Articles tagged with: Department of Dramatic Arts

  • Brock mainstage production puts human behaviour, climate crisis in spotlight

    Brock University Dramatic Arts students will explore a variety of complex topics in AnthropoScene, this year’s fall mainstage production.


    Originally published in The Brock News | FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) is inviting the community to experience a journey through time and place in AnthropoScene.

    The fall mainstage production explores how the alienation that results from humans’ supremacist behaviour towards one another contributes to the climate crisis, as well as engages the ethics of theatricalizing the present climate emergency.

    AnthropoScene playfully mingles elements of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, real-life figures including Toussaint L’Ouverture and various youth climate justice activists, and fictional characters across multiple locations and time periods.

    The production, which debuts Friday, Oct. 28 and continues into the first week of November, involves one of the largest groups of students, faculty and staff in recent years. Twelve DART students will perform, as 30 others assist in creative and backstage roles. This original work is written and directed by David Fancy, designed by David Vivian, and choreographed by Trevor Copp and Colin Anthes, with live music performed by Devon Fornelli.

    “I’m so pleased at the skill and talent of the many students involved in creating this production, from actors to assistant designers, directors and sound designers — the list goes on,” says Fancy, a Brock DART Professor.

    Conveying so many complex elements within the production has been no easy task, but one the cast and crew have handled impressively, he says.

    “Our Dramatic Arts students have really shown courage and insight in dealing with the challenging materials that this play covers: self-harm, racism and environmental harm,” Fancy says. “They have also brought great verve and joy to the choreography, company dance numbers and comedic aspects of the project.”

    To help immerse audiences in multiple locations and time periods, the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre has taken on a new form.

    “I imagine the audience having an experience of poetry, drama, comedy, dance, beautiful design, light and sound that will transport them to different places and times,” Fancy says. “I’ve configured the theatre differently than it usually is in order to help the audience feel they are being brought somewhere else.”

    AnthropoScene opens Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances on Oct. 29 and 30, and Nov. 4 and 5. All shows take place at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre in Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in Downtown St. Catharines.

    roundtable discussion, also open to the public, will take place on the production stage Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m., with a panel of experts from Brock and other institutions discussing topics related to staging planetary evolution and destruction.

    Brock Professor of Art Education Fiona Blaikie will lead the discussion alongside Fancy; Vivian; Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Brock’s Posthumanism Research Institute; Katrina Dunn, Assistant Professor in the University of Manitoba’s Department of English, Theatre, Film and Media; Lin Snelling, a dancer whose artistic practice brings the qualities of improvisation into dance, theatre, writing, visual art and somatic practice; and Priya Thomas, Assistant Professor of Dramatic Arts at Brock.

    Tickets for AnthropoScene are $20 for the general public and $16 for students and seniors. For a full schedule of performances or to purchase tickets, visit the Brock University Tickets website.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Performance Season, Plays

  • Voice exploration workshop to be hosted at downtown arts school

    Diane Roberts is the founder of the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process, which draws on 30 years of experience and 12 years of focused artistic research.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    A new workshop this winter will help participants develop a deeper understanding of and stronger relationship with their voice.

    Breathing New Legacies Forward, a Moving Voice Institute intensive, will be hosted Thursday, Dec. 15 to Sunday, Dec. 18 at Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) in downtown St. Catharines. Led by industry specialists Gayle Murphy, Diane Roberts, Gary Logan and Gerry Trentham, Founder and Artistic Director of Pounds Per Square Inch Performance (lbs/sq”), the four-day workshop explores transformative vocal and physical explorations that extend range and deepen presence.

    “It’s a process that is different for everyone,” says Department of Dramatic Arts Associate Professor Danielle Wilson. “There is a connection between the voice, breath and body that the Moving Voice Institute researches. We are excited to have them come to the MIWSFPA this winter and lead this exploratory retreat devoted to the voice.”

    Through the course of this workshop, participants will examine and experience the connections between voice, text and breath in the morning sessions. In the afternoon, participants will work alongside Roberts, an African-Caribbean Canadian theatre practitioner and educator.

    Roberts is the founder of the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process, which draws on 30 years of experience and 12 years of focused artistic research. This work invites participants to consider ancestry as an essential aspect of evolving authority in their voice and body presence.

    Wilson expressed a deep interest in the process because of the strong ties to her personal research in voice and performance.

    “I wanted to experience the Arrivals Legacy work. Participating in the process is essential because voice work is a somatic practice. Experiencing the work is the research,” Wilson says. “We all have a relationship with our voice and this intensive gives participants an opportunity to deepen their relationship with their voice and own their unique sound, regardless of what they do professionally.”

