Articles tagged with: DARTcritics

  • Grand finale weekend for Orlando at the MIW Theatre

    Orlando, on stage at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, closes Nov. 2, 2019. Dramatic Arts student Taj Crozier, in the role of Queen Elizabeth, with Jane Smith as Clorinda, on the set of Orlando.

    Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts is set to present the final performances of an original presentation of Orlando, at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation takes viewers from the witty pages of Virginia’s Woolf’s timeless novel into the sensual world of the stage, where identity is learned and unlearned. Join the ensemble as they salsa dance with gender, dash through carefully cut English gardens and land centuries farther than they began, but with the same question: Can we learn who we truly are in a world constructed to tell us who we should be?

    The students performing Orlando write about the premise of the production, the urgency of its themes and their deep work as artists. In the program notes they ask:

    “Orlando showcases the highs, lows, and complications of love. But not just love in the sense of relationships, but love in all its forms, love in all its beauty. How do we, in the 21st century, re-ground ourselves in our roots in nature?”

    Dramatic Arts student Alexandra Chubaty Boychuk has published an insightful and revealing look at the story of Orlando and this production in her article for DARTcritics.com: “Fluid identities onstage at DART: “The question generation” takes on Woolf and Ruhl’s Orlando”. Boychuk reviews some recent initiatives in contemporary theatre to represent voices that society “has tried to silence, especially those who identify as transgender or don’t identify with gender at all”:

    “Enter Orlando, a play that directly tackles questions of gender identity and how we perceive it. Orlando: A Biography was written by Virginia Woolf in 1928 and adapted into a play by Sarah Ruhl in 1998. The play follows the titular character through six centuries, starting with the reign of Elizabeth I and ending in the present day. When Orlando turns 30, they stop aging and go to sleep as a man and wake up as a woman.”

    Paige Hunt-Harman, the third-year student and actor who plays Orlando, tells us how important this work is to the students of the Department, and of Brock University:

    “We are now the question generation,” Hunt-Harman says. “We want to ask more questions; we want to challenge the norms that society has brought upon us and I really think that this play brings that to the forefront.”

    Dramaturge and fourth-year student Emily Clegg shares her thoughts about the play and their production:

    “What can be said about a play that goes through multiple centuries, including characters that all have very similar questions of identity? Perhaps what we can take from Orlando is the utmost joy in the difficulties of navigating our identities, and the resistance against the social world which tries to tell us who we should be, rather the who we actually are. It’s a beautiful tragedy that continues to mark our current moment in history.“

    Directed by Dramatic Arts faculty, Dr. David Fancy, the set, lighting and media is designed by Dramatic Arts alumnus James McCoy, with costumes designed by Hamilton-based designer and Dramatic Arts instructor Kelly Wolf and Sound Design by Dramatic Arts student James Dengate.

    Orlando showcases the talents of students in the Department of Dramatic Arts undergraduate program. Josh Loewen is the Assistant Director, Emily Clegg is the dramaturge and Frances Johnson is the Stage Manager, assisted by Peter Herbert. Performers include: Diego Blanco, Taj Crozier, Holly Hebert, Paige Hunt-Harman, Asenia Lyall, Sid Malcolm, Beth Martin, Nathan Rossi, and Jane Smith.

    The public presentation program of the Department of Dramatic Arts (brocku.ca/miwsfpa/dramatic-arts) is an integral part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate to contribute to regional cultural development and build community connections by engaging our audiences with the breadth of talent and creativity of the students, staff, guest artists and faculty of Brock University.

    This production premiered the weekend of October 25th through 27th. The final presentations are Friday Nov. 1 and Saturday Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m., at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines.

    Tickets are $20 for Adults or $16 for Students/Seniors and are available through the BrockU university tickets website. brocku.universitytickets.com
    Group Sales and special orders are available by contacting Brian Cumberland, Production Manager, at bcumberland@brocku.ca .

    Parking is not available on-site, however, there are more than 1,000 spots available in nearby parking garages, surface lots, and on city streets within a five-minute walk to our address at 15 Artists’ Common. Visit stcatharines.ca/en/livein/ParkingLotsGarages for a list of parking locations.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Media Releases, Performance Season, Plays, Uncategorised

  • Brock prof lands gig as Toronto Star theatre critic

    (Source: The Brock News, Thursday, March 3, 2016 | by )

    Professor Karen Fricker has spent the last three years training Brock University students to critique theatre.

    She will soon be practising what she teaches after landing the role of theatre critic for the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest, most-read newspaper.

