Announcements

  • Brock hosts 28th annual national CITT/ICTS RENDEZ-VOUS

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts of Brock University and the Meridian Centre extend a generous warm welcome to our professional colleagues, researchers, producers, specialist manufacturers, distributors, technicians and students from across the country for the:

    CITT/ICTS 28TH RENDEZ-VOUS ANNUAL CONFERENCE & TRADE SHOW

    CITT/ICTS holds an annual RENDEZ-VOUS every mid-August.The conference offers three days of sessions, workshops, backstage tours, trade show, social events and networking opportunities. The location varies from year to year to allow members from different regions of Canada to more easily attend.

    The Meridian Centre is located adjacent to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts of Brock University

    CITT/ICTS RENDEZ-VOUS 2018
    Annual Conference & Trade Show
    in St Catharines, ON
    at the Meridian Centre and the
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts (MIWSFPA)

    August 15 – 18, 2018
    Opening night: Wednesday, August 15
    Pre-conference: Tuesday August 14 to Wednesday August 15

    #citticts @CITTICTS

    on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CITTICTS
    website: www.citt.org/annual_conference

    STUDENT VOLUNTEER PROGRAM!
    Get INVOLVED
    Be CONNECTED
    Live the EXPERIENCE

    CITT/ICTS Annual Conference and Trade Show Rendez-vous has been held for over 25 years. During that time, student volunteers have played a key role in guaranteeing its success. Whether they assist in mounting the trade show, setting up the social events, or helping out at the registration desk, the student volunteers contribute in making our annual event a tremendous hit!

    During the conference, student volunteers are assigned various task, which includes setting up and tearing down the Trade Show, troubleshooting technical problems such AV projectors, sound equipment, etc. helping out with hospitality, giving a hand at the registration desk, and more… !

    for more information about the Student Volunteer Program

    CONFERENCE LEARNING opportunities include:

    2-day ETC Ion Xe Console Training
    CITT/ICTS along with the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), have arranged with ETC to hold a 2-day Ion Xe console training course prior to the CITT/ICTS Annual Conference and Trade Show. ETC’s Ion Xe lighting console provides simple and approachable programming and control for conventional systems as well as fully integrated lighting rigs. Join us to learn more about the features and functions of this amazing control system.

    ERD Certified Pyrotechnics Safety and Legal Awareness Course
    CITT/ICTS and AirMagic Special Effects are partnering to present a ERD Certified Pyrotechnics Safety and Legal Awareness Course with Mark Fine prior to the CITT/ICTS Rendez-vous 2018. Completion of the Pyrotechnics Safety and Legal Awareness Course is mandatory prior to certification as Pyrotechnician – Fireworks/Operator by ERD.

    Foliage – Past and Present Painting Techniques
    Jenny Knott from Rosco and Wendy Waszut-Barrett from Historic Stage Services LLC are returning to Rendez-vous for a third workshop, Foliage: Past and Present Painting Techniques.
    Explore a variety of painting techniques for foliage painting. Learn how to use historic techniques for contemporary applications, as well as some short cuts to make your job easier.

    for more information, registration and schedules

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future students, Visiting Artists

  • New for 2018: the Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award

    Beginning in 2018 the Executive of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will be awarding the Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award.

    This award will be made to an undergraduate student who is graduating from the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), Brock University; who is awarded, by vote of the Executive Committee of the MIWSPFA, the top prize for a piece of textile art produced and submitted by said student.

    As the award must be granted to a student for the purposes of his or her continuing education and or development, students must also submit an expression of their intention to continue this education and or development.

    For the purposes of this award, textile art is defined as a work of art that utilizes any and all forms of textiles, either natural or man-made, and in any form of original artistic expression.

    For the purposes of this award, continuing education or development is defined as any form of post graduate education and development which the student may wish to pursue whether at a college, university, by way of apprenticeship at a technical institute or at a research facility.

    For more information about Marilyn I. Walker see: brocku.ca/miwsfpa/marilyn-i-walker

    We thank Marilyn I. Walker and her estate for the legacy of her generosity.

    See the article about the first recipient of this award, Victoria Reid (Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Studio Art, With First-Class Standing, 2018).

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Future students, News

  • Dramatic Arts offers three-day lineup of events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Walker Cultural Leader Series brings leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University.

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

  • 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!

