• COMMOTION AT THE COURTHOUSE: a three-year Partnership with Niagara Region Schools

    Over the past three years, the COMMOTION partnership between six Niagara Region high schools, Carousel Players, the Department of Dramatic Arts of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University, and TALK Niagara (Teams of Adults Listening to Kids) has given 80 students an opportunity to create and perform six new plays.

    Each group of high school students creates a play at their school through a 12-week drama program and presents it at the Sullivan Mahoney Courthouse Theatre. Brock University Professor Gyllian Raby and Carousel’s Artistic Director Pablo Felices Luna lead the project with the support of Bonnie Prentice from TALK Niagara, an umbrella group of 15 community organizations dedicated to youth concerns.

    This month, 22 students from Governor Simcoe Secondary School and Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School are playing with different modes of creativity known as RSVP to build their characters, scenes and stories into two new plays. Blythe Barker, Jacqueline Costa, Caitlin English and Trevor Rotenberg, facilitators trained through Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts, have been working with students an estimated 240 hours at their schools since September 2011.

    Free performances of the plays written and performed by these students will be held at the Sullivan Mahoney Courthouse Theatre in St. Catharines on Thursday, December 8, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; Friday, December 9, at 9:30 a.m.; and Saturday, December 10, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Reservations are required.  For the free tickets, call Carousel Players at 905.682.8326 x 26.

    “Now in the third year of COMMOTION, Pablo and I find it more invigorating than ever,” states Gyllian Raby. “Creating a show for this semi-professional production places enormous demands on these high school seniors, yet time after time they show themselves not only equal to the task but able to surprise everyone with their insights about, for example, the social pressures of the internet, abuses of authority, and balancing individual identity with relationships.”

    Co-leader Felices Luna adds, “COMMOTION takes the excellent work done by Niagara’s drama teachers to a new level outside the classroom. We’ve worked with 58 students from E.L.Crossley Secondary School, Eastdale Secondary School, Laura Secord Secondary School and St. Catharines Collegiate. We thank drama teachers Jennifer Benson, Tracy Garratt, Karen Hancock, Rassika Malhotra, Brenna McAllister and Tracy Thorpe for welcoming us into their schools, for actively fostering creativity in their students and for their passionate commitment to drama at their school. There are many other schools and teachers we hope to work with in the future.”

    The COMMOTION project is made possible by SSHRC: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Department of Dramatic Arts of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University, Carousel Players, TALK Niagara and approval from the District School Board of Niagara.

    For tickets contact: Jane Gardner, 905-682-8326 x23 or

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

  • DART Alumnus on the stage of The Grand Theatre

    Eric Frank (DART 2011) was recently seen on stage in a production of To Master the Art at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario. It’s the story of Julia Child and the writing of her famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The play opens with Julia and her husband Paul’s arrival in France in 1948. Paul introduces her to fine French cuisine and she is completely smitten.

    Professor Virginia Reh, who directed Eric in two mainstage productions at Brock,  journeyed to London to see him in his professional debut and remarked, ‘In a production with 24 roles played by 10 actors, Eric proved a veritable chameleon, creating four very different vibrant characters. He was clearly comfortable in this professional milieu and his colleagues are enthusiastic about working with him.'”

    Break-a-leg, Eric!

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    Categories: Alumni, News

  • Guest Visit by Cheryl Lalonde of Toronto Dance Theatre

    Published on November 06 2011

    Students in second year Stagecraft and third year Stage Management recently had the opportunity to hear Cheryl Lalonde, the production/stage manager of TDT, speak about the her career experiences and creative challenges in the mileu of Canadian contemporary dance.

    Lalonde began her career in the arts with Act IV Theatre at Adelaide Court. After two years backstage at Toronto Workshop Productions, her design debut was for the premiere production of Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters under mentor and director Larry Lewis. Splitting her time between design and stage management has allowed her to travel the world as well as collaborate with many companies, including: Desrosiers Dance Theatre, Danny Grossman Dance Company, Fujiwara Dance Inventions, Eclectic Theatre, Alberta Ballet, Dreamwalker Dance Company, Theatre Smith Gilmour, and Kaeja d’Dance. Ms. Lalonde has served on the faculty of Theatre Arts at The Banff Centre for eight summers, and recently participated in a panel of Canadian Stage Managers to establish a DACUM occupational analysis for Stage Management. 2011 marks Cheryl’s eleventh season with TDT.

