• Congratulations to 2013 SSHRC award recipient and Dramatic Arts graduate, Erica Charles

    Erica Charles seen with her father at the recent Faculty of Humanities Convocation on June 11, 2013.

    Erica Charles seen with her father at the recent Faculty of Humanities Convocation on June 11, 2013.

    Published on June 22 2013

    The Department extends its hearty congratulations to 2013 SSHRC award recipient and Dramatic Arts graduate, Erica Charles.  Erica was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Award: Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship — Master’s for her work “The voice in phenomenology and semiotic theory.”

    Erica is one of 31 Brock graduate students who received a share of $975,000 of funding under SSHRC’s Talent Program, designed to give master’s and doctoral students a boost.

    Most of these students, including Erica, received funding under SSHRC’s Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s category. The remainder had grants under two doctoral categories.

    “Graduate students are involved in outstanding research that matters in so many ways to people of all ages living in our closest neighbourhoods, in communities around Canada, and in the far reaches of the world,” says Mike Plyley, Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies.

    “We are very proud of the success of our students in these highly competitive awards. This is a measure of excellence and recognition of the scope and calibre of work that our students pursue as they create their distinct identities as the researchers, scholars, and leaders of tomorrow.”

    Erica was recently seen performing in An Acre of Time by Jason Sherman, Studio Theatre, and The Blue Room by David Hare, Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, both productions of the Department of Dramatic Arts of the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University. She will be seen on the stages of the Toronto and Hamilton Fringe Festivals in Fulcrum Theatre’s production of HERE.  A multimedia dance-theatre piece from the company that won Best of Hamilton Fringe in 2012, HERE examines the notions of being stuck and learning when to say goodbye to something you love.

    View the complete list of grant recipients and their research.

    (With notes from: 31 Brock grad students receive SSHRC scholarships, posted by tmayer on Jun 18th, 2013.)

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  • Dramatic Arts graduate speaks to future theatre makers

    spencer-spoonAt the second Dramatic Arts Invitational for 2013 graduate Spencer Charles Smith inspired the 60 applicants with a short presentation about his professional development since he first enrolled at Brock in 2007. After graduating from Brock University’s Dramatic Arts program in 2011, he went on to complete a MA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (specializing in queer performance) at the Center for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Spencer is now a playwright, performer, dramaturge and Artistic Director of the queer theatre company, Straight Camp. Theatre credits include: Breath in Between (Crow’s Theatre/SummerWorks 2012), Spoon: A Queer Play (Straight Camp), Still Life (lemonTree creations/SummerWorks 2011), among others. Spencer is also co-owner of the famous Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto.

    Spencer concluded his presentation with inspiring advice for the new Brock students:

    1. Always say ‘Yes.’
    You never know what will come from a job. You never know who’s watching and who’s looking for someone new to collaborate with on future projects. One job almost always leads to the next. Keep busy.

    2. Take advantage of your resources and fail.
    Theatre school offers you free rehearsal space, a free theatre and a team of people who all want you to learn and grow. Take risks, play and don’t be afraid to fail. This is where you will discover your strengths, your weaknesses and your obsessions.

    3. See theatre.
    The only way you will ever realize theatre’s emotional, intellectual and creative potential is if you experience it first hand. Let it expand your imagination and inspire you to recreate it, deconstruct it, or refine it.

    4. Don’t burn bridges.
    The theatre community is very small and we need to support each other. We need to keep the dialogue going because art is meant to spark conversation. Find at least one positive in everything you see. Plus, you never know who will be on the other side of that audition table.

    5. Make your own opportunities.
    Don’t wait around for someone to offer you a job. Keep writing. Keep creating. Maintain your momentum. People respect passion, ambition and drive. I repeat: Keep busy.