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, Visiting Artists

  • 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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Acting exercise helps prepare co-op students for workplace

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

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

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

    Dramatic Arts exercise in co-op class

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, News

  • 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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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, News, Visiting Artists

  • Brock community mourns longtime Dramatic Arts instructor

    (Source: The Brock NewsFriday, April 28, 2017 | by Dan Dakin)

    See below for information about the dedication of the theatre in Burlington.

    A woman who dedicated her life to teaching drama to students of all ages is being remembered by her colleagues, family and friends.

    Helen Zdriluk, who had been an instructor at Brock University for two decades, died Wednesday after a brief illness.

    “She was extremely dedicated to the power of drama in both teaching and performance,” said Professor Joe Norris, Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts. “She lived and breathed drama 24-7 when you consider she taught high school for many years during the day and then came here and taught at least two evenings a week. And she was running an after-school program.”

    Dramatic Arts Associate Professor and Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Director David Vivian said the whole school is saddened by the loss.

    “Longtime colleagues will remember Helen for her joyous and industrious leadership in Drama in Education and Applied Theatre, including her Connections projects in the old Studio theatre.”

    Norris said DART Connections was a group of education students who rehearsed and performed plays that dealt with social justice and education issues.

    Zdriluk taught drama at Burlington Central High School and was the owner and artistic director of Centre Stage Theatre School and Productions. In addition to teaching at Brock, she also completed her master’s at the University in 2010.

    The drama in education community has lost one of the most talented, dynamic and authentic educators and practitioners we have ever seen,” said former student Rox Chwaluk. “Helen was my mentor, my friend and colleague. She was fierce, hardworking, witty and passionate about her craft. She was instrumental in my education, provided me opportunities to ignite my passions, and solidified many of my values.”

    Zdriluk is survived by her husband Gerald and children Jennifer and Beth.

    A visitation will be held at Smith’s Funeral Home on Brant St. in Burlington Monday, May 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be held Tuesday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. Those wishing to make a donation in Helen’s memory are asked to consider the Canadian Cancer Society.

    We are sharing our memories below. If you have any memories you’d like to contribute, please share with us.


    Remembering Helen Zdriluk

    Reflections from Former Brock Students

    “I’ve heard it said
    That people come into our lives for a reason
    Bringing something we must learn
    And we are led
    To those who help us most to grow
    If we let them
    And we help them in return
    Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
    But I know I’m who I am today
    Because I knew you…
    Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
    But because I knew you
    I have been changed for good.” — For Good, Wicked

     

    Most of us met Helen Zdriluk in a classroom at Brock University, maybe ST103, ST105 (affectionately called blue and black – as per the paint colour of the room). Maybe it was ST107 – that hallway with one random non-DART classroom. Once we met Helen — our former instructor, mentor, colleague and friend — we were forever changed. For good.

    Maybe it was by the smile emerging on her face at the end of a particularly interesting question she had just posed to us, that she knew we would need to think hard about before answering. Or the simple, embedded image of her with her hands in her pockets, looking with calculation at our set because we remember that meant we knew she was going to suggest changes we would find annoying (wouldn’t it just be easier if we kept it the same?). And she wouldn’t exactly spare our feelings while delivering the news.

    “This needs work,” she would say in her blunt tone.

    Of course, we also remember, she always ended up being right about them and her directness was only because she cared so much about making us as good as we could be — and that we were infinitely glad we listened to her.

    Maybe it was how when you first met Helen, you could feel like you wanted to drop her class because it was too tough. But then she taught you to check your ego at the door and get past your insecurities, and then you realized you wanted to take all of Helen’s classes, because you wanted to learn — and learn from the best.

    That was Helen.

    Maybe it was when, for all of Helen’s demands on you to be the best student you could be, you suddenly realized that she had even higher ideals.

    That if your mother was suddenly rushed to the hospital and the rest of your family wasn’t nearby, and you were worried about missing a dress rehearsal for a major project because Helen had taught you not to let the group down — and you hated the idea of letting Helen down, the blunt directions would suddenly disappear.

    Instead you’d feel the comfort of her hug that would help ease your tears, as she told you to go home and take care of your family.

    “In that moment, I remember feeling this overwhelming peace come over me,” said Karen McDonald, who still remembers the impact of that hug years later. “I needed that hug, but I didn’t realize it until I got it.

    “That’s who Helen was. She always knew exactly what her students needed even before we did.”

