Articles tagged with: alumni

  • DART Shaw Festival Internship 2019: WEEK 4 & 5 From First Reads to Tech

    Mae Smith is the Department of Dramatic Arts’ 2019 Shaw Intern.
    Read her weekly blogs about her work in lighting design and props building.
    Learn more about the internship


    (From: The DART Shaw Intern Blog, June 12, 2019 | By: Mae Smith)

    In the work light, between scenes, I read books I’ve borrowed from Kevin’s library in his office. Previously, I read about Jean Rosenthal and how she designed. Now, I’m reading more of a manual called The Assistant Lighting Designer’s Toolkit by Anne E. McMills. In there I find helpful tidbits and points to ask the technicians or designers about.

    As I said before, I love this The Ladykillers. The show itself is hilarious and so is the cast. During one of the on stage rehearsals, I’m laughing so hard that Judith Bowden asks if this was my first time seeing the show. I reply, “No, I just love it.”

    Outside of the Festival Theatre, I get the pleasure to sit in on the first rehearsals of Cyrano de Bergerac directed by Chris Abraham, and Man and Superman directed by Kimberley Rampersad. The first rehearsals are usually read throughs with the full cast and design presentations. Ahead of Cyrano, I meet with the stage manager Allen Teichman who graciously answers all my questions about his role and his duties at the start of the rehearsal process. The next day, I get to help out with some of those duties. I meet with Ashley Ireland, the assistant stage manager, and Allan to tape out the floor and set up tables for the read through.

    The Courthouse Theatre’s main rehearsal hall set for CYRANO DE BERGERAC’s (2019) first rehearsal.

    Cyrano‘s first read was really fun and I was in awe of the actors lifting the words of the page in almost complete stillness. I’m really excited to see it all set up in a couple months and think back to how it was when it started.

    The Man and Superman first read was equally entertaining although I left half-way through (the show is long). Again, though, the actors already bring so much to the table even after director Kimberley Rampersad asks them to not see the read through as a performance but rather as their first time meeting the text all together.

    I’m really grateful for the chance to see so many different shows at so many different stages. I’m able to learn about so many different roles and what would be expected of me if I was working with these shows which is a great thing to have before I am actually expected to do anything.

    At the end of my fifth week, I get to really enjoy myself as I attend the opening of Brigadoon. It’s been a little while since I last saw the show and I’m excited to enjoy it fully without listening to cues. It is so nice to hear such a large audience reacting with me to the show. It’s an energy I hadn’t yet experience with Brigadoon and it’s just nice to hear the show being so well received watching it quietly during tech.

    In my coming weeks, tech for The Ladykillers continues and I attend my first calls for Sex for which Bonnie Beecher is designing the lights. I’ve been watching others in the prop shop upholster the furniture for the show so I’m keen on seeing what the show really looks like.

    Keep checking back for a new post coming soon!

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    Categories: Alumni, News, Shaw Intern Blog, Uncategorised

  • DART Shaw Festival Internship 2019: WEEK 3, Look, Learn, and Listen

    Mae Smith is the Department of Dramatic Arts’ 2019 Shaw Intern.
    Read her weekly blogs about her work in lighting design and props building.
    Learn more about the internship


    (From: The DART Shaw Intern Blog, June 1, 2019 | By: Mae Smith)

    This week kicks off The Ladykillers big move into the theatre and my involvement with the show.

    On Monday, I follow the props gang to the design day, where we outfit the set with its dressings along with the designer (Judith Bowden). Throughout the day, we add and hem curtains; I tack down props on the shelves; we hang hooks for pots and pans; fit down knobs, lights switches, and outlets to the set; and much more. This week’s featured image is me waiting on the second floor of the set that was made in the Shaw’s Scene Shop.

    Pots in the kitchen for THE LADYKILLERS (2019) Directed by Tim Carroll Designed by Judith Bowden

    When we return to the prop shop for the rest of the week, I make more fake money as well as paper bouquets for Getting Married. The bouquets are simple enough to construct once we figure out the material out of which to construct it. The bouquets that I am making, in question, are to be tossed into the audience every night which means there is a lot more to consider with its construction. It can’t be too heavy, nor use any ribbons with sharp edges, or pipe cleaner with eye-poking ends but it needs to be easy and quick to reproduce because one will be made for every preview and show.

