Articles tagged with: FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

  • 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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    Categories: Announcements, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Much work to be done on live theatre’s road to recovery, says Brock prof

    Brock Dramatic Arts graduate Amanda McDonnell (BA ’15), who is part of the front of house team at the Shaw Festival, welcomed audiences back this summer. Photo credit: Michelle Mohammed. 

    THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 2021 | by 

    After 17 months, the live theatrical experience is slowly making its return — but not without challenges ahead, says Brock theatre expert Karen Fricker.

    “Amidst the adversity that live performing arts have been faced with through the pandemic, a wonderful thing has happened this summer: the return of live theatrical performance, because it has been able to be outside,” says the Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Officer in Dramatic Arts (DART), who is an expert in theatre criticism, theatre theory and contemporary theatre.

    The Shaw and Stratford Festivals, two of Ontario’s most celebrated repertory companies, have been staging performances outdoors under canopies (tents with no walls) with mandatory masks for audiences in addition to capacity limits in accordance with provincial guidance. Both festivals are taking audience, artist and staff safety seriously, with COVID-19 protocols in place, says Fricker, who is also a theatre critic for the Toronto Star, writing about performances in the city as well as the Shaw and Stratford Festivals each summer.

    Although these outdoor performances do not come close to hosting the usual number of spectators, Fricker says this is a “big step in the right direction.”

    “Artists are being paid and creativity is happening,” she says, adding that while “innovative digital work has been heroic during the pandemic, experiencing live performances in a shared space is a joyous return.”

    Brock’s Dramatic Arts Department engages with the Shaw Festival in numerous ways, including the annual DART/Shaw internship and course-based experiences with Shaw artists and arts workers. A number of DART students and graduates work at the festival in front of house, producing and administration, and creative capacities.

    Seeing some of those familiar faces at Shaw this summer has been a particular highlight, Fricker says.

    While outdoor performances are a step in the right direction, Fricker says there is still more work to do. There will be limited live, in-person programming in the performing arts sector this fall, mainly due to unclear guidance from the provincial government around reopening, she says.

    In the early summer, the performing arts industry lobbied the government to address live performances in the official stages of reopening. Now that the performing arts have been included, companies have been able to plan. However, “you can’t just lift a theatre production off in a few weeks; you need a runway,” Fricker says.

    Colleen Smith, Executive Director of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) adjacent to Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, says the team at the PAC has experienced these challenges first-hand.

    “Never did any of us whose lives revolve around bringing together artists and audiences believe that we would witness the end of the age-old adage, ‘the show must go on,’” she says. “In fact, the show stopped for months at a time. It’s been an unbelievable period of disruption, heartache and loss of purpose for so many artists and arts workers.”

    Smith says that “buoyed by our partners at the City of St. Catharines and Brock University, as well as the support from our Board of Directors, we have used the first half of 2021 to develop a three-year recovery strategy that will place the PAC firmly within our community as a centre for creative and artistic experiences and learning.”

    The PAC is planning a gradual return, starting with the annual Celebration of Nations gathering, which will be in a hybrid format in September.

    Among the local theatre organizations taking important steps to make innovative work and engage the public in Niagara safely is the young people’s theatre company Carousel Players, which is focusing on new play development in August and September.

    “We are experimenting with a range of forms, including clown, puppetry and mask,” says Artistic Director and Brock graduate Monica Dufault (MA ’11). “We want to offer new pieces that are dynamic and theatrically alive when we meet our audiences again.”

    The company will present an outdoor performance, The Giant Puppet Party, for Culture Days in October, a new digital play for ages 12 to 17 called Meet Chloe starting in November, and a school touring production of The Velveteen Rabbit for ages four to seven in March 2022.

    Suitcase in Point, another St. Catharines-based theatre company, recently announced the launch of a reimagined In the Soil Arts Festival running Friday, Aug. 27 to Saturday, Sept. 25. The festival includes opportunities to see live, original theatre, new music, comedy acts, installations and participatory workshops. All-inclusive festival passes are available for purchase online.