    Helen taught many of us for 3-5 hour-long classes, once a week, usually on a Thursday. We’d learn as the weeks passed by that Helen was determined, passionate, driven, hardworking, creative, supportive, a force, patient, witty, caring, and saucy (in the best way possible).

    We would hear from fellow classmates about the amazing courses she was teaching: Community Theatre (3P07 or 3F77), Children’s Theatre (3P06 or 3F66/3F92), Musical Theatre (3F98), and Production (DART 2P70). These are course codes that we can still remember because they are not numbers to us, but experiences that have shaped us into who we are.

    Some of us had to beg the administration to be in Helen’s classes because they were so popular, and Helen had to request to have more students in her classes. Helen always advocated for us — for our work, for our marks, and for ourselves. Helen saw the potential in all of her students and helped them to see the potential in themselves.

    Her classroom was a place of magic. A place where we would take off our shoes, literally, but also a place where we could ground ourselves, tell stories, and make meaning of our world. Helen believed that theatre was an integral part of every community, and that it was the best way to tell the hardest stories. Stories that no one wanted to hear because they made you uncomfortable, but Helen believed that the best work came from being uncomfortable.

    Helen legitimized what many of us felt — she showed us that “drama” wasn’t just Shakespeare or watching people perform; it could be a tool to teach; a vehicle to work with and within communities; a transformative power for actors and audiences.

    She always asked us “What’s the point?” Helen instilled a sense of purpose that allowed us to balance the process of a production and the result. While she had high standards for the final product — “I’m not putting (garbage) on stage. I would rather cancel the show than put (garbage) on stage” — she had the same low tolerance for people who thought their talent or hard work gave them license to be difficult during the process.

    She was unbelievably smart, passionate and dedicated not only to Dramatic Arts but to sharing that passion through education in the most meaningful ways possible. She wanted to make the world a better place and she wanted to do that through drama — using it as a tool to help people express themselves in the comfort of a character but that allowed them to share their thoughts, fears and insecurities.

    She was fierce, she was sassy, and above all she was passionate about ensuring that the arts continued to be developed and encouraged in the school system and she would put no limitations on pursuing that goal.

    But there was more to Helen than the classroom. Helen was always so busy, always doing something. She barely had time for herself. In between classes, on her break, you would usually see her having a Diet Coke and an egg salad sandwich (which usually one of us picked up for her, as she was too busy supporting students). As a part-time instructor, Helen was also involved in many co-curricular activities, including Brock Connections, a club on campus that focused on using theatre as a tool for education about various social issues.

    As our faculty advisor, she produced and directed The Laramie Project (2007-2008), Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (2008-2009), Bhopal (2009-2010), Shatter (2010-2011), and Colours in the Storm (2011-2012). We learned about social, and historical issues and were able to take these shows into the Niagara community.

    Helen was our rock. Many of us owe pretty much everything that we have done, and who we have become to Helen. For aspiring teachers, she was the type of teacher that we wanted to be. She had a way of identifying our most triumphant strengths and limiting weaknesses with grace and compassion. She was able to genuinely inspire growth in us because of her keen awareness of them.

    She always knew exactly what her students needed, often even before we did. She supported us in our low points, and celebrated with us in our highs. If she thought you could do better work, she let you know, she challenged you.

    But even when she was dishing out tough love, she followed it up with a smile, and a healthy dose of encouragement. She took the time to get to know each of us personally, to understand our goals, and then to find or create a way to connect us to the community so that we could achieve them.

    Helen never doubted us for a second. She was quick to give us advice, but we think the most important advice she gave us was that we were fully capable and that she knew we had the skills to put on a great show. We felt her acceptance for all of us as individuals, especially for all of our unique talents and experiences. That was one of the most beautiful things about Helen, her ability to see beyond a student’s cover and see what they could be.

    She pushed and she challenged, she called you out when you needed it and she made you a better team member because of it. The belief and trust she had in us when we doubted ourselves is one of the most important lessons we learned from her, and every day we try to put that same belief and trust into those around us.

    Most of us think about Helen often in our daily lives. Many of us have gone on to teaching careers. We thank Helen for the opportunities we were given in our program. Many of the skills and teaching methods we use were learned directly through her.

    The Drama in Education Community has lost one of the most talented, dynamic, and authentic educators and practitioners we have ever seen. There is a sense of sadness to know that so many future educators will not have the opportunity to learn through Helen, but there is some comfort in knowing her methods and teachings will be passed on to the next generation through all of us.