    Bouquets for GETTING MARRIED (2019) Directed by Tanja Jacobs Designed by Shannon Lea Doyle Constructed in the Prop Shop

    On Friday and Saturday, I return to the Festival Theatre for The Ladykillersfor the lighting hang. I meet with assistant lighting designer Nick Andison first while the crew is at work hanging. He runs through what lights they’re hanging and what tricky shots they’ve anticipated. There are many lights that are being repurposed to be Ladykillers specific lights from their previous show purpose since they did not end up getting used. I feel now that I’m starting to get a hang of the planning for the repertoire.
    Kevin Lamotte and Nick also help me understand a lot more the paper work and how to get started when designing.
    I’ve found over the years I’ve gotten quite shy so I’m appreciative for Kevin, Nick, and other members of the company I’ve spoken to who have been able to just talk to me about the work they do without me having to prompt them too much. I love listening to what others have to say and I’m still working past being too scared to jump in and ask questions.

    At the end of the week, I get to visit Victory‘s rehearsal room. This show is also directed by Tim Carroll and his rehearsals are very entertaining to be in. Victory is quite different from the other shows I’ve seen so far: it has quite a massive cast for what I would expect for a show that’s not a musical; and it’s quite vulgar. Despite the dark material, the cast is lively and joking which is enjoyable to watch as an outsider. Once again, I feel incredibly lucky to be here. I’m watching actors I’ve seen on stage over the years right in front of me in the middle of their process and they are just mesmerizing.

    The house of the Festival Theatre. (So many lights!)

    The Ladykillers rolls into more tech next week, so I’ll be spending most of my time in the Festival Theatre absorbing everything I can from the designers and crew.

    Stay tuned!

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    Categories: Alumni, News, Shaw Intern Blog

  • DART Shaw Festival Internship 2019: WEEK 2, Stumbling but Still Going

    Mae Smith is the Department of Dramatic Arts’ 2019 Shaw Intern.
    Read her weekly blogs about her work in lighting design and props building.
    Learn more about the internship


    (From: The DART Shaw Intern Blog, May 9, 2019 | By: Mae Smith)

    This week, I’m in the prop shop almost every day for at least a couple hours. I’m back to pumping out high volume items which is satisfying once you start filling up boxes and boxes. No one in the shop passes up an opportunity to make a joke about taking all the fake money and running away.

    On Tuesday, my lack of skill in sewing becomes painfully obvious as I’m tasked with hemming napkins for Getting Married. I can’t keep the hem even or straight – it’s just a mess. I’m quite embarrassed to say the least as I’ve thrown a bit of a wrench in the productivity. Later, I confide in Kimberley Rampersad, Intern Artistic Director at the Shaw, about how I feel and she’s able to help me see it as not a wholly negative thing. See, my experience working with props previously has been mostly painting, hot gluing, and carving styrofoam. I hadn’t considered sewing at all part of that because I hadn’t been exposed to it in this context. Now, at least I know it’s something that I need to work on for props building and not something I can just forever put to the side. In the mean time, I’ll return to making stacks of fake money.

    When I’m not in the prop shop, I’m all around the main building.

    I pop into the design studio a couple times to go through the lighting design bibles from previous seasons. Scanning through the paper work is a little overwhelming at first. I have a very basic familiarity with Vectorworks and Lightwright so there’s a lot of documents that I’ve never seen or heard of. It takes me a good 15 minutes of staring at the paper to figure out what’s going on in the focus charts because there are so many lines overlapping. Luckily, Mikael Kangas is around to answer my questions and explain how the paperwork useful in the grand scheme and in specific situations.

    String lights under the risers in the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre. This is partly used for storage for the shows.

