In the Media

  • Dramatic Arts student in the news: Students build skills, community during Alternative Reading Week

    (Source: The Brock NewsWednesday, March 18, 2015 | by . Photo: A crew of Brock staff and students travelled to South Carolina during reading week to build a house with Habitat for Humanity.)

    Like many other students come Reading Week, Aaron Drake hopped a plane to an exotic locale. But the first year dramatic arts and education student didn’t kick back and relax when he arrived.

    Drake was one of several Brock students who travelled to El Salvador with Habitat for Humanity to build sidewalks and tamp dirt floors in houses. The experience gave him new perspective, he said.

    “By encouraging myself to continue broadening my understanding of community, I have learned that a world where everyone has a decent home is possible,” Drake said. “It’s about a hand-up, not a hand-out, and when we move beyond the barriers that hold us back, we will find those waiting with open arms.”

    The excursion was part of Student Life and Community Experience’s fifth annual Alternative Reading Week program. This year, 110 Brock staff and students gave up the opportunity to catch up on sleep or studying to volunteer locally or abroad.

    el-salvador-2015-dirt-arrival-300x199

    Brock students helped build sidewalks and tamp floors in houses in El Salvador during Alternative Reading Week.

    Students also joined Habitat for Humanity in South Carolina, where they built a single-story home. Others travelled to Dominican Republic to teach English and lead children’s activities in partnership with Outreach360.

    At home, participants volunteered with Start Me Up Niagara, Lincoln County Humane Society, Heartland Forest, Job Gym/John Howard Society, and the Learning Disabilities Association of Niagara.

    Students were challenged to learn new skills while bettering their community and the lives of others. By the end of the week, staff and students logged 4,100 volunteer hours.

    Jamieson Carr, who joined Drake in El Salvador, would do it all again, if given the opportunity.

    “It’s an incredible experience where you get to witness the impact you can have while serving others,” the first-year accounting student said.

    “Travelling with Brock was an incredible experience,” added kinesiology student Haley Gourley, who went to South Carolina. “I met some amazing people that I never would have gotten the chance to meet otherwise, challenging myself in learning new skills. It was a journey of a lifetime. If you like fried chicken, you’ll love this opportunity even more.”

    Amber Scholtens, a Student Life staff member, led the South Carolina trip. She marvelled at the work Brock students put into the build.

    “Everyone worked hard, with such a positive, genuine attitude and willingness to learn. It was truly an incredible display of what the University is all about and what it means to be a Badger,” Scholtens said. “Witnessing the impact we had on the community and the impact the overall experience had on everyone was amazing.”

    To learn more about students’ experiences during Alternative Reading Week, bring your lunch and join the Service-Learning lunch conversation on Thursday, March 19 from noon to 1 p.m. in TH253.

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    Categories: Current Students, In the Media, News

  • Music and Dramatic Arts collaborate with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra

    The Niagara Symphony Orchestra on the stage of the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre of the Centre for the Arts at Brock University. Pictured below are Elizabeth Pereira, Virginia Reh and Evan Mulrooney.

    Many Canadian orchestras have brought Classical Kids’ Beethoven Lives Upstairs program to their stages over the years, but the Niagara Symphony has brought a fresh new approach to this classic event. Brock Dramatic Arts student Elizabeth Pereira and alumnus Evan Mulrooney will play the roles of Christoph and the Uncle respectively, in performance with the Niagara Symphony (led by music director Bradley Thachuk) in April 2015.  They earned the roles through competitive auditions at the school, and will be directed by Brock Professor of Drama Virginia Reh.

    It’s part of a many-faceted partnership between the NSA and the university.  The Niagara Symphony is Orchestra in Residence at Brock University, NSO concert notes are prepared by Brock Music Department faculty member Dr. Brian E. Power, the NSO participates in the Community Arts Partnership with the Brock Department of Music, Brock Music Ed Plus ensembles are featured in as part of Spotlight On!, Music Ed Plus students mentor and volunteer at Summer Music Camp, Brock faculty members coach, and adjudicate practice auditions, for students in The Academy @ SMC, NSO musicians Laura Thomas, Brent Adams, Gordon Cleland, Steve Fralick, Zoltan Kalman, Vera Alexeeva and Patricia Dydnansky are on faculty with the Brock Department of Music, and the NSO offers special PSSTnso (post secondary student ticket) pricing for university students.

    from the article posted September 17 in the Orchestra NewsWeekly Newsletter
    at http://orchestrascanada.org/2014/09/17/new-partnership-for-the-niagara-symphony/

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, Events, In the Media, News

  • Brock community event looks at theatre criticism in the digital age

    (Source: The Brock News, Monday, February 10, 2014)

    An upcoming series of community discussions at Brock University later this month will debate the question: is everyone a critic?