    DART graduate Deanna Jones (BA ’02), the Artistic Director of Suitcase in Point and In the Soil, says the limits of the last 17 months have been a “unique test on our arts organization and the arts community at large.”

    “We knew this 13th edition of our annual In the Soil Arts Festival would be different, and we were determined to find inspired ways to get off of our screens and offer artists and audiences safe ways to connect — in person.”

    During In the Soil, artists from Essential Collective Theatre will be set up on James and St. Paul Street interviewing community members about their pandemic experiences. Working on this initiative are DART graduates Jordine de Guzman (BA ’20), Kristina Ojaperv (BA ’19) and Ren Reid (BA ’20). The project will culminate in the Pandemic Stories Project, a new play to be read at St. Catharines’ Culture Days in early October.

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

  • The show must go on: Brock prof encouraged by theatre’s resiliency in midst of cancellations

    Karen Fricker, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts, says that despite the impact of COVID-19 on the performing arts, she’s encouraged by what she’s seen from the industry.

    (published WEDNESDAY, APRIL 08, 2020| by The Brock News {Alison Innes})

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating blow on the performing arts, but a Brock University Dramatic Arts professor is encouraged by what she has seen from the industry.

    “A vibrant industry went to ground over a matter of days, with theatres at first announcing cancelled or postponed productions and then, in most cases, cancelling the remainder of their winter-spring seasons,” says Karen Fricker, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts and theatre critic for the Toronto Star. “Most performing artists are precarious gig workers who are seeing current and future bookings evaporate.”

    In St. Catharines, arts organizations including the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, the Meridian Centre, Essential Collective Theatre and Carousel Players are among those that have cancelled or postponed programming through May.

    The Stratford Festival has cancelled performances through to late May, and Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Shaw Festival through June. While Shaw has not laid-off workers and is conducting rehearsals online, Stratford has temporarily laid off 470 employees, including actors, technicians and box office workers.

    But Fricker sees hope among the gloomy news.

    “Theatre companies and artists have been demonstrating amazing resilience and ingenuity during this time of crisis,” she says. “A lot of activity has gone online.”

    Essential Collective Theatre is turning its annual vaudeville fundraiser into an online affair. “Quarantine Cabaret” will feature short video recordings of various acts, including singing, magic, clowning, drag and melodramatic readings, which will be live-streamed at the end of April.

    Several Toronto-based companies are putting on telephone plays: one-on-one shows in which an audience member gets a hand-made personal story delivered to them over the phone, says Fricker.

    “DLT (DopoLavoro Teatrale), known to local audiences for their immersive shows including That Ugly Mess that Happened in St. Catharines, is producing a series of phone and online performances,” says Fricker. Some of the performances are inspired by Boccacio’s Decameron, a 14thcentury collection of novellas about a group of youth sheltering outside Florence to escape the Black Death.

    “I have been uplifted by engaging with online theatre over the past few weeks,” Fricker says.

    “Watching theatre this way is not the same as sharing the same physical space and time with fellow audience members and the artists themselves, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lesser experience. It’s different, and theatres and audiences alike are adapting to what is, for now, the new normal.”

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News, Performance Season

  • Meaningful Movements Reshape: Come to the Edge at Brock University and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

    (From: The Sound, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2019 | by Kerry Duncan)

    Being invited into a space not built by you, or for you, offers the inherent need for trust and vulnerability. When audiences entered into the Come to the Edge Cafe on August 24/25 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, audience members were transported to a land of imagination built by, and for, wheelchair users with Cerebral Palsy (CP). This evolving storyscape replaced the traditional confines of theatre with an unlimited creation of shape and space, prioritizing the communication options for performers and participants with CP. The team working on this production aimed to foster an empathetic and reflective space for participants to sit in a potential level of unknown, discomfort, and to ultimately trust that they could not necessarily know the answers to questions like ‘Where are we? What’s it like to not know exactly what’s happening around you? What’s it like when you have to re-evaluate the things that don’t exactly apply?’.