    I have my first visit to the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre of my internship to observe the SPASM for The Glass Menagerie. SPASM stands for “Set & Props with Assistant Stage Manager.” This is where the crew of the theatre meet with the assistant stage manager to see where all set pieces, props, and dressing need to go on the set. Stage manager Kate Hennigar shares a copy of the paperwork detailing where everything is set with me so that I can follow along with Joe and Jeff (the change-over crew for the studio theatre). I help them move furniture from the rehearsal hall, upstairs to the theatre and unload it on stage.

    As we work, everyone shares a bit of their insight with me and happily explains the process. I’m glad to be engaged and helpful in the process but I’m careful to step back to make sure I’m not doing the work Joe and Jeff need to do so that they know their tracks for setting the show.

    The ghost light in the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre.

    I also attend the tech rehearsal and invited dress rehearsals for Brigadoon. I find that every time I see the show, I love it more and more. The show is so much about love, as director Glynis Leyshon makes clear in her introduction before the dress rehearsal begins, and I’m head over heels for every romance in the show. I smile ear to ear watching the characters fall in love each time.

    To my eye, the show’s lighting looks perfect; however, Kevin Lamotte and Mikael Kangas are continuously working and making changes to cues. I listen in over the com to hear what they’re changing. This helps me learn what to pay attention to when I’m designing. It’s also encouraging to know that not everything is figured out with the plot and focus. There’s always things changing and you’ll always be adapting.

    Later, I move further into the Historical Old Town of N.O.T.L.

    I get to visit the Courthouse theatre for a The Ladykillers rehearsal again, which is just such a joy. The show is so funny and both the cast and creative team present in rehearsal bring such a great energy that you can’t help but enjoy.

    On my last day of the week, I spend my time in the Royal George Theatre, attending the tech dress for Getting Married and then a preview of Rope.
    I personally love the George as it is a much smaller space than the Festival Theatre but maintains such a grand elegance about it. The house of the theatre is a luxurious red which is rich but comforting at the same time.

    Seats in the Royal George Theatre.

    When I arrive at the theatre in the morning, the lighting operator, Mel, takes me on a full backstage tour of the theatre while completing pre-show duties at the same time. Mel is quite in depth with their explanations and I’m grateful for all the details. The assistant lighting designer, Nick Andison, tells me about how the lighting grid is planned and divided between shows in theatre. It helps answer that part of me that’s constantly looking at the shows and asking “But how do you start?!”

    Nick explains some of the design to me. The intent and focus of the lighting design is quite different for Getting Married than it is for the huge musical that is Brigadoon. It’s interesting to note the difference and speak to Nick about what to look for and what they’re trying to do.

    When I get to Rope in the evening I’m a little taken aback at the change-over of the set. It’s incredible how much the space transforms. I was really captivated by the set design, which featured scrim walls and a window with an incredible rain effect. I’m not here to review the show, but if I was, I don’t think I’d have a bad thing to say. I’m going to end on that note. This week made me very excited about how I get to work in theatre and reminded me that there’s so much about it to love.

    The view from my seat for ROPE (2019). Directed by Jani Lauzon. Designed by Joanna Yu. Lighting Designed by Louise Guinard.

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    Categories: Alumni, News, Shaw Intern Blog

  • DART alumnus takes the stage in Toronto

    DART Alumnus Jeremy Ferdman performs in the Classic Theatre Project‘s latest production of Macbeth. From the CTP website:

    Set against the backdrop of violent tribal conflicts, this re-imagined, gritty production of Macbeth features epic sword fights and modern stage technology. As hero becomes tyrant, Shakespeare’s masterful commentary on the corrupting nature of power poses the timeless and dangerous question:

    ‘Is he who desires ultimate power capable of being a just leader?’