    Media professionals, theatre experts, scholars and students will assemble in Sankey Chamber at Brock Feb. 21 and Feb. 22 to take part in the colloquium, The Changing Face of Theatre Criticism in the Digital Age, hosted by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    “The rise of blogging and Twitter, combined with the decline of print journalism, is raising important questions about what counts as legitimate, professional criticism,” says Karen Fricker, event co-ordinator and a professor of dramatic arts. “Our discussions will focus on the current critical scene in Niagara, as well as imagining possible futures for the arts in our community.”

    Panel members include two of Toronto’s most influential theatre critics: J. Kelly Nestruck of The Globe and Mail and Richard Ouzounian of the Toronto Star. Others include local figures like Jackie Maxwell, artistic director of the Shaw Festival, and Steve Solski, director of the St. Catharines Centre for the Performing Arts.

    The colloquium will also feature international critics: Jill Dolan, Princeton University professor and noted theatre blogger (thefeministspectator.com); Maddy Costa, a London, England blogger and journalist; and Andy Horwitz, founder of New York arts blog culturebot.net

    Dolan is visiting Brock as part of the Walker Cultural Leaders series. While here, she will deliver a public lecture, “Moving the Body Politic: How Feminism and Theatre Inspire Social Re-imaginings.” Her lecture, co-sponsored by the Department of Dramatic Arts and Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock, takes place Friday, Feb. 21, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, also in Sankey Chamber.

    All of these events are free and open to the public.

    Funding for these events is provided by the Walker Cultural Leaders Series, the Brock Humanities Research Institute and the SSHRC Institutional Grant scheme, and the St. Catharines Performing Arts Centre.

    All events will be live-streamed.  [Click on “live video”]

    SCHEDULE: The Changing Face of Theatre Criticism in the Digital Age

    All events take place in Sankey Chamber at Brock University

    FRIDAY, FEB. 21:

    * 2 – 2:30 p.m.: Welcome
    Presentation by Brock dramatic arts students from the third-year class, Studies in Praxis – Theatre Criticism

    * 2:30 – 4 p.m.: Panel discussion “Critics and the arts in Niagara”

    • Jill Dolan (respondent)
    • Monica Dufault, artistic director, Essential Collective Theatre
    • David Fancy, associate professor of Dramatic Arts, Brock University, co-artistic director, neXt Company Theatre (chair)
    • John Law, arts and entertainment writer, Sun Media
    • Sara Palmieri, co-founder, In the Soil Festival
    • Stephen Remus, minister of energy, minds, and resources, Niagara Arts Centre
    • Steve Solski, director, St. Catharines Centre for the Performing Arts
    • Candice Turner-Smith, managing director, Niagara Symphony Orchestra

    * 4:15 – 5:45 p.m.: Panel discussion “Embedded criticism: a new way forward, or criticism-as-PR?”

    • Maddy Costa, critic and blogger
    • Karen Fricker
    • Andy Horwitz, founder, culturebot.org
    • Jackie Maxwell, artistic director, Shaw Festival
    • Jacob Gallagher-Ross, assistant professor of theatre, University of Buffalo (respondent)
    • Lawrence Switzky, assistant professor of Drama, University of Toronto at Mississauga (chair)

    SATURDAY, FEB. 22:

    * 10 – 10:30 a.m.: Welcome
    Presentation by Brock dramatic arts students from the third-year class, Studies in Praxis – Theatre Criticism

    * 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon: Panel discussion “Bloggers, critics, and cultural legitimation”

    • Jill Dolan
    • Karen Fricker (chair)
    • Andy Horwitz (respondent)
    • J. Kelly Nestruck, lead theatre critic, The Globe and Mail
    • Richard Ouzounian, lead theatre critic, Toronto Star
    • Holger Syme, chair, Department of English and Drama, University of Toronto at Mississauga, and blogger (disposito.net)
    • Odette Yazbeck, director of public relations, Shaw Festival