    Come to the Edge is a collaborative development of immersive theatre, creating a new understanding of performance through dance, play, and improvisation. The central performance elements built by and for the Imagining Possibilities Leadership Team, made up of automatic and manual wheelchair users with CP. The group has been working with St. Catharines based creative collaborators from the March of Dimes Canada and the Brain Injury Community PET (Personal Effectiveness Training) Re-Entry Program to welcome audiences to trust in the idea that ‘not knowing’ is an opportunity for learning and empathy. The performances are supported by facilitators Jenny Jimenez and Stephen Sillett from Toronto-based organization, Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID), as well as a much broader team of musicians, artists, and support workers.

    With a long-standing history in St. Catharines, the ADCID has been working with the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) since 2016 with the first iteration of Imagining Possibilities, the precursor to Come to the Edge. As a facility that was built under the universal standards of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) for inclusive physically spaces, this began a longstanding partnership for reshaping how St. Catharines builds and understands performance theatre. Professor David Vivian, Director of the MIWSFPA and an ongoing collaborator with ADCID explained that “Inviting the lead artistic team to join us and local artists in our first spring season at the MIWSFPA theatre was one of the highlights of our inaugural year in 2015-16. Come to the Edge is a long term project that has continued to develop over the years and bring together artists in a number of Ontario communities”.

    The development of the show over the past several years has taken this community and discussions about it global with performances and workshops in Toronto, Belgium, Prague, Hamilton and St. Catharines. Connecting with the Imaging Possibilities Movement through the Engaging Possibilities project at Brock University in 2015, Kris Daunoravicius has been involved with the growth and evolution of this project ever since. A local to St. Catharines and core member of the Leadership Team, Daunoravicus travelled with the ADCID team to Belgium in 2017 for a week of Envisioned Scenography workshops for the disability-focused Huize Eyckerheyde Residence. In speaking with Daunoravicus and Elaine Drover, another member of the Leadership Team, both utilized a range of augmented technology, body movement, facial expressions, and sound to showcase the range of experiences and stories that were being brought into the creative process during the years of work it took to create the latest version of this production.

    In speaking with Come to the Edge performer and ADCID collaborator, Frank Hull and long-time Leadership Team member Laura Leskur, they shared how the creation of this show was rooted in growing one another’s understandings of the other performers, and building a movement vocabulary unique to each performer and each moment of interaction. With a long-term career as a professional wheelchair dancer, Hull spoke to the multiple layers of relationality and equity between those involved in the show, “there has to be those moments where we are becoming equal together, regardless of how my ability may be different from Laura’s. But if we are moving together, we need to find a way to move together and not overpower one another”.

    As a verbal CP performer, he explained that “my world is very instant when I communicate. What I’m learning with this group is I’m facing my own ableism. It got me thinking about how from my role I have not been patient enough, not just with this group”. He elaborated on his reflections of needing to be more cognizant of not finishing other people’s sentences, but instead, learned to give people time to communicate within their abilities in order to share and explain their perspectives on the situation. Utilizing her bespoke communication board system*, Leskur also elaborated on these points, highlighting the necessity for patience as to “not miss the magical moments” and the necessity of utilizing body movements and the range of abilities in each performers arms and legs to construct meaningful exchanges.

    In discussing the necessity of moving towards an inclusive way of facilitating theatre for the performers, Sillett explained that “we created the processes with the community of those who are non-verbal in mind. There’s a lot of routes we could take which would be much easier to get an impact in the short-term, but it wasn’t our aim to go there. Our aim was to try and work honouring the deep engagement. The idea of re-establishing the relationship between the audience, and what their journey is going to be, the community making it”. Hull asserted that his role in adding the movement and dance elements to the show has been “a dream come true to work with manual and power wheelchairs to create movement together,” emphasizing the liberation of spaces focused on the lived experiences of the team rather than a more traditional methodology of prioritizing the audience.

    In reflecting on his work with the Imagining Possibilities Movement, Vivian explained how “my specific interests in working with the company lie in aspects of accessibility, universal design and the development process of improvisational, immersive performance spaces under very specific conditions. It has been a very humbling learning experience that we will adapt for my university course development and professional practice”. Breaking from the expected traditions of theatre development, the broad range of creative in communities in St. Catharines can take the fundamental ideas of change to expand who is in the audience, who is on stage, and how can we expand the experiences and interactions between these world.

