian Raby and Danielle Wilson.

    A high school Dramatic Arts and English teacher with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Gondosch led the festival’s Spark Teen Intensive — a performance program for youth ages 13 to 18 living or studying in Hamilton.

    Through Spark, participants learn practical devising skills, work with local guest artists in a variety of disciplines such as movement, poetry, storytelling, theatre and music, and create an original performance piece that is performed during Hamilton Fringe.

    In addition to teaching for the past six years, Gondosch has been busy working with Passing Through Theatre and Light Echo Theatre, sharing her poetry as part of Suitcase in Point’s In the Soil Festival and creating works of her own. She recognizes the growing need for arts and performance programs in youth education and is doing what she can to help nurture the arts locally.

    A woman with a clown nose

    Brock University Dramatic Arts Associate Professor Danielle Wilson performed in the production Stage Fright as part of Hamilton Fringe Festival.

    “A hope I have for the Spark program is that it might encourage young emerging artists to continue making art in Hamilton,” she says.

    Meanwhile, fellow Brock alumni Blanco, Hebert and Lyall produced an original one-act play, Thy Name is Woman, at Hamilton Fringe through their new self-producing company, Into The Abyss Theatre.

    “Several of DART’s upper-year classes provide students with devising and production skills, as well as encouragement to go out and voice their ideas,” says Raby. “We are proud to see these fine artists making their mark.”

    Also taking part in the Fringe Festivities was Raby, who partnered with Wilson on a new production of their own, Stage Fright. The dynamic duo looked to trigger and assuage performers’ worst fears while getting in a few laughs along the way.

    Stage Fright was built on playwright Wilson’s experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic, including attachment to technology, social media consumption and her newfound interest in the art of clown.

    Wilson makes it a point to indicate that clown goes beyond the archetype popularized by circus.

    “Clown is a state of creative play and a state of connection with the audience. You don’t know what the clown is going to do next — the clown comes from the person who is performing. It’s a state of openness to failure,” she says.

    Raby assisted Wilson with dramaturgy and direction, dissecting and exploring the multi-faceted elements of stage fright — a condition of psycho-physical paralysis experienced by most people.

    “Death, taxes and speaking in public are top fears,” Raby says.

    Wilson adds the little-known fact that since many performers are introverts, they are even more deeply affected by stage fright.

    “I was eager to get back on stage, since 2018 was my last performance,” Wilson says. “It’s important to stay in touch with all that it takes to perform, along with the fear that it takes.”

    Reflecting on the the existential humour of the show, Raby says: “How can something so terrifying, and so intellectually fascinating, be so light and funny?”

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Performance Season, Plays

  • Dramatic Arts criticism course returning to in-person theatre

    Image caption: Students in DART 3P94 Theatre Criticism will be experiencing a variety of live productions this summer after two years of digital offerings.

    Originally published in The Brock News | MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2022 | by 

    After two years of viewing performances online, Brock University students learning the art of theatre criticism will experience indoor, in-person theatre at the celebrated Stratford Festival and Shaw Festival Theatre.

    DART 3P94 Theatre Criticism is an online intensive Summer Term course run between July 11 and 22, bolstered by field trips to see live productions at Canada’s leading theatre companies.

    Taught by Karen Fricker, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts and theatre critic for The Toronto Star, the course introduces students to the practical craft of theatre criticism and dives into the theoretical background of the discipline.

    Fricker said that after two years of running the course during the pandemic and having students review digital theatre exclusively, it will be thrilling to view live productions again.

    “Both the Shaw and Stratford Festivals have full indoor seasons this year and I’m looking forward to bringing the course to shows there,” she said. “We’re setting up some post-show talks so that students will be able to ask questions about the productions they’ve seen with the artists who made them.”

    Stratford Festival is welcoming back audiences beginning in May with a season theme of ‘New Beginnings’ and featuring plays such as Hamlet and Little Women and the musical Chicago. The largest classical repertory theatre in North America celebrates a its milestone 70th year in 2022.

    Shaw Festival Theatre, in its 60th season, will feature 13 plays across three stages in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Productions include The Importance of Being EarnestEverybody and The Doctor’s Dilemma.