    Breathing New Legacies Forward will be the first voice workshop since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Wilson says being connected and in the same room as those who are exploring, hearing and finding their voice is truly special. She encourages anyone interested to take this opportunity to discover a deeper connection with their voice.

    This workshop is open to all Brock community members and the public. More information can be found on the lbs/sq” website. Registration is now open, with early bird registration closing on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

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  • Distinguished Graduate a class act in Canadian theatre

    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Though the spotlight may seem daunting to many people, it’s where Jordin Hall (BA ’10) feels most at home.

    The Brock Dramatic Arts graduate has found much success in his acting career and credits the groundwork he developed at Brock for helping to set his course.

    “Brock set the foundation for me early in my career. I learned how to respect the room, be diligent and work my craft,” says Hall, who was honoured during Brock’s Homecoming weekend as the Faculty of Humanities Distinguished Graduate Award recipient. “Those skills were all transferable and it immediately impacted my career following graduation.”

    Hall received his Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts with a performance concentration from Brock in 2010. Following graduation, he found success as an actor in Toronto, working with many independent theatre companies and performing in leading roles for several Shakespearean productions, including Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Winter’s Tale (Dauntless City Theatre), Titus Andronicus (Seven Siblings Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Humber River Shakespeare Company), and the title role of Othello for Driftwood Theatre.

    A woman on the left presenting a framed certificate to a male on the right pictured in front of a red backdrop.

    Carol Merriam, Dean of Brock’s Faculty of Humanities, presents Jordin Hall with the Faculty’s Distinguished Graduate Award at the Alumni Recognition Reception on Saturday, Sept. 24.

    Although he is now confident and eager to perform the works of Shakespeare, this wasn’t always the case.

    “From what I learned in high school, I thought I hated Shakespeare. In hindsight, this wasn’t the case at all; it was just how it was taught to us,” Hall says. “After breaking down the words and understanding how it was supposed to be read, I felt excited. I understood it and I was hungry for more.”

    Brock Dramatic Arts Professor Danielle Wilson says Hall was “always dedicated and driven.”

    “He was extremely passionate about performing even from a young age,” she says. “It was clear to me after a scene from Othello completed in one of my classes, he had an ability with language. He already knew how to use the words and had the voice to support them.”

    Following his success in Toronto, Hall found a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study classical theatre with the Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory.

    “It is a prestigious organization to be with and it’s every young theatre person’s dream to be part of the conservatory,” he says. “I remember I had my callback, and I didn’t really know how it went. When I got a call offering me a spot, it was surreal, and I was so excited. I was truly grateful for that opportunity.”

    After achieving his dream of working with the Birmingham Conservatory, Hall joined the Stratford acting ensemble in 2018. Since then, he has been part of seven Stratford productions, including his acclaimed leading role of Bertram in this year’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well.

    Dramatic Arts Professor David Fancy praised Hall’s impact as a professional in Canadian theatre.

    “Jordin was very engaged with critical issues of representation and made strong intelligent contributions as a student,” he says. “There have been barriers to inclusion historically for racialized individuals in Canadian theatre. The fact that he is now working at one of the most recognized cultural institutions in the country is a huge sign of success.”

    As for what’s next, Hall says he wants to continue pursuing his craft.

    “In many ways, I am still finding my way as a performer, and I can’t say for sure what the future holds, but I can see myself with the Stratford Festival for a while,” he says. “I enjoy it and hope that we can continue to produce more great work together.”

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  • Annual Dramatic Arts Orientation brings students, faculty, and staff together

    Department of Dramatic Arts Chair Jennifer Roberts-Smith makes opening introductions to students, faculty, and staff.


    The annual Department of Dramatic Arts Orientation was held on Sept. 13, 2022. This event was an opportunity for all new and returning students to meet with the staff, faculty, and organizations they would be interacting with this upcoming year.

    Department Chair, Jennifer Roberts-Smith, started with opening remarks and then welcomed all faculty and staff members to the stage. Cheers filled the theatre as the faculty and staff introduced themselves and the roles. Associate Professor Danielle Wilson, who is DART’s Undergraduate Program Officer, hosted and welcomed other theatre-associated groups and clubs that are open to all students.

    With introductions out of the way, students were sent off in groups throughout the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on a scavenger hunt. This allowed many new students to become more familiar with the facilities and befriend some upper-year classmates with more experience in their programs. This opportunity was an enriching and fun-filled event that brought the department together and provided some much-needed introductions as the new academic year begins to shape.

     

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  • Canada Games Research Spotlight: Karen Fricker

    Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts Karen Fricker is leading a research team that is exploring connections between water sports, circus and spectators through their project “Circus on the Canal.”