    Photo courtesy of thectp.ca

    Jeremy Ferdman
    (Macduff, Bleeding Saergent)

    Jeremy Ferdman is an award-winning actor from Toronto. Beginning his career ‘belly dancing’ in a National Rogers commercial at 15, Jeremy trained at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting (NYC), Art of Acting Studio (LA), University of North Carolina and Brock University. He played the role of Marty Glickman in Focus Features’ Race, opposite Jason Sudeikis and Jeremy Irons, and recently wrapped the Dylan Thomas biopic, Dominion, with John Malkovich and Tony Hale, which Jeremy is Executive Producing with Film Colony (Hateful 8/Cider House Rules). Theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Georgia Shakespeare), Bad Jews (Theatre Calgary), Metamorphoses (Georgia Shakespeare), Soon (Young Storytellers Foundation), Waiting for Lefty (Off-Broadway/Harold Clurman Lab) and Revenger’s Tragedy (Kennedy Center). Television credits include Rookie Blue (ABC), Killer Kids (Lifetime), Unusual Suspects (Discovery), Warehouse 13 (NBC Universal) and Man Seeking Woman (FX). Follow Jeremy on Twitter: @jeremy_ferdman

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, News

  • DART alumna to co-host session at the SHIFT Professional Development Conference

    ARTS AND CULTURE: CAREER CONVERSATIONS

    Date/Time: April 28, 2017, 3 pm – 4:15 pm
    Location: Plaza Rm. 410, Brock University

    DART alumna Victoria Mountain will feature at the SHIFT Professional Development Conference for graduate students alongside VISA alumna Shauna Daley with their session, “ARTS AND CULTURE: CAREER CONVERSATIONS”. From the conference website: “A modern cultural worker can thrive in variety of careers in education, media and the arts. The reach and satisfaction of creative practice can be the cusp of personal freedom and a condition for seeking satisfying work. How do we negotiate and harness creative energies within professions that embrace those creative forces? Join our conversation!”

     

    Victoria is a writer, performer, researcher and cultural manager residing in Toronto, Ontario. In addition to her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Brock University, she also holds a Master of Arts in Drama from the University of Toronto, and an Erasmus Mundus Master of International Performance Research from the Universities of Warwick, United Kingdom and Helsinki, Finland. Victoria currently works for the City of Brampton as the Manager of Culture with the Economic Development and Culture Division, leading the City through its first cultural master planning process.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, News

  • Brock Dramatic Arts alumni nominated for St. Catharines Arts Awards

    The Department of Dramatic Arts is proud to announce that several DART graduates and one of our DART professors have been nominated for the Emerging Artist award at this year’s St. Catharines Arts Awards!

    More information can be found at this news entry on the main MIWSFPA website. Congratulations, and good luck!

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • On Cultural Power: The August Wilson/Robert Brustein Discussion, Re-enacted!

    Experience the famous and controversial 1997 debate that took New York by storm: “The intellectual equivalent of extreme fighting” – Frank Rich

    March 15, 2017 at 6 pm

    Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines

    To reserve your tickets for this free community event, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2k8CbnP

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    Categories: Events, Plays

  • Brock alumni showcase talents in The Bacchae

    (Source: The Brock News, Thursday, January 19, 2017 | by . Photo: “The Bacchae, a Twitches & Itches Theatre production, is hitting the stage at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre from Jan. 19 to 21. (Photo by David Vivian)”)

    The worlds of ancient Athens and modern Niagara have come together in a theatrical production led in part by Brock alumni.

    The Bacchae, a modern adaptation of a play originally performed in 405 BCE, is hitting the stage at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre from Jan. 19 to 21.

    The Twitches & Itches Theatre production challenges ideas of identity and explores what happens when extreme left- and right-wing politics collide.

    When the ensemble began working on the play in February 2015, they had no idea how timely it would be when presented on the eve of the presidential inauguration of 2017.

    “We had no idea Brexit and Donald Trump’s rise to power were just around the corner,” said director Colin Bruce Anthes (BA ’14, MA ’16).

    “The play was miles ahead of us. Many of the play’s original themes are shockingly reflected in our present society.”

    The play engages with current social issues, as Dionysus, an androgynous foreigner, arrives in St. Cadmus and starts changing the entrenched norms. The conservative rule of King Pentheus is challenged by this new god of wine, theatre and ritual madness and the women who abandon the city core to follow him.

    “Some of the dialogue looks like headlines stolen from today’s newspapers,” Anthes said.