    After seeing productions, students will write and discuss responses to them and learn about alternative, digital, performative and visual forms of critical response, while engaging with theatre culture.

    Registration for Spring/Summer courses is now open through the Admissions website. Students interested in learning more about the course are encouraged to contact Fricker at kfricker@brocku.ca

    Learn more about the 2022 seasons at Stratford Festival and Shaw Festival Theatre online.

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  • Brock Mainstage production to take audiences on magical bike ride

    Image caption: Dramatic Arts Mainstage actor Yasmine Agocs rehearses a scene from the upcoming production of Red Bike by Caridad Svich, opening Friday, March 4 at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre.

    Originally published MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 in The Brock News | by 

    Through an epic journey on a beloved red bicycle, an 11-year-old girl reflects on the small town she sees before her, taking audiences along for the ride. Venturing to the outer edges of town and encountering challenges unlike any she has ever experienced, she must face her fears to see the world in a new way.

    The Brock University spring 2022 Mainstage production of Red Bike brings the poetic words of celebrated playwright Caridad Svich to life with an exhilarating performance exploring movement, physical theatre and puppetry.

    Dramatic Arts student and Red Bike cast member Arnelle Douglas in
    rehearsal at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    The show runs March 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and March 6 and 12 at 2 p.m. at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    The production’s unique style of fractured storytelling explores diverse themes as seen through the eyes of a child, including capitalism, consumerism, gentrification, globalization, immigration and isolation. Director and Dramatic Arts Instructor Mike Griffin was drawn to the play because of its whimsical nature.

    “While reading the play, I became a kid again; running out of the house to go on adventures down the street. Red Bike is the perfect balance of getting lost in imagination while reflecting on society,” he said.

    One of six actors in the all-female cast, fourth-year Dramatic Arts student Asenia Lyall said the unique script and dialogue provided her with a valuable opportunity to explore her creativity.

    “Being a part of Red Bike meant working with a small cast to tell a complicated and wonderful story in an unconventional way,” she said. “Learning how to perform this kind of script is a great opportunity for me as an actor. Embracing the abstraction and surrealism of the piece is something I’ve learned from.” While the cast and crew faced various challenges mounting the show during a pandemic, both the director and actors feel there was a silver lining.

    “We have bonded together as a community to create something fantastic,” Griffin said. “For me, the community that emerges out of the creative process is the reason that I keep doing theatre.”
    Lyall agreed, adding that creating theatre during the pandemic has taught her how to be flexible as an artist.

    “There is a real sense of humanity in this play, with a lot of exciting moments and big reveals that I think audiences will enjoy,” she said.

    The MIWSFPA will welcome a live audience for the production to the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at the downtown arts campus in St. Catharines. In the interest of student and audience member safety, the theatre is operating at a reduced capacity with 120 seats available for each performance.

    Tickets are $20 for the public, $16 for youth and seniors and $15 for Brock students. Tickets may be purchased through Brock University Tickets. All provincial and Brock University COVID-19 protocols are in effect for the performances, including mandatory vaccination and masks for all audience members visiting the MIWSFPA.

    All visitors to Brock University and MIWSFPA must complete the Brock University Self-Screening Tool.

    The all-female cast of the upcoming Brock University production of Red Bike by Caridad Svich includes (from left) Asenia Lyall, Arnelle Douglas, Yasmine Agocs, Joanna Tran, Abby Malcolm and Sarah Row.

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  • Performing arts production professionals bring ‘real world’ experience to MIWSFPA students

    The MIWSFPA welcomes leaders in live performance production and company operations for two presentations about challenges and opportunities in the field, bringing ‘real world’ experience to STAC/DART 3P93 students.

    All are welcome to a maximum of 17 guests. Bring your questions!
    Please contact stac@brocku.ca if you wish to reserve a seat (walk-in’s welcome as capacity allows).

    EVENT INFORMATION:

     

    Site Selection and Development for a Performance Event
    Kathleen Ross, Director of Operations, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
    Tuesday, February 8, 2022
    9:30-10:30 a.m., MWS 156

     

     

    Kathleen will be discussing the topic of Site Selection and Development for a Performance Event, addressing such topics as: selecting a site; space requirements – production (staging layouts, technical requirements, load in/load out requirements, broadcasting, or other capabilities); audience capacity (seating capacity and layout, accessibility, parking, transit); front of house requirements (staffing, box office, food and beverage options and costs); legal and safety issues.