    Originally published in The Brock News| THURSDAY, JULY 07, 2022

    NOTE: This is the latest in a series of Q&A stories featuring Brock University faculty members who are integrating the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games into their research projects. For more information on Brock’s academic activities around the Games, visit brocku.ca/canada-games

    Karen Fricker, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts, is author of the monograph, The Original Stage Productions of Robert Lepage: Making Theatre Global, which recently won the Canadian Association of Theatre Research’s 2022 Ann Saddlemyer Award for the best book on a Canadian theatre studies topic published in a given year. She is the co-director of the international research project Circus and its Others, a theatre critic at the Toronto Star and is involved in a number of research projects about the future of theatre criticism.

    Fricker is one of 11 Brock researchers and scholars who received funding under the 2020-21 round of the VPR Canada Games Grant program. Here, she discusses her research project titled “Circus on the Canal: Exploring connections between water sports, circus and spectators.” 

    Please give a brief overview of your research project. 

    Circus on the Canal is a collaboration between me and circus artist and producer Holly Treddenick of Femmes du Feu Creations, who is based in downtown Welland at the Bank Arts Centre.

    This summer, we are working on the second phase of this project; this phase, and the first phase, have been funded by the VPR Canada Games Grant program. In this phase, Holly will work with two Brock student athletes — one a diver, the other, swimmer Ashley Falconer — in further developing choreography for a circus performance inspired by the athletes’ physicality and embodiment. Initial work on this choreography happened during the first project phase in the summer of 2020. The project also involves Welland-based Indigenous artist Kitsuné Soleil, who is working with Holly on incorporating knowledge about the local waterways into the performance. Hamilton-based designer Tanis McArthur is the costume designer, and a local musician will also be part of the project.

    What do you expect will be the outcome of your research? 

    The outcome of this phase of the research will be an in-progress performance taking place Aug. 11 or 12 at the Lincoln Docks in Welland, at sunset. The audience for this free performance will include invited guests as well as any members of the community who would like to attend.

    How will this contribute to knowledge or understanding of the Canada Summer Games?  

    A central goal of the production is to explore links between high-performance athleticism and circus performance, both of which involve intensive physical training and a deep connection to the relationship between mind and body. The performance is intended to inspire audiences to consider these links and to appreciate the skill, dedication and mastery of Canada Games athletes and circus performers alike. The performance, which will be outdoors and highly visible, will heighten local awareness of the Games. The performance is also likely to enhance the experience of sports spectators and sportspeople by adding a creative and aesthetic element to the Games.

    How did you become interested in this research? 

    Contemporary circus is one of my central areas of research as a theatre and performance scholar. I am the co-director of the Circus and its Others (CaiO) international research network, which has organized three conferences (Montreal, 2016; Prague, 2018; Davis, 2021). We’re in the early stages of planning the next conference in Colombia in 2023 and are working on a co-edited special journal issue following the 2021 conference. It’s through my CaiO work that I got to know Holly, who is a dynamic producer and artist, and is passionate about bringing circus to Welland and the Niagara region, which is underserved for arts and culture.

    How do you plan on sharing your research?

    The outcome of this phase of the project is the public work-in-progress performance in August. There will be a social media campaign in the run-up to the performance that will further share knowledge and information about it.

    Do you have any advice or tips on how colleagues in your Faculty can incorporate the Canada Games into their research? 

    Be creative and think laterally!

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, Future students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Visiting Artists

  • Dramatic Arts criticism course returning to in-person theatre

    Image caption: Students in DART 3P94 Theatre Criticism will be experiencing a variety of live productions this summer after two years of digital offerings.

    Originally published in The Brock News | MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2022 | by 

    After two years of viewing performances online, Brock University students learning the art of theatre criticism will experience indoor, in-person theatre at the celebrated Stratford Festival and Shaw Festival Theatre.

    DART 3P94 Theatre Criticism is an online intensive Summer Term course run between July 11 and 22, bolstered by field trips to see live productions at Canada’s leading theatre companies.

    Taught by Karen Fricker, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts and theatre critic for The Toronto Star, the course introduces students to the practical craft of theatre criticism and dives into the theoretical background of the discipline.

    Fricker said that after two years of running the course during the pandemic and having students review digital theatre exclusively, it will be thrilling to view live productions again.

    “Both the Shaw and Stratford Festivals have full indoor seasons this year and I’m looking forward to bringing the course to shows there,” she said. “We’re setting up some post-show talks so that students will be able to ask questions about the productions they’ve seen with the artists who made them.”