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  • Our Grad, Julia Course – break-a-leg!

    shaw_ourbetters_webgallery_8DART Alumna Julia Course was recently given a nod by J. Kelly Nestruck in the The Globe and Mail for her role in one of “6 can’t-miss stage productions for spring”.

    from the Globe and Mail, Wednesday, Apr. 17 2013:

    Our Betters, Shaw Festival

    The Shaw Festival is hoping some of the smell of Downton Abbey rubs off on its production of W. Somerset Maugham’s Our Betters, a 1923 comedy about rich American women trying to snag a British noble. Julia Course, a young company member who has turned heads in smaller parts in recent seasons, gets her first starring role in this production from acclaimed director/designer team Morris Panych and Ken MacDonald.

    Royal George Theatre, April 3-Oct. 27,

    You can see Julia interviewed and on stage in this short video available from PBS.

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  • DART graduate to receive the President’s Surgite Award

    DART alumna Roxolana (Rox) Chwaluk was recently selected to receive the President’s Surgite Award at her Masters degree convocation in the autumn of 2013.

    The President’s Surgite Award recognizes those students who have been outstanding in one or more of the following areas:

    • Demonstrated exemplary leadership in a student club, organization, association or team.
    • Did something exceptional that helped to advance Brock’s academic reputation.
    • Made a significant contribution to student life at Brock.
    • Provided a valuable service to Brock or the broader community.

    Rox remarked that “the foundation that I had as a DART (Dramatic Arts) student was essential to my success. I have always been grateful for the opportunities I was provided to engage with my peers and the community. The professors who inspired me also grounded my work.”

    Rox graduated with a BA Honours in Dramatic Arts First-Class Standing in 2009, her Bachelor of Education Preservice Education – Intermediate Senior in 2010, and will graduate with her Master of Education (Social and Cultural Contexts of Education) in the autumn of 2013.

    congratulations to you, Rox!

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  • Khalida: a play for the Arab Spring, opens in St. Catharines at the Sullivan-Mahoney Theatre

    khalida_12r15By Dr. Karen Fricker and staff

    The story told in Khalida, a new theatre production playing this week in St Catharines, might at first glance seem somewhat removed from the experience of many Canadians. Subtitled ‘a play for the Arab Spring’, it takes the form of the confession and testimony of Said, a man on the run from his native Middle Eastern country, which has become a battle zone.

    But the play’s origins couldn’t be more local: it springs from the friendship between author/director David Fancy, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts at Brock, and the Iraqi actor Addil Hussain, who received a BA in Dramatic Arts degree from Brock in 2006.

    ‘Addil was Saddam Hussein’s favourite actor,’ Fancy explains. ‘He fled Iraq during the first Gulf War and, after living as a refugee in Jordan for six or seven years, finally ended up in Canada. He did a degree in the Drama in Education and Society stream at Brock and became a Canadian citizen’. Audiences might remember Hussain’s performances in two of the three plays performed in An Arabian Trilogy, a departmental Mainstage production in 2006. In the third play he performed the role of the father in Leila Tatadaffah Bil Rasass. Mun Youaniquha? (By the Warmth of the Bullet that Kills) set in modern-day Baghdad and written by another Brock graduate Abbas Aldilami.

    Fancy says he wrote the play ‘for the express purpose of continuing a conversation with Addil, having witnessed the challenges that he experienced as an individual and as an artist finding a voice as a new Canadian.’ The play is being produced by neXt Company Theatre, of which Fancy is co-artistic director.

    While his friendship with Hussain offers fascinating insight into Khalida’s origins, Fancy believes an appreciation of the production does not rely on this backstory. ‘This is about a person somewhere in the world who has experienced difficulty and is using creativity to frame that and move beyond it,’ he explains.

    The role of Said is being played by Toronto-based actor Jason Jazrawy, whose father is from Iraq. Jazrawy calls Said ‘an Arabic Everyman who whom all ethnicities can relate’ and says he welcomes the opportunity to ‘portray an Arab as a positive role model for a change,’ having found himself often cast as a terrorist jihadi because of his heritage.