    Kathleen Ross is an experienced operations professional with a focus on the most valuable asset…our human capital. She has an extensive history of working in government administration and entertainment industries, and is skilled in Emergency Procedures, Human Resources Management, Disability Management, Special Events and Entertainment.

    The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) is a 95,000 square foot academic and  cultural complex, located in downtown St. Catharines, comprised of four performance venues:  Partridge Hall  (770 seats), Recital Hall (304 seats), Robertson Theatre (flexible black box space) and The Film House (199 seats). Located adjacent to the MIWSFPA, Brock University students attend courses and perform at the PAC.

     

     

    Production Priorities
    Kate Leathers, General Manager, Carousel Players.
    Tuesday, February 15, 2022
    9:30-10:30 a.m., MWS 156

     

     

     

    Kate will be discussing Production Priorities, including such topics such as: The roles and responsibilities associated with various productions; co-ordination of creative and production priorities and requirements; production planning, contracting, legal, safety and human resources issues; consideration of planning a safe event in re-opening theatres (Covid-19).

    Kate Leathers has worked in the cultural sector for more than 20 years. She has held a variety of roles ranging from administrator to production technician and worked at dozens of theatres including the Shaw Festival and more across Canada. She has an MBA in Strategic Marketing. Currently Kate is planning Carousel Players’ 50th Anniversary Festival that will take place regionally over three days.

    Carousel Players present inspiring and creative plays for children ages five to 15 in schools, community venues, and performing arts centres across Southern Ontario. The company has also toured nationally to theatres and festivals in Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Vancouver, and as far away as England and Japan.

    About STAC/DART 3P93 – Producing a Performance Event

    STAC/DART 3P93 introduces students to the commitment, hard work, and collaboration required to plan and execute a performance event. Students have the opportunity to bring their practical and leadership skills to work with their peers as a team to replicate a professional experience, including financial, organizational, communication and technical roles. In 2022 this course is taught by Jill Planche, PhD. Jill has a professional background in marketing and fundraising for theatre, opera, film and visual arts, including the Shaw Festival, TIFF and the McMichael Gallery.

    Please note: All Brock University COVID-19 protocols and vaccination policies apply. For more information, please visit Brock’s Coronavirus webpage.

     

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  • Dramatic Arts instructor honoured at St. Catharines Arts Awards

    Image caption: Curtis Tye, winner of the Arts in Education Award at the 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards. Photo credit: Alex Heidbuechel, BLVD. Photography, courtesy of the City of St. Catharines.

    Published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, DECEMBER 02, 2021 | by 

    Brock University Dramatic Arts instructor Curtis Tye was among the winners of the 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards livestreamed from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) recently.

    At the ceremony held Sunday, Nov. 21, the Brock educator, arts facilitator and public speaking expert was named the recipient of the Arts in Education Award, which celebrates individuals and groups committed to engaging residents through arts education.

    For Tye, arts education is always a collective endeavour.

    “I like the idea of people learning in a community and partnering together. If people did not want to actively participate in learning, it wouldn’t happen in a successful way,” he said.

    Tye teaches DART 2P21 Drama in Education at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA). Along with teaching and a successful career as a corporate public speaking and leadership coach, he also serves as a committee member for Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute.

    Striving for an open and inclusive learning environment is a priority for him.

    “Both the students and my colleagues in Dramatic Arts are willing to take risks for what we think is important. This support and openness are key to a successful educational environment,” said Tye. “So many Brock folks understand how the arts can be used to study humanities and the human condition.”

    Tye’s passion for arts education extends to his work in the local arts community with Start Me Up Niagara, Willow Arts Community and past contributions as a former board member of Carousel Players.

    Other award winners from the Brock community included OPIRG Brock for the Making a Difference Award and Jean Bridge, retired Visual Arts faculty member and former professor of Digital Humanities for a Jury’s Pick Award.