    Stratford Festival is welcoming back audiences beginning in May with a season theme of ‘New Beginnings’ and featuring plays such as Hamlet and Little Women and the musical Chicago. The largest classical repertory theatre in North America celebrates a its milestone 70th year in 2022.

    Shaw Festival Theatre, in its 60th season, will feature 13 plays across three stages in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Productions include The Importance of Being EarnestEverybody and The Doctor’s Dilemma.

    After seeing productions, students will write and discuss responses to them and learn about alternative, digital, performative and visual forms of critical response, while engaging with theatre culture.

    Registration for Spring/Summer courses is now open through the Admissions website. Students interested in learning more about the course are encouraged to contact Fricker at kfricker@brocku.ca

    Learn more about the 2022 seasons at Stratford Festival and Shaw Festival Theatre online.

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  • Dramatic Arts instructor honoured at St. Catharines Arts Awards

    Image caption: Curtis Tye, winner of the Arts in Education Award at the 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards. Photo credit: Alex Heidbuechel, BLVD. Photography, courtesy of the City of St. Catharines.

    Published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, DECEMBER 02, 2021 | by 

    Brock University Dramatic Arts instructor Curtis Tye was among the winners of the 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards livestreamed from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) recently.

    At the ceremony held Sunday, Nov. 21, the Brock educator, arts facilitator and public speaking expert was named the recipient of the Arts in Education Award, which celebrates individuals and groups committed to engaging residents through arts education.

    For Tye, arts education is always a collective endeavour.

    “I like the idea of people learning in a community and partnering together. If people did not want to actively participate in learning, it wouldn’t happen in a successful way,” he said.

    Tye teaches DART 2P21 Drama in Education at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA). Along with teaching and a successful career as a corporate public speaking and leadership coach, he also serves as a committee member for Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute.

    Striving for an open and inclusive learning environment is a priority for him.

    “Both the students and my colleagues in Dramatic Arts are willing to take risks for what we think is important. This support and openness are key to a successful educational environment,” said Tye. “So many Brock folks understand how the arts can be used to study humanities and the human condition.”

    Tye’s passion for arts education extends to his work in the local arts community with Start Me Up Niagara, Willow Arts Community and past contributions as a former board member of Carousel Players.

    Other award winners from the Brock community included OPIRG Brock for the Making a Difference Award and Jean Bridge, retired Visual Arts faculty member and former professor of Digital Humanities for a Jury’s Pick Award.

    Watch the 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards ceremony courtesy of the PAC and the City of St. Catharines below:

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  • Audition and Casting Workshop for DART students, faculty and staff

    AUDITION AND CASTING WORKSHOP FOR DART STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND STAFF

    EVENT UPDATE: The Department regrets that the ongoing Brock University COVID-19 mitigation strategy requires that we pause our planned event: WCL Audition and Casting Workshop, with Kimberley Rampersad and Marcel Stewart, originally scheduled for Nov 28, 2021 and rescheduled for January 23, 2022. Please monitor your emails for forthcoming information about the learning, research, and presentations we will continue in our series on Transformation and Adaptation in Theatre Pedagogy and Training.

    Event Information:

    In this day-long event, Kimberley Rampersad and Marcel Stewart will lead workshops in equitable and safe audition and casting processes.The event is open to current DART students, faculty, and staff who have the option to attend as observers or as active participants in a mock-audition process.

    Those who wish to actively participate by auditioning are asked to have a two-minute monologue prepared. If there are more people wanting to audition than we have time to accommodate, we will draw names for those who will audition.

    Kimberley Rampersad is an actor, choreographer, director, and associate artistic director of the Shaw Festival.
    Marcel Stewart is an actor, writer, director, and arts educator.

    Registration closes Friday, Nov. 19

    REGISTER HERE: https://forms.office.com/r/MB1S7LNQNy

    This event is part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leaders series “Transformation and Adaptation in Theatre Pedagogy and Training” presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts.

     

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  • BIPOC theatre leaders to discuss new industry approaches at Brock event

    Theatre leaders participating in the upcoming Brock discussion panel include (top row, from left) Haui, Carmen Alatorre, (centre, from left) Shanna Miller, Samantha McCue, Wladimiro A. Woyno R., (bottom row, from left) Giselle Clarke-Trenaman and Kat Chin.

    Originally published in The Brock News Wednesday, | NOVEMBER 10, 2021 | by 

    Prominent Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) Canadian theatre production and design professionals will come together to discuss recent experiences in their fields and new strategies in production at an upcoming Brock University digital panel.

    This is the second event presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART)  in a new series as part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series (WCL Series), “Transformation and Adaptation in Theatre Pedagogy and Training.” The series is organized by DART Professors Karen Fricker and David Vivian with longtime instructor Carolyn Mackenzie.