    She built herself an army of her endearing students to go out into the world and provide arts education by any means necessary, and that is the legacy that she leaves behind her.

    But as they say, the show must go on. And Helen is sitting front row, smiling.

    “She was a force, and how could a force like that be stopped? The answer is that it can’t,” Rebecca Durance Hine said. “What she accomplished in her life, the lives she touched, the people she changed, all of that will continue in her place. She will never, ever be forgotten, and the effects of her life will continue to be seen for a very long time.

    “You are wonderful Helen, simply wonderful, and I hope that you rest in peace knowing the difference your life made in the lives of so many.”

    “The greatness of a teacher can be measured not by what someone can achieve, but by what they thought they couldn’t achieve.” — Helen Zdriluk

    Article contributors:

    Brandon Pachan
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Drama in Education, 2011; Bachelor of Education, 2012

    Celine Allen
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Applied Theatre, 2011.

    Connie McDougall
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Drama in Education (2008-2013)

    Dorothy Kane
    Bachelor of Science (Honours) Biological Sciences, With First-Class Standing, Minor in Dramatic Arts, 2012; Bachelor of Education, 2012

    Jayne Laari
    Bachelor of Arts (3 Year) in General Studies, 2010

    Jess Straus
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Child and Youth Studies and Psychology, 2011

    Jordan Tucker
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Integrated Studies, With First-Class Standing, Minor in English Language and Literature, 2012; Bachelor of Education, 2012

    Kaitlyn Welch
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, 2010; Bachelor of Education, 2011

    Kanthan Annalingam
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Performance, 2013

    Karen McDonald
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Drama in Education and Society Stream, 2012

    Katherine Gottli
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, 2010
    Master of Education, Teaching, Learning and Development, 2013

    Kathy Cavaleri
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, 2012; Bachelor of Education, 2013

    Lescia Poppe
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, Concentration in Drama in Education, 2012; Bachelor of Education, 2013

    Matt DaCosta
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Drama in Education, 2012; Bachelor of Education, 2013

    Meaghan Lugsdin
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, 2009; B Bachelor of Education, 2010

    Meaghan McKeag
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Drama in Education, 2013

    Patrick Monaghan
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Drama in Education and Society Stream, 2011; Bachelor of Education, 2012

    Rachael Bason (Verschoor)
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, Concentration in Drama in Education (Co-op Option), Minor in History, 2013;
    Bachelor of Education, 2014

    Rebecca Durance Hine
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, Drama in Education and Society Stream, 2010; Bachelor of Education, 2014

    Rox Chwaluk
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, Drama In Education and Society Stream, 2009; Bachelor of Education, 2010; Master of Education, Social and Cultural Contexts of Education, 2013

    Whitney Shantz (Lee)
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, 2011; Bachelor of Education, 2011


    Notice of the dedication of a theatre in honour of our departed Department of Dramatic Arts colleague, Helen Zdriluk:

    Burlington, Thursday October 05, 2017

    Dear Friends, Colleagues, Alumni and Family
    It has now been several months since the passing of Helen Zdriluk, an educational icon whose loss continues to weigh heavily on all of our hearts. However, due in no small part to her unparalleled commitment to Burlington Central and the Arts, I am happy to say that Helen’s memory and influence continues to reverberate in our great building, helping to inspire future
    generations of students at BCHS.

    Now you may already be aware that over the last few months many groups have rallied to pay tribute to Helen’s legacy in a variety of ways , including the creation of the Helen Zdriluk Memorial Fund for the Performing Arts, which will be
    administered by the Burlington Community Foundation.

    Well through some of those discussions another idea began to take root and with the support and blessing of Helen’s
    Family, we at Central could think of no tribute more fitting than the renaming of the auditorium to the Helen Zdriluk Memorial Theatre.

    With that process now complete we would like to cordially invite you to share in the honour of officially dedicating the theatre in Helen’s name (details below).

    Helen Zdriluk Memorial Theatre Dedication Ceremony
    Date: Thursday, October 5th, 2017
    Location: Burlington Central H.S. Auditorium (1433 Baldwin St.,
    Burlington)
    Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm (dedication at 7:15pm, social to follow)
    Please RSVP to Lynn Jones if you plan to attend.
    (phone:905-634-7768 or email:jonesly@hdsb.ca )

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