    Alongside Khalida, neXt Company Theatre has facilitated a community engagement project, The Arab Spring Monologues, which features 9-10 Niagarans, including four Brock students and recent graduates, writing about how the Arab Spring connects with their own experience or with the region.

    Students from across the DART concentrations – Applied Theatre and Drama in Education, Theatre Praxis, Performance, and Production and Design – will be attending the production. The production presents an excellent model for the Brock students’ creative investigations in writing and dramaturgy, performance, and production, as well as personal and social identities and citizenship, remarks the Chair or the Department, David Vivian.

    As for Addil Hussain, he returned to the Middle East in 2010, and is now working as an actor in Baghdad. Despite being half a world away, this production of Khalida is very much on his radar. Via Facebook, he sent this message to Fancy and his collaborators: ‘Khalida was just a wish, and an idea, then became reality… I’m fully confident that Khalida is in great hands, hands with a great level of professionalism. Break a leg!’
    Khalida plays at the Sullivan Mahoney Courthouse Theatre from 26 February-2 March. Tickets are available here. The Arab Spring Monologues play 5-7 pm on Saturday, March 2 at Robertson Hall, 85 Church Street, St. Catharines. Admission free; groups are requested to contact the company in advance here.

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  • Graduates of the Department of Dramatic Arts are on the boards again and this time they are playing IN THE SOIL.


    The Clockmaker by Stephen Massicotte

    April 27 @ 8:00pm and April 28 @ 2:00pm
    Sullivan Mahoney  Courthouse Theatre 101 King Street,  St Catharines

    Tickets: $10 at the door
    Festival pass: $25 through

    Nathan Tanner MacDonald – Director
    Geoffrey Heaney – Performer
    Dylan Mawson – Performer
    Michael Pearson – Performer
    Caitlin Popek – Performer
    Kate Hardy – Stage Manager
    Finn Archinuk – Designer

    Nathan Tanner Mac Donald – a resident of the St Catharines and recent graduate of the Department of Dramatic Arts – has brought together a company of DART students to present The Clockmaker by Stephen Massicotte.  A metaphysical rollercoaster, The Clockmaker may seem like little more than a love story set inside a murder-mystery-to-be, but it just might end up exposing the very truth of existence itself. The show will be performed April 27 @ 8:00pm and April 28 @ 2:00pm at the Sullivan Mahoney Courthouse Theatre in downtown St Catharines.

    Nathan recently performed in the 2011 STRUTT wearable art show and this past summer he wrote and directed Circus, which played at Factory Theatre in the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival. Nathan’s company includes graduates and Geoffrey Heaney, Dylan Mawson, Michael Pearson, Caitlin Popek as Performers, current student Kate Hardy as Stage Manager and graduate Finn Archinuk as the Designer.

    In the Soil Arts Festival brings Niagara artists from a range of disciplines together to provide unique audience experiences. The festival nurtures the creation of new work, showcases talent, encourages innovation, offers learning opportunities for youth and provides intimate and uncommon platforms for audiences to experience work by contemporary performing and literary artists, musicians and media artists. In the Soil is Niagara’s homegrown arts festival and is working to make a Niagara that is self-determining and culturally distinct.

    for more information see the IN THE SOIL website.

    Break-a-leg, Nathan, Caitlin, Dylan, Finn, Geoffrey, Kate and Michael!

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  • SHAW Summer Internship Program

    Robyn Cunningham, seen in one of her Tumblr vlogs

    Robyn Cunningham, seen in one of her Tumblr vlogs.

    Every year Brock’s emerging artists have an opportunity to intern with one of Canada’s most renowned theatre organizations, the Shaw Festival, for a six-week intensive learning experience. Early in the new year an application is offered to students who successfully complete DART 4P92 “Voice and Text of Bernard Shaw” as part of their final year of study. One deserving student is invited to polish their studies at DART by interning with professionals at the top of their game as they create productions for the Shaw Festival season.