    * 12:15 – 1 p.m.: Colloquium wrap-up

    • Maddy Costa; Jill Dolan; Karen Fricker (chair); Rosemary Drage Hale, director of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Brock University; and Andy Horwitz

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, In the Media, News

  • Powwow held on Campus Sept.7

    Adrienne Smoke. Photo By: DK Martin

    Adrienne Smoke. Photo By: DK Martin

    (Source: The Brock NewsMonday, August 27, 2012 | by )

    Students, staff and Niagara residents were invited to start their school year off to the beat of a different drum.

    The Student Justice Centre hosted a powwow on Friday, Sept. 7 in Jubilee Court to celebrate the fall harvest in partnership with the Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and EducationAboriginal Student Services and Brock University Students’ Union.

    The event featured inter-tribal drumming and dance demonstrations, and opportunities for audience members to participate in traditional dancing.

    “It’s a gathering to celebrate life and be thankful as well as to hang out with old friends and make new ones,” said Adrienne Smoke, a third-year drama student, who came up with the idea for the event. “Powwows are about sharing our culture to help educate people about the current native people not the ancient ones we read about in old outdated textbooks.”

    This free event also featured a barbecue, vegetarian options and samples of traditional food, such as three sisters soup, corn bread and strawberry juice. The Brock farmers market was also held during the powwow.

    Doors opened at 10 a.m. with the grand entry happening at noon. Closing ceremonies were at 3:30 p.m.

    For more information or to participate as a dancer, drummer or vendor, email the Student Justice Centre, visit them online or call 905-688-5550, ext. 6325.

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    Categories: Current Students, In the Media, News

  • Incoming DART professor reports about the Eurovision Contest from Baku, Azerbaijan

    karenfrickerA spotlight is shining on Azerbaijan this May as it hosts Eurovision, the annual European song contest known for its outlandish performances, and viewed on TV by more than 100 million people. But it’s not all glitz this year. While Azerbaijan attempts to show off its strength to the world, it’s also come under scrutiny by activist groups for its unsavoury human rights record, and its crackdown on anti-government protestors and journalists leading up to the contest.

    Karen Fricker is co-founder of the Eurovision and ‘New’ Europe academic research network who is covering the contest for the Irish Times. She recently reported on what these negative reports mean for the Eurovision Contest and Azerbaijan for the program Q hosted by Jian Ghomeshi on CBC Radio. She is a lecturer in contemporary theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London and deputy London theatre critic for Variety.  You can read more about her research activities in her profile at Royal Holloway. We are delighted that she will be joining her new colleagues at the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University in January 2013.

    You can listen to the report here or here. (22:44)

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Dramatic Arts performance of Phèdre examines passion, politics and jealousy

    (Source: The Brock News, Monday, February 14, 2011)

    Suppressed desire and ancient power struggles collide in this week’s production of Phèdre at Brock.

    Phèdre, written by Jean Racine, will be presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre. Phèdre – translated into English by British poet Ted Hughes – mixes poetry, political intrigue and sexual jealousy.

    The play contains a principal love triangle of Phèdre, her husband Theseus and his son Hippolytus. Phèdre has a forbidden passion for her stepson that unleashes a wave of tragic consequences.

    The roles are played by Dramatic Arts undergraduate students, including Kasey Dunn, Michael Pearson, Eric Frank, Emma Bulpin, Lauren Beaton, Josh Davidson, Kedie McIntyre, and Madison Roca. The play is directed by Virginia Reh and designed by David Vivian, both Dramatic Arts faculty members.

    The myths around Theseus, Phaedra and Hippolytus have fascinated playwrights for ages, Reh said.

    “Racine’s masterpiece distils the best of his major sources, particularly Euripides’ Hippolytus,” she said. “From Euripides he borrows the fundamentally principled Phaedra, an essentially moral woman who is tormented by a forbidden passion and chooses to die rather than surrender to it. The tragedy is at once epic and domestic.“

    Performances:

    • Thursday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m.
    • Friday, Feb. 18, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.

    Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. To order, call 905-688-5550 x3257 or email boxoffice@brocku.ca

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    Categories: In the Media, News

  • Professor studies dark tourism

    (Source: The Brock News. Thursday, September 9, 2010)

    Imagine a tourism experience where you pay to spend hours pretending to illegally cross the American border from Mexico.

    You trudge through muddy fields under the blare of gunfire. You run exhausted through sewer tunnels. You are placed, scared and blindfolded, in the back of a truck, only to end up where you started — at a restaurant, gift shop and main office, and people telling you to enjoy your stay.

    This is the new trend in post-9/11 dark tourism, a term that describes the act of visiting the sites of tragedies as a tourist. This experience is called immersive simulation, and Natalie Alvarez, assistant professor of Dramatic Arts, is writing a book about it.

    Alvarez has received $23,449 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for her research project, “Enactments of difference: immersive simulations and performance from training to dark tourism.” Alvarez will study two types of immersive simulation: that experienced by tourists, and that experienced by soldiers who train in increasingly popular model villages to prepare them for overseas interaction with foreign cultures. Included in that is investigating how performance techniques are used in counterterrorism and intelligence training.

    One dark tourism experience Alvarez will study is that of El Alberto, Mexico, where the community has been depleted by immigration to the U.S. Mexicans pay $20 (U.S.) each to be taken on an overnight fake U.S. border crossing. Ironically, the popularity of the adventure tourism has rejuvenated the town’s economy. Alvarez has twice experienced the tour, which she describes as frightening and surprisingly political, given that it’s billed as adventure tourism.

    “It started with a rousing speech by members of the community about how the work is an homage to those who lost their lives crossing the border,” she said. “We sang the Mexican anthem, followed by the sounds of sirens in the distance of the U.S. border patrol and shouts telling us to start running.”

    Other examples include a recreated Stalin-era Gulag prison camp in Lithuania, where people pay to spend a day as prisoners. In Liepaja, Latvia, tourists stay overnight in a naval jail.

    Alvarez will also visit simulated villages used to train soldiers for duties in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is a recreated Afghani village in Norfolk, England, and simulated Iraqi villages in California and Arizona, where actors are recruited to play insurgents and civilians.

    Demand for these simulations has skyrocketed since 9/11, she said.

    “A lot of performance scholars and performance artists talk about the border hysteria and the kind of war on difference that evolved from 9/11,” she said. “There seems to be a desire to rehearse encounters with the cultural ‘other’. I want to know what kind of anxieties are being played out in these scenarios.”

    While on the surface, immersive dark tourism and immersive military simulation seem unrelated, “there are intersecting themes that make them worth putting together in conversation,” she said.

    Alvarez will spend the next two years traveling and observing these simulations, followed by a year of writing.

    Alvarez, who is cross-appointed to Liberal Arts, joined Brock in 2006. She currently serves as a co-editor of the Canadian Theatre Review’s Views and Reviews and has two forthcoming edited books: Fronteras Vivientas, an anthology of Latina/o-Canadian plays, and New Essays on Latina/o-Canadian Theatre and Performance. Both are published by Playwrights Canada Press.

    Links:
    • Natalie Alvarez faculty page
    • Full list of Brock’s SSHRC recipients
    • Past “researcher of the month” profiles

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • DART student produces “Curtains” at the Westside Theatre in Hamilton

    “Elisa Sorbara, the artistic director of Shooting Star Theatre, is a very bright and articulate young woman. She is very excited about the imminent local premiere of the musical Curtains, which opens next week at the Westside Theatre.” . . . see the article about this DART student and her exciting project in VIEW.

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, In the Media, News

  • DART student Unicycling for a spot on Letterman

     

    Alex Kazam on his unicycle. A still from the video available at the St. Catharines Standard web article

    (Source: The St. Catharines Standard, Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | Don Fraser)

    By riding his unicycle to New York City, Alex Kazam hopes to peddle his act on David Letterman’s show.

    Kazam – a comedy magician from St. Catharines – has always taken his cue from the TV host’s barbed comedy style.

    “Ever since I was 10, I wanted to get on The Late Show with David Letterman,” said the 18-year-old, inside St. Catharines’ Johnny Rocco’s restaurant.

    “And I’ve always wanted to meet the guy. He’s a pop culture icon and a huge inspiration.”