    “In our production, the priest of a new religion arrives as a David Bowie-esque glam-rock star, bursting through a city’s eternalized film-noir surface.”

    Issues of identity are central to this play, as xenophobia, transphobia and intolerance of different body types are all challenged.

    Brock student Iain Lidstone found playing the role of Dionysus both rewarding and exhausting.

    “I am a trans man playing a gender-fluid character,” he said.

    “On the one hand, I find utter relief and excitement that as a queer artist I get the opportunity to give a voice to queer identities on the stage.”

    Lidstone’s own experiences informed the development of his character.

    “My character’s gender-fluidity and effeminate nature means I am constantly challenging my own internalized transphobia and trans-masculine identity in order to authentically portray our ‘queerified’ image of Dionysus.”

    Hayley Malouin (BA ’15) plays the role of Agave, mother to King Pentheus.

    “As a fat actor I’ve seen my inordinately unfair share of motherly characters,” she said, while adding that her most recent role has been different.

    “(Agave) is a person before she is a mother and this production pays particular attention to her journey as an intelligent, politically savvy, but ultimately oppressed agent.”

    General manager Marcus Tuttle (BA ’15) describes the production as a play that “makes sense for St. Catharines.”

    Niagara issues are woven throughout the play: the disappearing manufacturing economy and the experiences of migrant workers, as well as challenges faced by the LGBTQIA community.

    Twitches & Itches Theatre is committed to developing local acting talent.

    The group was founded by Anthes and Tom DiMartino in 2009 and moved to St. Catharines in 2013.

    They have gradually built up a core ensemble of nine performers, eight of whom trained at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    This is the group’s sixth full production and their first independent production at the Performing Arts Centre.

    Tickets are available on the FirstOntario Performing Art Centre’s website.

    Brock students/alumni included in the production: Iain Lidstone, Hayley Malouin, Sean Rintoul, Kaitlin Race, Sean Aileen McClelland, Chelsea Wilson, Marcus Tuttle, Colin Bruce Anthes.


    Media:

    TVCogeco’s feature on The Bacchae:

     

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    Categories: Alumni, In the Media, News

  • Dramatic Arts alumna feature documentary to be broadcast July 09

    (Source: The Brock NewsWednesday, June 15, 2016 | by )

    It was the people and their stories that captivated Nicolina Lanni. What they lost. What they found. How they connected.

    In her first feature documentary film Lost & Found, the Brock University grad shares the stories of Japanese people who survived a devastating tsunami and the beachcombers half a world away who helped pick up the pieces.

    “It’s about people and very personal, human stories,” says Lanni (BA ’05). “It was so clearly such a beautiful story and once it was in front of us, there was no way we were not going to tell it.”

    An estimated 25-million tonnes of wreckage from Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami is drifting across the Pacific Ocean, often washing up on North America’s shores. Filming took Lanni and her creative partner John Choi to Alaska, Washington, British Columbia and Japan.

    Lanni says the debris is more than just trash, it’s remnants of the lives of the 20,000 people lost to the waves and the loved ones they left behind.

    The film follows the stories of beachcombers, scientists and government officials coming together to collect all that was lost, and reunite the items with their rightful owners in Japan.

    “We didn’t really focus on the disaster or the aftermath,” Lanni says. “Our film really focuses on the specific stories of friendship and these really unlikely relationships forged in the aftermath.”

    One of the friendships the film explores is between Alaskans David and Yumi Baxter and a woman they met in Japan after finding a yellow buoy wash up in Alaska. Sakiko Miura lost everything in the tsunami including the restaurant she ran with her late husband Keigo.

    The Baxters reunited Miura with a buoy with the character for Kei (short for Keigo) painted on it, which used to hang outside of her restaurant in a coastal town called Minamisanriku.

    “The fact that the Kei buoy came back makes me think that my husband’s soul is in it,” Miura says in the documentary.

    The meaning of objects and our connection to them is explored throughout Lost & Found.

    The filmmakers made links that will last a lifetime, Choi says.

    “The people in our film are all incredibly close to us still. It’s a family,” he says. “Lost & Found is really about taking that leap of faith and the unlikeliness of people coming together from around the world and connecting.”