    Graduating student Robyn Cunningham will be the Summer Intern at the Shaw Festival for 2012.  Under the guidance of Co-Artistic Director Eda Holmes, Robyn will experience an intense period of production rehearsal and development from first read through to season premieres.  Some of the shows Robyn will witness in development include The Millionairess and Present Laughter.  Robyn (seen below) will be regularly posting to her tumblr vlog across the six weeks – check in regularly and say ‘hi!’.


    Brock graduate Jacqueline Costa was the first DART Intern at the Shaw Festival in 2011. Jacqueline graduated with a BA (First Class Honors) in Brock University’s Theatre Stream with strong interests in both production and performance. While a student her success in theatre creative research and production was seen in the Brock main-stage performances like Charles Mee’s Big Love (2010) and Sharon Pollock’s Blood Relations (2010) and in her work as Departmental Technical Production Assistant and Research and Production Assistant to faculty.

    While at Shaw Jacqueline worked together with Lighting Design Director Kevin Lamotte and assisted with the development of his lighting designs for the 2011 performances of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Heartbreak House, where she also had the privilege of meeting directors Eda Holmes and Christopher Newton. Jacqueline attended various dress-tech rehearsals, show previews, read-throughs and clean-up calls. Jacqueline remarks that “it was interesting seeing lighting levels, lighting hangs, load in’s and changeovers for the shows on such a grand scale at the Shaw Festival.”

    During the remaining weeks, Jacqueline worked with Design Director William Schmuck, where she was able to preview other shows from the 2011 season such as Drama at Inish – A Comedy and My Fair Lady. She also witnessed the build of lighting level sets for Alan Brodie’s Admirable Crichton and Louise Guinard’s On The Rocks. In addition, Jacqueline toured to other Shaw facilities including the properties, scenic painting and carpentry shops and met with designers Sue Lepage, Charolette Dean and Christina Poddubiuk. Jacqueline comments, “in terms of being introduced to interesting members of the professional design/theatre community, this internship succeeded.”

    Working closely with the Shaw Festival, Brock’s Dramatic Arts Department aims to develop these programs, and many more, to it’s young emerging artists – offering them post-graduate opportunities to interact and network with the greater professional performing arts community.

    Also at the Shaw Festival this season are recent Department graduates working in various aspects of technical theatre production.  Anrita Petraroia (DART ’07) is back at the Festival this year, having helped out on a couple projects in Technical Direction last season. Chris Penney (DART ’08) has secured a regular season’s call in the audio department. Sadie Isaak (DART ’10) is now being trained to take over the Cobbler’s position in Production Wardrobe and will be joining the Wardrobe Running staff later in the season.

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  • DART Alumna Kate Trotter awarded Distinguished Alumni Prize for the Humanities

    kate-trotter-alt220Kate Trotter, a celebrated actress of theatre, cinema and television was presented with the “Distinguished Alumni Prize for the Humanities” on March 31, 2012 at Brock University.  Ms. Trotter graduated from Brock University with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Dramatic Literature, First-Class Standing, in 1975 and the National Theatre School of Canada in 1978.

    During the past 37 years Ms. Trotter has established an international reputation as a lead actress in film, television and stage production.  Roles in theatre have included significant work in both classics and modern pieces: she has performed in Canadian plays by Anne Chislett, Tmothy Findley,  David French, John Murell and Sharon Pollock among others as well as various Shakespeare, comic, tragic, and lyric theatre productions.  She has collaborated with Canadian luminaries such as Martha Henry, Bill Hutt, Brent Carver, Robin Phillips, Richard Monette, RH Thompson, Al  Waxman, Bill Shatner and Donald Sutherland.

    Roles in cinema include Marie Currie in Glory Enough for All, and working alongside actors such as Charles Bronson, Angelina Jolie, James Woods, the three Carradine brothers, Claire Bloom, Clive Owen, Gary Sineese, Whoopi Goldberg, Edward Woodward, Jon Voight and Sophia Loren, to name a few.

