DART [Department] FAQ

We offer a four-year Honours Bachelor of Arts degree with concentrations in four different areas of study – Drama in Education and Applied Theatre, Performance, Production and Design, and Theatre Praxis. We also offer a four-year Honours BA without a specific concentration of study, and a three-year BA or pass degree. Non-majors can acquire a minor in Dramatic Arts or receive a certificate in Drama in Education and Applied Theatre. There are also concurrent BA /Bachelor of Education, Combined Major (Dramatic Arts and another subject), and Coop Honours degree programs. The various degree options all emphasize “praxis,” that is, an integration of theory and practice. For more details, visit our course calendar.

Because of our program’s emphasis on “praxis” – the integration of theory and practice – our students develop a diverse skill set that prepares them confidently for a variety of fields. Our students have gone on to win scholarships to pursue graduate degrees in theatre and performance studies; pursue professional careers in acting, directing, writing, administration, design, and production. Some graduates have pursued careers in cinema and television. Others go on to join the technical production teams of theatre companies both large and small.

Many of our students are interested in becoming teachers and pursue internships in schools alongside their studies. Our graduates have go on to acquire teaching posts and placements in post-graduate teaching programs.

Here’s a list we compiled in 2015 of careers and professions that our alumni have pursued.

Our courses are structured as lectures, seminars and labs – many involving studio based practice.

Depending on the year or level of the course, lecture courses will have between 30-175 students. Following the lecture with the course professor, you will attend seminars of 15-20 people where you discuss the lecture and exchange ideas about the material.

The majority of our courses are studio-based. These courses have an average enrollment of 15 students. In the studio-based course your professors are available to advance your learning on an individual basis.

DART is a small, tightly knit department and we privilege individual communication in our community of learning.

Our professors are very accessible to the undergraduate students, due in part to the small student-to-professor ratio. The department culture is modeled after the collaborative framework of theatre creation and production. Your professors are approachable, ready to assist you, and eager to share their knowledge and excitement about their specific fields of research and expertise.

Students registered in other programs may enroll in many courses at DART as long as they meet the prerequisites. Students in Child and Youth Studies, for example, may pursue courses in Drama in Education and Applied Theatre. Many of our theory and literature courses are of interest to students of the Humanities such as History, Studies in Arts and Culture, or sister programs in the School of Fine and Performing Arts. Some courses however are exclusive for DART majors. These include those with specific prerequisites such as studio-based performance courses and some technical courses.

If you are interested in becoming a teacher or pursuing a career in business or politics, you will need to be able to speak clearly and present yourself well. In order to do this you should consider taking one of our DART studio-based courses in voice and movement.

We teach from the integration of theatre practice, dramatic literature, and critical theory in what we call “praxis.” From the very first year of your studies, you will experience a range of training in performance, theatre history, drama in education and applied theatre, as well as in stage craft and production. By third year, you will follow more specializations in courses such as script writing, design, directing, acting and performance. Fourth year offers exciting opportunities to synthesize these course experiences in senior, student-driven production work and critical inquiry, such as the collective creations of DART 4F56 and the applied critical theory work of DART 4F90.

Our program boasts high-calibre training from award-winning teachers with a wealth of professional experience. Although our program is not a conservatory program specializing in actor training, students leave our program with a competitive combination of a Bachelor of Arts degree and the most intensive studio training you can find among BA programs in Canada. Right from the first year, students are training in five-hour studio courses every week, which is rare to find among degree programs in theatre studies.

Our training emphasizes embodiment, ensemble work, and praxis:

Embodiment: the body is central to everything that the actor does. Breath is the source of the gesture and ultimately the source of all meaning.

Ensemble: here we mean working in a team, creating in a team, being responsive, and being able to make strong bold offers to your playing partner.

Praxis: every performance offers a theory, an argument, and ideas can be tested and expanded in practice, through embodied work and learning. This dialogue between theory and practice infuses all of our work as performers and thinkers. We also equip ourselves to be thoughtful performers and understand how the plays we read and stage are historically-situated and offer windows into the history of ideas and theatrical forms that shape what we do today.

Generally we produce two main stage productions in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre of the Center for the Arts (in November and February), a One Act play festival (as part of the course DART 3P54), performance outcomes in Social Issues Theatre for Community Engagement (DART 3F93), and fourth-year collective creation (DART 4F56). Students also have an opportunity to propose independent productions for public presentation or participate in the applied theatre company Mirror Theatre. Our students have created an annual “Gimme Two” festival and a musical theatre production.

One of the benefits of joining our tight-knit community is that it’s easy to get involved. Casting and crew calls are posted on our production board, the on-line DARTboard, Facebook page and Student Facebook Group.

We privilege DART majors for our casting opportunities (specifically Mainstage performances), but other students may be cast in the One Act festival and student-initiated independent productions.

Yes, you will have an opportunity to produce your own work whether as an actor, designer, writer, director and technician. This may occur as a course outcome or an independent production. This may also occur in student club productions and outcomes.

Yes. We offer a unique third-year course opportunity in dramaturgy and directing that gives our students an on-their-feet experience in the production of a One Act play festival. In the courses DART 3P53 Dramaturgy and DART 3P54 Directing we focus studies in three areas: text interpretation (identifying action inscribed in the text), staging language by working with the actor, space, time, rhythm, image, music, lights, and cultural assumptions, and developing creative, collaborative skills with the designers, actors and other members of the production team.