    The Brock University Dramatic Arts assistant professor isn’t new to the theatre beat – her resume includes 25 years of experience for outlets including The Guardian and Variety. She was also the founding editor-in-chief of Irish Theatre Magazine, a publication that operated from 1998-2014.

    At the Star, Fricker will be reviewing major show openings in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Areas as well as writing feature articles.

    “It just feels like an un-dreamed-of privilege to get to have a platform like this at this point in my career,” she says. “Toronto is a really exciting and mature theatre market.”

    The theatre scene in the GTHA is rich with plenty of interesting things happening – from major musicals to performance art to original Canadian plays in storefront theatres.

    Fricker can’t wait to see them all and share her observations and critiques with Canadians.

    And, she’s looking forward to sharing her excitement with students, whose critiques are published  on Brock’s DARTcritics.com blog. She started the blog in 2013 to offer students an avenue to be published and edited.

    She plans to make sure her students benefit from the work she’s doing for the Star.

    “Students will gain a strong sense of connection and understanding of how professional arts criticism works,” she says.
    “They will have the opportunity to see their professor go through the same exercises they do and maybe even give her some feedback.”

    Fricker says she’s grateful to be working at Brock both because it’s an exciting time in the arts with the opening of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and because it’s a university that encourages professors to pursue their creative interests.

    “Being a creator, being an artist, has equal standing to being a scholar and producing peer-reviewed research,” she says.

    Fricker says the Star opportunity fits her creative and research interests of questioning arts criticism in the digital age.

    “I consider this a part of my research,” she says. “It’s a time of extraordinary possibility and growth for criticism.”

    DARTcritics.com is a response to that research interest and the question of how to turn an earnest blog into trusted criticism. The site has grown from a space for outstanding reviews by third-year students as part of their coursework to include reviews and features by students and recent graduates who are paid for their work. Fricker hopes that the site will continue to blossom into a year-round source of quality arts criticism in Niagara.

    Fricker’s role with the Star was announced Thursday. She’s looking forward to reviewing her first production for the paper this month.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Class blog takes centre stage with theatre criticism

    (Source: The Brock NewsFriday, July 3, 2015 | by . Photo: DARTcritics started as a class blog but has grown to fill the void of local arts criticism.)

    They call themselves critics with class.

    But more than being clever, the student writers behind the DARTcritics website are providing theatrephiles with thoughtful arts criticism about performances in Niagara and beyond.

    That wasn’t always its purpose, however. The two-year-old theatre review website, which was recently relaunched with a new look, started as a forum for Dramatic Arts Prof. Karen Fricker to post standout assignments by students in her theatre criticism class. But it soon became apparent the site served a larger purpose.

    DARTcritics picked up where slashed and shrunken newsrooms left off with their arts coverage. Other than a handful of metro and national dailies, few newsrooms boast a dedicated arts and entertainment reporter anymore, leaving a void to be filled.

    “What we discovered was that in some instances, the reviews that we published were among the only, if not the only, review response that productions would receive, because there is so little arts criticism in Niagara,” Fricker said. “This was a startling and empowering realization for the students — that they were in dialogue with art and artists in a privileged way.”

    Of course, seeing their names in print was nothing short of thrilling, too. Hayley Malouin was hooked the moment she got her first byline for her review of London Road, a musical about an English town coping with the murders of five of its women.

    “I thought ‘OK, we’ll see some shows,’” said Malouin, who signed up for Fricker’s class in her third year. “I wrote the first review and got it up on the blog and was ‘This is like crack.’”

    Being published was an incentive, but writing reviews for posting was ultimately a way for Malouin to use what she had learned from Fricker about articulating her opinions of a production beyond saying whether or not she like it.

    “I hated (London Road) and finding out why I hated it was so fun,” she explained. “It really changed my view of what happens in theatre. There’s this critical side to it – this analytical side to it…. I think you can be analytical and creative and that’s a really special thing.”

    Fricker, a former critic with The Guardian in the U.K., capitalized on the opportunity to turn DARTCritics into a bona fide source of arts criticism last April when Malouin and fellow student Nick Leno landed funding from BUSU to cover St. Catharines’ In the Soil Arts Festival.

    She also coached the duo to be editors and social media curators. This summer, they’re running the site like a newsroom with two staff writers, fourth-year DART students Elizabeth Amos and Alex Jackson. Together, they cover theatre in Hamilton, Niagara, Toronto and Stratford, thanks to support from the Match of Minds program run by the Office of Research Services and BUSU.

    The relaunch of the DARTcritics site coincides with this summer’s move of Dramatic Arts to the new home of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines, Fricker noted.