    Her numerous roles in television include Being Erica, The Murdoch Mysteries, The Jane Show and CSI.

    She has also directed for the National Film Board and for women in the director’s chair as well as for the stage.  Ms Trotter has taught Shakespeare at George Brown College, is co-founder of a program supporting kids at risk called youth and the law and for several years has been part of training programs for Canadian judges teaching communication skills in the courtroom.

    The “Distinguished Alumni Prize for the Humanities” was founded in 2002 to celebrate the achievements of Brock’s finest graduates. The award is conferred upon alumni who have made outstanding  contributions to their field of study and the larger Brock community, as both a scholar and role model.

    On March 30, 2012 from 7pm-9pm the Department of Dramatic Arts hosted a special event (studio location TBA) to introduce Ms Trotter to our current students and aspiring artists. All DART students and faculty were welcome to join the Department as we celebrate her success and raise a glass to toast this alumna of Brock Theatre.

    For more information see Ms Totter’s YouTube DEMO REEL or her entries in the Internet Movie Database and Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia (last updated 2009).

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  • DART graduates premiere new work from Theatre Beyond Words

    Theatre Beyond Words

    Theatre Beyond Words

    The Resident Theatre Company of Brock University Theatre Beyond Wordswill soon premiere the 2012 Edition of Tales from the Garden.  This brand-new Potato People show includes the characters Nancy Potato and friend George Beanstock entwined in hilarious escapades with industrious giant ants, a demanding trio of baby birds, a metamorphosizing caterpillar and a flash storm.

    Theatre Beyond Words was founded in 1977 and remains a pioneer in the development of mask and visual theatre in Canada.  The Potato People is a series of 13 non-verbal mask plays for family audiences with a unique style of visual storytelling that has inspired a generation of artists in physical theatre across the country and has won the hearts of audiences around the world.

    The comedy and adventure of this Theatre Beyond Words original creation comes from the collaboration of Jacqueline Costa (DART BA ’11), Katharine Dubois (DART BA ’05, BEd ’10), Caitlin English (DART BA ’09) and Carlene Thomas (DART BA ‘09, BEd ‘10). Brianne Lidstone (DART BA ‘15) is the lighting operator.  Jacqueline Costa also designed and built the production.

    Following four performances beginning March 23, 2012 at the Sullivan-Mahoney Courthouse Theatre in St. Catharines the company tours the show throughout Ontario.

    Theatre Beyond Words will be leading a three week-long intensive Introduction to Physical Theatre during the Spring session of 2012.  For more information contact

    Check out the trailer and sneak peak at
    For more information contact 905 468 7582  or

    Break-a-leg Theatre Beyond Words!

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  • DART graduate receives prestigious Erasmus Mundus scholarship

    Kasey Dunn in Phèdre. Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) in the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre. 2011.

    Kasey Dunn in Phèdre. Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre. 2011.

    Kasey Dunn (DART 2011), has been awarded the prestigious scholarship for the 2012-2013 Erasmus Mundus M.A. in International Performance Research programme. Upon completion, Kasey will receive three M.A.s from programs of study at University of  Amsterdam, University of Warwick, and the University of Arts in Belgrade. The scholarship has a value of 36,000 euro. (CAD $47, 500)

    Kasey  was previously awarded the Brock University Leaders Award, the Brock University President’s Award, the national Canadian Millennium Excellence Award, J.F. Harding Prize in Theatre, the Jane Forrest Prize in Drama, and the Gertrude Milner Award in Drama. She completed an outstanding Fourth Year Honours Thesis project on theories of  cognition and performance, with Professors Natalie Alvarez (Dramatic Arts) and Sid Segalowitz (Psychology) as supervisors. Kasey established the Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects Young Company in St. Catharines. In 2011 Kasey performed the lead role in the DART production of Racine’s Phèdre, pictured to the right.

    Kasey is following in the footsteps of Victoria Mountain (DART 2007) as the second DART graduate to receive this prestigious scholarship.

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