Yes. Students study script analysis in their second year. In third year, students have an opportunity to create scenes in the directing course (DART 3P54) and take a script writing course (DART 3P92) that attracts both theatre and film students.

Our students experience a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary learning environment in each of our DART concentrations. Every student takes a series of core courses year to year that exposes each to the discipline-specific languages and skills of each concentration of study. The result is that every student leaves the program with a holistic education and a diverse skill set, allowing them to move fluidly between practical, educational, and scholarly theatre work in a variety of specializations. Alongside their DART studies students may pursue courses in dance, music and visual arts as a part of their concentration or elective choices. Students are also encouraged to pursue elective courses in other faculties of the university.

If you look at the calendar you will see that students in every concentration take a series of core theatre praxis, performance, drama in education/applied theatre, and stage craft courses as a part of their degree. Each of these places an emphasis on developing the creative, critical, and analytical skills necessary for the pursuit of any field in theatre and performance. All of our students learn the historical development of theatre as a cultural practice, which serves as the raw material for honing their intellectual abilities, constructing their own critical arguments, and devising their own creative work. We stress the importance of providing students with the opportunity to express themselves – in both verbal and written form – in a coherent, creative, and also persuasive fashion.

See this pamphlet for brief descriptions about our Concentrations.

Yes, books can be expensive and you should plan to budget wisely. In some courses a course pack (a selection of readings from different sources collected by the instructor) is made available for purchase at the bookstore, which is often a more affordable alternative to course books. Course texts are available at the on campus bookstore and are also available through suppliers such as Theatre Books in Toronto and online sources. Used copies may be available from DART students. You should also budget for the cost of tools and materials required for some courses such as Design for the theatre or courses in visual arts.

The office of International Services at Brock organizes international exchange opportunities for Brock students. Recently our DART students have completed their third year of studies at universities in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Click here for more information on studying abroad and exchange opportunities. In a similar manner and on occasion you will enjoy the opportunity to study with international students who choose to come to Brock. Recently this has included students from as far away as Australia and Africa.

The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts sits just behind the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and provides exposure to international and professional performance. On occasion DART students may participate in workshops with these companies, developing skills in physical theatre, movement, drumming and dance for example.

Our department is a small, friendly community offering many opportunities for you to define yourself, take creative risks, and explore your own horizons in a supportive and nurturing environment. We encourage and respect individual expression, as we teach you to collaborate effectively in research and creative endeavours. Your time here in DART is what you make of it: the more you seek the more you will discover.

St. Catharine’s has a burgeoning young theatre scene populated by our graduates and professional artists from Canada and the US. This includes companies such as Suitcase and Point, STRAY, Essential Collective Theatre, and Theatre Beyond Words. Carousel Players is a renowned theatre company for young audiences that tours around the province and also employs our graduates. They are responsible for managing the primary community theatre performing venue, the Sullivan Mahoney Theatre, in the Old Court House in downtown St. Catharines. Garden City Productions is a community theatre company that produces musicals in the Mandeville Theatre of Ridley College. NAC (Niagara Artists Center) is one of the oldest artist-run organizations in Canada and supports a vibrant community of productions and exhibitions.

St. Catharines and Niagara is home to many up-and-coming bands such as Sea of Gold and Burgundy (lead by a DART graduate). Every year approximately 150 acts shake the downtown core during the SCENE music festival.

To get involved, contact local theatre companies to inquire about opportunities for internships and speak to a DART faculty member about DART 3P97 courses that allow professional development placements for students with local theatre companies. Visit the DARTboard for updates and information on local theatre events.

Theatre Beyond Words is a theatre company founded in 1977 and since 1982 is the resident theatre company at Brock. The company has created 18-20 productions of visually-based theatre and has toured internationally and nationally. Company members also teach courses in the department that reflect the company’s physical and visually-based devising approach to the creation of the material. Theatre Beyond Words has a series of family-based shows called “The Potato People” – a combination of a non-verbal situation-based comedy and cartoon, featuring performers in large white masks.

One of the best ways to get involved with the company is to take their course Introduction to Mime (DART 2F04, offered in the spring session). Occasionally the company engages DART students, sometimes as an apprentice and on occasion, they continue to work with the company upon graduation.

Student life at DART hovers around Marilyn I. Walker campus, and the surrounding cafes, eateries, boutiques and public spaces in downtown St. Catharines. The downtown core of the city is currently experiencing a flourishing renaissance, and DART students can often be found together at local watering holes. The program’s emphasis on creative, collaborative work makes it easy to bond with like-minded people and develop long-lasting friendships that will likely last long after your graduation.

DART students work for the department as research, marketing, production and technical assistants. DART students pick up production calls with the Center for the Arts, assisting with the load-ins and strikes (or load-outs) of their professional season. DART students animate the Youth University courses run in the spring and in the summer. Our students work for on-campus services, such as the Parking Services office and also serve as Dons in residences.

The Brock University Student Union (BUSU) offers many employment opportunities. The Career Services office is a good place to begin your search.

DART students have a dedicated faculty advisor who guides them through their academic career at Brock. All DART faculty are also available for consultation during weekly office hours or by appointment. The Student Services Centre at Brock provides academic counseling and support including free courses in study techniques, paper and exam writing.

Read here for more information about university residence, meal plans, transit, and parking options when you are a student at the MIWSFPA.