    Lanni says the work she did while making the film is drawn from her experiences at Brock, where she studied theatre and women’s studies.

    It was at Brock that she started interviewing people and storytelling as part of a form of verbatim theatre called Collective Creation – when a group comes together, writes, collaborates and performs. She did it in Africa after graduation.

    “We would go into a town, talk to people and create a show and perform it for the community,” she says.

    After working in journalism for a time, Lanni switched to filmmaking and works as a director and producer in film and broadcast television including programming for The History Channel, Discovery Channel and Shaw Media.

    Lost & Found was commissioned by Shaw Communications alongside NHK Enterprises in Japan and SBS in Australia.

    Lanni says they also received the Hot Docs Shaw Completion Fund and the film had its theatrical premier at the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema in March for the fifth anniversary of the tsunami.

    For more information on the film and where to see it visit www.lostandfoundthefilm.ca. Global is showing the movie July 9 at 9 p.m.

    Lanni and Choi, who have a company called Frank Films, are currently working on a documentary about sinkholes.

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    Categories: Alumni, In the Media, News

  • Dramatic Arts graduating student writes about her experiences at Brock University

    goodnight-desdemona60ed07-1600x900crHello future DART students (and those still deciding):

    My name is Elizabeth and I am a graduating student from the Dramatic Arts program at Brock University.  I know you are all facing the important decision of where to go for school next year and wanted to write you all and let you know a bit about why I chose Brock, and the amazing opportunities I’ve had as a result.

    After my invitational experience at Brock I knew it was the place for me.  I left the invitational convinced that this would be a program in which I would be valued and appreciated for what I had to offer as an individual.  I also got the feeling that this would be a program focused on building community rather than competition.  I was right; DART is filled with some of the most supportive people I have ever worked with — professors and peers alike.

    The ability to get a truly well-rounded theatrical education was one of the most important factors in my decision.  Although I was in the performance concentration and therefore had plenty of studio classes and performance opportunities, I benefitted the most from being exposed to all aspects of theatrical production and study.  Crew courses gave me an appreciation for those who work backstage, as well as valuable skills that performers may need when starting their own small companies; critical theory and theatre history courses gave me a strong foundation of theatrical knowledge that I continuously draw on; directing and devising courses allowed my to develop who I want to be as an artist; and a theatre criticism course with Prof. Karen Fricker — who is also the Toronto Star’s new theatre critic — allowed me to discover a passion I was able to further as a writer and editor for dartcritcs.com.  That passion for theatre criticism began my interests in writing and dramaturgy, interests that I am now pursuing in graduate studies at Harvard University and the American Repertory Theater Institute — indicative, I believe, of the quality of education and scope of opportunities DART offers its students.

    If you have a theatre-related interest you want to explore, Brock is the place to do it.  In my time here I have acted in numerous MainStage and student-run productions, directed a one act play and assistant directed last year’s Fall MainStage, coordinated five seasons of the GimmeTwo short scene festival, attended classes at the Stratford and Shaw festivals, learned technical skills ranging from designing lighting plots to building sets, been employed by the university as a stage hand and as a theatre critic, and am currently working as a summer intern at the Shaw Festival. (I write a blog for DART students about this experience which you can find at shawandtell.wordpress.com).  I believe that this program offers students the support and resources to achieve and experience anything they desire.

    DART is a program that allows you to pursue your interests with instructors who not only are some of the best in the business, but who respect and build lasting friendships with their students.  This is a program to explore and gain confidence in new interests in a safe and encouraging environment.  Even better, that environment is now gorgeous and better equipped than ever thanks to the recent move to the brand new arts building.

    I hope that you seriously consider the Dramatic Arts program at Brock.  This program made all the difference in allowing me to become a confident and competent artist, and I know that my future is brighter because of the decision I made when I was in your place.  Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have about the program, I will be so happy to hear from you and will help in any way I can.  Hope to see you on (or behind) the DART stage in the coming years!

    Best of luck,

    Elizabeth Amos
    DART Class of 2016

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, Future students, News