    Later that evening Christopher House, Artistic Director for TDT, invited the public for in an informal discussion of The Visual Art of Dance at the Niagara Artists Centre. DART first year students had previously attended a special workshop on movement lead by instructors of the TDT School and will also attend the presentation of Severe Clear in late November at the David S. Howes Theatre of the Brock Centre for the Arts. Lighting Design for Severe Clear is conceived by DART alumnus, Roelof Peter Snippe.

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    Categories: Current Students, News, Visiting Artists

  • A truly exciting weekend for the Drama in Education /Applied Theatre concentration at the CODE Conference in Collingwood.

    Faculty and students of the Drama in Education /Applied Theatre concentration had a truly exciting weekend at the Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators Conference (CODE), which took place October 21-23, 2011 at Blue Mountain, Collingwood.

    Adrienne Smoke, a second year student in the Concentration in Theatre Praxis, attended the conference as an invited artist.  She and dub-poet Greg Frankson opened the Conference with a performance: she drummed them in–thus beginning the conference–followed by a dance, and then provided a drum accompaniment to Greg’s poem performance.  She also gave a workshop for teachers, some of whom presented an excerpt of a Shawl Dance as part of the final evenings’ performance.

    Alex Kazam, a third year DART student was the conference MC, wandering magician, “gentil animateur” and overall conference figure, “Jack-out-of-the-box” (the theme was on REACH–beyond the classroom, with a visual of getting out of a box…).

    Part-time faculty Suzanne Burchell and Helen Zdriluk participated with projects in the 4-hour poster presentation on community-school outreach projects, which was followed by later, in-depth discussion sessions.  Part-time faculty Carolee Mason and full-time faculty Glenys McQueen Fuentes both delivered workshops to teachers.  Helen Zdriluk convened and organized a group of 10 DIE/AT students as very well-appreciated conference volunteers.

    Congratulations for a successful weekend at CODE!

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    Categories: News

  • Orpheus Descending

    Written by Tennessee Williams

    Directed by Virginia Reh
    Designed by Michael Greves

    The tragedy of a closed society, destroying the ‘other’ within and without.
    – Virginia Reh, director

    November 10, 2011 – 7:30 pm
    November 11, 2011 – matinee 1 pm AND 7:30 pm
    November 12, 2011 – 7:30 pm

    Adults $15 : Students/Seniors $12 : eyeGO $5 : Group Rates $10. Buy tickets at

    All DART students receive ONE free ticket.

    Orpheus Descending is a modern version of the Greek myth in which Orpheus, the beloved musician of the gods, goes down to the underworld to rescue his dead wife Eurydice. Orpheus is forbidden to look at his wife until they are clear of the underworld, but he cannot resist, looks, and loses her forever. In Williams’ play, Valentine Xavier (Val), a guitar-playing stranger, comes into a small town in the U.S South and “rescues” an unhappy Lady Torrance. He breaks the rules of the tight society of the town, with catastrophic results.

    The play was first performed on Broadway in 1957 and was adapted for the screen in 1959, starring Marlon Brando. With this presentation the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is celebrating the 100th birthday of this great twentieth century American playwright. This is one of many productions from the Williams’ canon to be seen this season, including The Night of the Iguana at Hart House Theatre in Toronto, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Shaw Festival, Camino Real at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and The Wooster Group’s innovative rendition of Vieux Carré in New York.

    Director Virginia Reh is delighted to have Brock alumnus Michael Greves design this production of Orpheus Descending. Since graduating from the Department of Dramatic Arts Greves has been involved in countless productions including the Shaw Festival and was seen recently on stage in Stray Theatre’s production of Les chaises at the Sullivan Mahoney Theatre. Our production stars 17 second through fourth year students supported by student colleagues in direction, dramaturgy, stagecraft and production.

    High School Teachers and Educators: please read this letter for detailed information about the production, curriculum ties, and student matinee booking.

    Orpheus Descending: A Study Guide, is an introduction to our production, prepared by our creative production team. Chapter titles include: Collaboration, List of Characters, The Plot, The Playwright: Tennessee Williams, Director’s Notes, Production History, Faith, Myth and Spirituality, Aunt Conjure and the Choctaw, Historical Content, Dramaturge’s Notes, Discussion Questions, List of Terms, List of Figures, Endnotes and Bibliography.