    Watch the 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards ceremony courtesy of the PAC and the City of St. Catharines below:

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  • Audition and Casting Workshop for DART students, faculty and staff

    AUDITION AND CASTING WORKSHOP FOR DART STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND STAFF

    EVENT UPDATE: The Department regrets that the ongoing Brock University COVID-19 mitigation strategy requires that we pause our planned event: WCL Audition and Casting Workshop, with Kimberley Rampersad and Marcel Stewart, originally scheduled for Nov 28, 2021 and rescheduled for January 23, 2022. Please monitor your emails for forthcoming information about the learning, research, and presentations we will continue in our series on Transformation and Adaptation in Theatre Pedagogy and Training.

    Event Information:

    In this day-long event, Kimberley Rampersad and Marcel Stewart will lead workshops in equitable and safe audition and casting processes.The event is open to current DART students, faculty, and staff who have the option to attend as observers or as active participants in a mock-audition process.

    Those who wish to actively participate by auditioning are asked to have a two-minute monologue prepared. If there are more people wanting to audition than we have time to accommodate, we will draw names for those who will audition.

    Kimberley Rampersad is an actor, choreographer, director, and associate artistic director of the Shaw Festival.
    Marcel Stewart is an actor, writer, director, and arts educator.

    Registration closes Friday, Nov. 19

    REGISTER HERE: https://forms.office.com/r/MB1S7LNQNy

    This event is part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leaders series “Transformation and Adaptation in Theatre Pedagogy and Training” presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts.

     

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  • BIPOC theatre leaders to discuss new industry approaches at Brock event

    Theatre leaders participating in the upcoming Brock discussion panel include (top row, from left) Haui, Carmen Alatorre, (centre, from left) Shanna Miller, Samantha McCue, Wladimiro A. Woyno R., (bottom row, from left) Giselle Clarke-Trenaman and Kat Chin.

    Originally published in The Brock News Wednesday, | NOVEMBER 10, 2021 | by 

    Prominent Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) Canadian theatre production and design professionals will come together to discuss recent experiences in their fields and new strategies in production at an upcoming Brock University digital panel.

    This is the second event presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART)  in a new series as part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series (WCL Series), “Transformation and Adaptation in Theatre Pedagogy and Training.” The series is organized by DART Professors Karen Fricker and David Vivian with longtime instructor Carolyn Mackenzie.

    “Industry Panel with BIPOC Canadian Theatre Artists” will take place Monday, Nov. 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Zoom. The Brock and wider community are invited to attend and asked to register ahead of time on the Zoom registration page.

    Moderating the panel is Giselle Clarke-Trenaman, Production Co-ordinator at Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver and creator of Black History Matters, an educational program addressing gaps in Black history in elementary schools.

    Panelists include Haui, a mixed media director and designer working in theatre, opera and film; Samantha McCue, an Anishinaabekwe and Ned’u’ten theatre professional based in Ottawa; Carmen Alatorre, a Latinx artist and theatre designer based in Vancouver; Kat Chin, a Toronto-based stage manager who has worked across Canada, off-Broadway and at the Palace of Versailles; Shanna Miller, the Technical Director at Young Peoples Theatre; and Wladimiro A. Woyno R., a live performance designer and Assistant Professor of Theatre Production and Design at School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University.

    The panel will cover a range of topics, from how to bring more BIPOC artists to the theatre industry and cultivate new audiences, to the use of technology and how the pandemic has affected the performing arts industry.

    “We’ve invited these important artists from diverse fields of Canadian theatre design and production to share their journeys of the past 20 months and to encourage our students with the vision and passion that informs their professional practice,” said Vivian.

    “Whether through the lens of anti-racism, decolonization, accessibility or the drive for professional and economic sustainability, this evening promises a vivid invitation to join progressive voices for change in live performance and theatre production in Canada.”

    The third and final event in the DART WCL series is a daylong Casting and Audition workshop on Sunday, Nov. 28 for DART students, staff and faculty. This closing event will be led by Kimberley Rampersad, actor, choreographer, director and Associate Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival; and Marcel Stewart, actor, writer, director and arts educator.

    To learn more, please visit the WCL Series website.

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