    “It’s such an exciting moment for the arts at Brock and in St. Catharines more broadly, with the new First Ontario Performing Arts Centre opening in the autumn, as well as our own building,” she said. “This seemed the perfect occasion for us to take DARTcritics to a new level with a new look, and more reviews.”

    Fricker will resume the editor’s post when classes resume in the fall, but for summer, the site is “Nick and Hayley’s baby.”

    “It’s a great experience of entrepreneurialism and leadership for them.”

    It has also carved out a potential career path for Malouin. Theatre criticism has become something she would like to pursue further, either as a freelance writer or by developing her own theatre review site.

    Still, there has been one downside to being a DARTcritic: it’s tough to shut off and watch a show for pleasure.

    “I see theatre and can’t not be critical now,” Malouin said. “People see that as a negative but it’s not. I’m always on now when I see a show. I do wish I could go see a Mirvish show and say ‘That’s great!’”

    Visit DARTcritics

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

  • Dramatic Arts is Digging In The Soil

    Brock students, staff, alumni and volunteers brought downtown St. Catharines to life April 25-27, 2014 as the In The Soil festival once again took over the core for a weekend of creative arts, entertainment and more.

    The three-day multidisciplinary arts fest, now in its sixth year, kicked off Friday at 5 p.m. with a performance by the Woodshed Orchestra at the Festival Hub on St. Paul St. between James and Carlisle Streets, closed off to vehicle traffic.

    The annual showcase for Niagara’s budding creative arts scene expected to draw more than 400 artists and 5,000 attendees to the city for the three-day weekend festival.

    Check out the 2014 festival’s promo video here.

    “With more than 140 acts, artisans and installations to check out, this is truly a festival that celebrates and highlights the arts in Niagara and beyond,” says Sara Palmieri, Committee Chair for In The Soil.

    This year’s festival also included a 50-foot-high ferris wheel right on St. Paul St. – a first for the City of St. Catharines. Thrill–seekers caught glimpses of the adjacent Academic and Cultural Arts Centre and future home of Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts , both under construction for their 2015 opening.

    Other festival highlights included musical performances by Canadian hip-hop artist Buck 65; Billy Martin, drummer with the New York City-based jazz-funk trio Medeski Martin & Wood; and St. Catharines-based group Creature Speak.

    There was also live theatre and comedy such as Paper Song by Concrete Theatre group; The Dirty Cabaret III by St. Catharines theatre company Suitcase in Point; and The Al Borland Band or Tool Time Take Two by local artist Danny Fast.

    Not to mention art and photography installations around downtown like Adam CK Vollick’s Frame of Reference and a Vendor Bender marketplace, both at the Festival Hub. Just to name a few of the many things to see and do.

    Check out the full schedule at inthesoil.on.ca

    DART alumni and students involved with In the Soil in 2014 include Colin Bruce Anthes, Genevieve Bain, Stephanie Baxter, Brent Cairns, Edwin Conroy Jr., Miles Coverdale, Dawn Crysler, Brian Foster, Collin Glavac, Geoffrey Heaney, Nathan Heuchan, Saide Isaak, Deanna Jones, Katelyn Lander, Nicholas Leno, Bri Lidstone, Anna MacAlpine, Nathan Tanner MacDonald, Karen McDonald, Hayley Malouin, Dylan Mawson, Tanisha Minson, Erica Nauta, Kendra Neaves, Natasha Pedros,  Jonathan Phillips, Caitlin Popek, Rachel Romanoski, Marcus Schwan, Nicole Titus, Annie Wilson, among others.  Three new plays written by DART alumni and students were premiered: a-PIE-calypso NOW!!! by Geoffrey Heaney and Nathan Tanner Mac Donald, Onceadapted for the stage by Colin Bruce Anthes, and The After Year by Anna MacAlpine and Tanisha Minson.

    Dramatic Arts Students Hayley Malouin and Nick Leno blogged about the In the Soil Festival in a variety of formats (features, interviews, reviews, etc). You can find their posts at the DARTcritics blog http://dartcritics.com/ Be certain to check out their sign-off at dartcritics.com/2014/05/01/thats-a-wrap/

    In The Soil is produced by Suitcase in Point Theatre Company – whose artistic director Deanna Jones and general manager Annie Wilson are both alumnae of Brock’s dramatic arts program – with many community partners, sponsors and funders from all levels of government.

    Including content by Jeff Sinibaldi published in the article “Brock well represented at In The Soil downtown arts festival” by The Brock News.

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, 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