    “Industry Panel with BIPOC Canadian Theatre Artists” will take place Monday, Nov. 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Zoom. The Brock and wider community are invited to attend and asked to register ahead of time on the Zoom registration page.

    Moderating the panel is Giselle Clarke-Trenaman, Production Co-ordinator at Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver and creator of Black History Matters, an educational program addressing gaps in Black history in elementary schools.

    Panelists include Haui, a mixed media director and designer working in theatre, opera and film; Samantha McCue, an Anishinaabekwe and Ned’u’ten theatre professional based in Ottawa; Carmen Alatorre, a Latinx artist and theatre designer based in Vancouver; Kat Chin, a Toronto-based stage manager who has worked across Canada, off-Broadway and at the Palace of Versailles; Shanna Miller, the Technical Director at Young Peoples Theatre; and Wladimiro A. Woyno R., a live performance designer and Assistant Professor of Theatre Production and Design at School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University.

    The panel will cover a range of topics, from how to bring more BIPOC artists to the theatre industry and cultivate new audiences, to the use of technology and how the pandemic has affected the performing arts industry.

    “We’ve invited these important artists from diverse fields of Canadian theatre design and production to share their journeys of the past 20 months and to encourage our students with the vision and passion that informs their professional practice,” said Vivian.

    “Whether through the lens of anti-racism, decolonization, accessibility or the drive for professional and economic sustainability, this evening promises a vivid invitation to join progressive voices for change in live performance and theatre production in Canada.”

    The third and final event in the DART WCL series is a daylong Casting and Audition workshop on Sunday, Nov. 28 for DART students, staff and faculty. This closing event will be led by Kimberley Rampersad, actor, choreographer, director and Associate Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival; and Marcel Stewart, actor, writer, director and arts educator.

    To learn more, please visit the WCL Series website.

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  • Brock community members nominated for St. Catharines Arts Awards

    Image caption: Artists and Instructors from Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Curtis Tye (left) and Barbara Worthy (right) are among the nominees for the 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards.

    Originally published in The Brock News WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 | by 

    The City of St. Catharines is gearing up to celebrate the local arts scene and those who champion it — including members of the Brock community.

    Among the City’s recently released nominees for the 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards are several individuals and one group who are connected to the University.

    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) instructors Curtis Tye and Barbara Worthy were nominated for the Arts in Education Award and Making a Difference Award, respectively.

    Other Brock nominees include alumna and musician Kathryn Sinopoli (BA ’13, BEd ’13), who received the nod for the Emerging Artist Award, and social, economic and environmental justice organization OPIRG Brock and retired Visual Arts faculty member Jean Bridge, who were both nominated for the Making a Difference Award.

    Tye, who has been an Instructor with the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) since 2013, is honoured to be nominated for the second year in a row in for the Arts in Education Award, which celebrates individuals and groups committed to engaging residents through arts education.

    “I have always believed learning through the arts is a collective endeavour — there is no single individual that makes that successful,” he said. “I am someone who helps facilitate group and collective success, and I believe in a common goal for learning.”

    Tye currently teaches DART 2P21 Drama in Education II and DART IP95 Creative Play for Education. Along with teaching and a successful career as a corporate public speaking and leadership coach, Tye also serves as a committee member for Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute.

    Worthy, a MIWSFPA Instructor famous for her energetic class warm-ups and always having her little white dog at her side, has taught in DART since 2006 and teaches at the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture. Currently, Worthy is teaching DART 3P92 Scriptwriting, to students in the Dramatic Arts, English and Creative Writing, Film and GAME programs. An experienced creative producer and writer, Worthy is also thrilled to be a part of the awards celebration.

    A former longtime producer for CBC Toronto and former actor with Shaw Festival, Worthy’s teaching philosophy is informed by her professional career in the arts and a strong belief in the importance of experiential learning.

    “What truly makes a difference to communities everywhere is the power of art, the power of drama and the power of the written word,” Worthy said. “Making a difference to me means providing students with access to the real world, specifically their local communities, where they can truly experience the arts for themselves.”

    The St. Catharines Arts Awards will be presented online Sunday, Nov. 21, livestreamed from the stage of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC).

    “The city’s cultural and artistic community has exploded in recent years — there are so many diverse voices and visions out there,” said Kathleen Powell, the City’s Acting Supervisor of Cultural Services. “These nominees represent some of the best our community has to offer, world-class talents who call St. Catharines home and step up to build a community we can all be proud of.”

    For more information about the arts awards and how to view the celebration, visit the City of St. Catharines website.

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