    Download your PDF copy of Orpheus Descending: A Study Guide
    (PDF, 2 MB)

    Selected Press Coverage:

    Brock University’s Orpheus Descending points spotlight at outsiders
    see the article by Jonathan van Ekelenberg in The Niagara News

    preview article and video in the St. Catharines Standard

    Celebrating 100 years of Tennessee Williams in The Brock Press

    This year, the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University presents Tennesse Williams’ Orpheus Descending directed by Virginia Reh. Pictured is a screenshot from a video feature in the series “Artist Profiles” by BROCK TV, which includes questions answered by Virginia Reh, and actors Trevor Ketcheson and Rebekka Gondosch. This video is not currently online.


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    Categories: Events, Plays

  • General Brock’s October Soiree for 2011 a brilliant success!

    soiree2011Students from the Department of Dramatic Arts along with their colleagues in the Departments of Music and Visual Arts entertained almost 350 guests and dignitaries in period costume at the General Brock’s October Soiree, held Saturday October 15, 2011.  More than $110,000 was raised, fifty percent of which after costs will accrue to scholarships in support of students in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    Douglas Kneale, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, remarked “To judge from the comments of guests during the evening, it was universally acknowledged as the best Soiree yet, with a high degree of talent and professionalism in our re-enactors, emcee Derek Ewert, and all the singers and dancers.”

    See the Cogeco TV news item which includes on-camera interviews with several Brock spokespeople.

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    Categories: Events

  • Special performance: Which Way to the Bastille? at Rodman Hall

    Image: Milutin Gubash, The Hotel Tito, 2010. Lambda color print (24" x 50"). Image courtesy of the artist.

    Image: Milutin Gubash, The Hotel Tito, 2010. Lambda color print (24″ x 50″). Image courtesy of the artist.


    The Hotel Tito
    September 16 – December 30, 2011
    Opening Reception: September 15, 2011, 7 -9 pm
    Curated by Shirley Madill

    In collaboration with Musee d’art de Joliette

    Special performance:  Which Way to the Bastille?
    Following the premier on September 15 the second of eight short performances by students of the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) occurs September 23, 2011 after 12 noon. Tanisha Minson and Dylan Mawson, senior students in the DART program have collaborated with the artist and faculty of DART to create a brief interpretation of the text during the course of the exhibition.  The performance will function as a dramatic evocation of the principal tenets of the artist’s and the curatorial program.


    Performance are scheduled for:
    Thursday, September 15, evening, at the opening reception.
    Friday, September 23, 12 noon, last day of the artist’s residency
    Thursday, September 29, 6:30 pm
    Saturday, October 15, 2:30 pm
    Thursday, October 27, 8 pm
    Sunday, November 6, 2:30 pm
    Friday, November 18, 11:30 am
    Saturday, December 3, 2:30 pm

    The exhibit in brief:
    Milutin Gubash has pursued a multidisciplinary practice revolving around video, photography and performance since 2002. This ten-year survey of work by Milutin Gubash includes a residency project with the Department of Dramatic Arts and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University. Beginning with the work titled, Re-Enacting Tragedies While My Parents Look On, the exhibition includes various works that focus on daily-life occurrences with historical and philosophical narratives. Gubash is interested in exploring how individuals and ideas can overwrite commonly held perceptions of landscape, politics and expectations of representation.
    The exhibit in detail:
    Milutin Gubash has pursued a multidisciplinary art practice revolving around video, photography and performance since 2002. He first made a name for himself in 2003 with the webcast project Re-Enacting Tragedies While My Parents Look On, in which he “re-created,” with his parents, various tragic news stories reported in the Calgary Herald. Gubash plays the part of the victim, dressed in a dark suit that now has become a signature for the artist.

    By layering daily-life occurrences with historical and philosophical narratives, Gubash is interested in exploring how individuals and ideas can overwrite commonly held perceptions of landscape, politics and expectations of representation. His imagery portrays the same individuals (family and friends) living absurd situations or experiencing actual moments of psychological reflection. Together, the Gubash family and friends create a dreamscape of funny and sincere gestures while experimenting with their own relational identities. Gubash often insists on creating multiple contexts within which to engage his series of mini- narratives. By locating his own performative gestures at the scenes of such events, Gubash dares to heighten his personal psychological inquiry and that of his collaborators.

    This exhibition includes a selection of works produced over the past ten years with emphasis on the recent interconnected projects: Which Way to the Bastille?These Paintings, and Hotel Tito.