    Kazam is a Brock University drama student, as well as a unique entertainer at Niagara establishments like Boston Pizza and Johnny Rocco’s.

    He describes his act as, “I tell them a joke and then sneak something into my pocket.”

    The unicycle has been a passion through his teen years and helped expand his comic repertoire.

    “I was trying to come up with ways to get Letterman’s attention,” said the graduate of Ecole Secondaire Jean-Vanier in Welland.

    “Unfortunately, the best I could come up with was a unicycle ride.”

    Kazam’s assistant-friend, Chelsea Howard, is cycling alongside but on two wheels. The two left midday on Wednesday.

    “It’s new to me,” said the 17-year-old St. Francis Secondary School student before setting out. “I know I’m ready for it, but obviously there will be challenges.”

    Also along for the trip is Kazam’s beloved stuffed bear he calls Eddie the Teddy, who’ll be hitched to the magician’s back.

    “I’ve had him since I was born and I take him everywhere,” Kazam explains. “It’s all in the name of good spirit.”

    World Vision Canada also stands to benefit from the 600-km, one-wheeled sojourn.

    Kazam is raising money for the international relief and development organization on his site: www.tiny.cc/longride

    He said since he and Howard are in decent shape, no major physical preparation was needed for the pedestrian route that selected using Google Maps. However, he concedes the longest he’s unicycled before has been for 90 minutes. The ride to New York City could take six days.

    “It’s probably not a smart idea (to do this),” he conceded. “But then, I’m a little bit eccentric and crazy, so it’ll be fine.”

    As for snoozing arrangements on the trip, Kazam and Howard are counting on the goodwill of strangers. They are willing to crash almost anywhere – attics, porches, even under a truck.

    As his trip progresses, Kazam hopes media coverage will help him nail some airtime on Letterman’s long-running CBS comedy talk show.

    As for getting Letterman’s attention, “it’s people like you” who will help get it done, he said to a Standard reporter.

    “I’ve emailed (show producers) and tried to call it a stupid human trick,” he added, in reference to Letterman’s long-running gag. “I didn’t yet get any callbacks.”

    Johnny Rocco’s owner Tony Visca is wowed by Kazam’s chutzpa.

    Kazam performs at Rocco’s Niagara Falls location Friday evenings and St. Catharines on Saturdays.

    “It’s a great thing, I think it’s awesome,” Visca said. “I really hope he (raises) a lot of money and gets picked to go on Letterman.”

     

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, In the Media, News

  • Brides escape across Italy in Big Love

    Performers in Big Love include, from left: Sadie Isaak, Rebecca Durance-Hine, Jacqueline Costa. Photo credit: Bethany Scholl

    (Source: The Brock News. Friday, February 5, 2010)

    The age-old story of love versus power is the focus of the upcoming Brock production Big Love.

    The play tells the story of 50 brides (all sisters) who flee arranged marriages to 50 grooms (their cousins) who pursue them across Italy. A contemporary look at Aeschylus’s Greek tragedy The Suppliant Women, the play will be performed by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on Feb. 11 to 13.

    In Big Love, three of the runaway brides seek asylum in an Italian family’s villa. Their hosts are unable to negotiate the moral predicament and allow the forced marriages, so the brides make a pact to kill their husbands on their wedding night.

    “I am drawn to the play because it has the scale of a Greek tragedy, but it is dressed in the global culture of today,” said Gyllian Raby, director and associate professor in Dramatic Arts. “(Playwright Charles) Mee invites a wild post-modern performativity, but his story is so deeply sourced in western culture that it is very accessible.”

    Karyn McCallum designed the set. The choreography is from Gemini-nominated director Allen Kaeja.

    Performers are from the Dramatic Arts undergraduate performance concentration. They include Rebecca Durance-Hine, Jacqueline Costa, Sadie Isaak, Rob MacMenamin, Corey Mehlenbacher, Trevor Ketcheson, Jen Bender, Chris Boyle, Michael Pearson, Eric Frank, Dylan Mawson and Kasey Dunn.

    Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students.

    Performances:
    Thursday, Feb. 11 – 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, Feb. 12 – 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, Feb. 13 – 7:30 p.m.

    To order tickets:
    Centre for the Arts box office
    905-688-5550 x3257
    boxoffice@brocku.ca

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