    During a residency with the Department of Dramatic Arts, Brock University, Gubash worked with Associate Professor David Vivian, Associate Professor Dr. Natalie Alvarez, and a company of selected students to develop a “live animation” of Which Way to the Bastille? Situated as an ongoing and regular interpretation of the text during the course of the exhibition, the performance will function as a dramatic evocation of the principal tenets of the artist’s and the curatorial program. Associate Professor Catherine Parayre (Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures) of Brock University will lead an upper-level course in text and image based around this exhibition under the auspices of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    A version of this exhibition will also be seen at the Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa; Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; and the Musée d’art de Joliette, Quebec.

    Milutin Gubash was born in Novi Sad (Serbia) and has been living in Montreal since 2005.

    Shirley Madill
    Exhibition Curator

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    Categories: Events

  • DART students attend Stratford Shakespeare Academy

    Stratford Shakespeare Academy.
    DART Students Josh Davidson and Emma Bulpin engage in valued ‘Art Talk’ between classes!

    Every summer students of the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) attend the annual Stratford Shakespeare Academy for a three week intensive two-course experience. The courses present an opportunity to study Shakespeare through the lenses of both performance and structured analytical criticism with some of Ontario’s leading university professors and Stratford professional coaches. During the typical 7.5 hour day students observe and enquire of the talent of working actors, trainers and directors while experiencing first-hand the programming of one of Canada’s most triumphant theatre Festivals.

    Josh Davidson, a fourth year performing arts student at DART, describes this opportunity as “…an experience unlike any other. During my traditional school experience, I never had the opportunity to embody Shakespeare, or any stylized theatrical form, quite like this course offered. My fellow students and I are always asked to focus on a multiplicity of various forms, in relationship to different classes during the school year. The Stratford Shakespeare Academy offers you the opportunity to study Shakespeare, and only Shakespeare, for a three week period. The benefit of this intensive class structure was invaluable.”

    The course encouraged students to formulate opinions and discussions in response to the four Shakespearean plays presented during the 2011 Stratford season. Davidson says “having the ability to witness professional Shakespeare productions, while in the midst of studying Shakespeare, was helpful and inspirational.” Acting students train to develop a personal artistic palette, molded and shaped with specific skill sets, knowledge and vocabulary. He continues, “Observing Shakespearean acting professionals “live” allowed me to reflect upon what my artistic palette already consists of and helped identify the areas needing more time and improvement.”

    Complementing the coursework is the opportunity for theatre students from the sponsoring universities – Guelph, Windsor, Queens and Waterloo – to meet and share their learning experiences. Josh asserts “the other side of this adventure was found in the social environment. We were able to share experiences, class work, opinions, and beliefs with other students who have been trained in different forms, theories and techniques from our own. This made for some great art-talk! I brought what Brock had to offer, and they brought what their own school offered. This intermingling between schools sparked new friendships, new artistic discoveries and made the course experience very rewarding as a student and actor.”

    Josh concluded, “I would encourage any high-school student with performance interests to attend Brock University for these types of remarkable course experiences. The benefit of this intensive class structure is invaluable… I don’t think anyone could walk away from this experience without finding something to enrich their studies, while also helping to form the work they create in the future.”

    In September these fourth year students return to DART, fresh with the legacy of these formative course experiences.  Working together with their newly tuned artistic palettes, they will create provocative and innovative theatrical performance for the Brock community.

    Students interested in more information about the Stratford Shakespeare Academy should contact the Department at

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, News

  • Hot off the presses: the DART Newsletter for 2011-12

    dart_newsletter_2011_thThe Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) Newsletter for 2011-12 is now available for download.
    Contents include information about the programs and Concentrations, annual production and presentation activity, special invited guests, faculty and staff, alumni accomplishments, student awards and bursaries, the Invitational process, and DART at the Stratford and Shaw Festivals.

    Paper copies are available upon request from

    Categories: Future students, News

  • Mainstream’s Summer Drama Program at DART

    A week long intensive introducing adults with developmental disabilities to the world of drama was held at Brock University this summer. During the morning sessions, participants were led by local theatre practitioners in various aspects of drama (i.e. Voice, Movement, Improvisation, etc.) The afternoon sessions focused on the creation of short performances which opened for the public on Friday July 29th, 2011 at 1pm.

    Mainstream was founded in 1984 and continues to be a strong presence in Niagara, operating various programs to support adults with a developmental disability. Mainstream’s mission is to ‘improve the quality of life for people with a developmental disability by providing a supportive environment that strives to empower individuals with necessary skills and confidence for lifelong learning and growth.”

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    Categories: News