    *Laura Leskur’s communication board is a bespoke system created at Bloorview and extended over the years. Laura has now memorized 1000 words with corresponding numbers. Elaine Drover and and Christine Jimenez have experience using Blissymbols to communicate. Blissymbolics is a semantic graphical language that is currently composed of more than 5000 authorized symbols – Bliss-characters and Bliss-words. It is a generative language that allows its users to create new Bliss-words as needed. It is used by individuals with severe speech and physical impairments around the world, but also by others for language learning and support, or just for the fascination and joy of this unique language representation. Elaine and Christine are both on the Board for Bliss Communication Institute Canada. See blissymbolics.org for more information.

    [The creators and producers of Come to the Edge wish to thank the Department of Dramatic Arts of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University, for the generosity of their support by providing rehearsal space and technical support in the studios and the MIW Theatre through July and August 2019.

    The article was edited and amended for accuracy and reprinted with permission.]

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  • King Ubu tickets on sale now!

    Tickets for our spring mainstage presentation of King Ubu, presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts, are on sale now!

    The show runs from March 1 to 9 at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre.


    King Ubu

    Written by Alfred Jarry
    Translated by David Edney
    Directed by David Fancy
    Set and lighting by James McCoy
    Costumes by Jo Pacinda

    Alfred Jarry wrote King Ubu in the 1890’s in large part to poke fun at the idiocy, capriciousness and vanity of political and personal power. it is almost like its author could see into the future and predict the very political climate we are living in today.

    The character of King Ubu is a complete fool who talks about poop, loves himself a lot and kills everybody around him whenever he feels like it. He is a patriarch, a racist and a megalomaniac.

    His wife, Ma Ubu, is very much like Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth and pushes King Ubu to increasing feats of violence and narcissism. When they are not bickering or having food-fights, Ma Ubu demands King Ubu kill off their adversaries and take over the world. They spend the show chasing their enemies all over a fairy-tale-like Poland before sailing off into a sunset.

    In short: the Ubus are the ultimate reality TV show gone wrong.

    Read more about the performance.

    PERFORMANCES:
    Friday, March 1, 2019 @ 7:30 PM
    Saturday, March 2, 2019 @ 7:30 PM
    Sunday, March 3, 2019 @ 2:00 PM
    Friday, March 8, 2019 @ 11:30 AM
    Friday, March 8, 2019 @ 7:30 PM
    Saturday, March 9, 2019 @ 7:30 PM

    Tickets:
    $18 Adult
    $15 Student/Senior
    $12 Group (10+) each
    $5 EYEGO Highschool Student (with Valid ID upon ticket Pick-Up)

    General Admission seating.

    Performance location:
    The Marilyn I. Walker Theatre
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts – downtown campus – Brock University
    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, ON

    Tickets for all performances are available online through the Box Office of the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre. by email at boxoffice@firstontariopac.ca, or in person in downtown St. Catharines at 250 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines, ON, L2R 3M2.

    Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Holiday and summer hours may vary).

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  • Dramatic Arts grads in Toronto Fringe Festival spotlight

    (From The Brock News, Tuesday, August 18, 2018)

    Two plays featuring Brock Dramatic Arts graduates will be playing this week in Toronto as part of the Best of Fringe.

    First Dates, a play about love, loss and people aching to connect, is written and directed by Niagara Falls native and former DART student Wes Berger and features music by his brother, musician and Brock alumnus Aaron Berger (BA ’17).

    Also featured during the Best of Fringe event is Anywhere, the newest work by award-winning playwright Michael Ross Albert starring Brock alumna Cass Van Wyck (BA ’13). The thriller, set in an Airbnb, follows a cordial relationship between strangers that escalates into a tense battle for control.

    Anywhere and First Dates were both selected as 2018 Patron’s Picks at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

    “On behalf of the department, we want to congratulate Wes, Cass and Aaron,” says Professor Joe Norris, Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts. “As always, we celebrate our students’ successes and are pleased their hard and talented work is recognized in the Ontario theatre community.”

    The Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival provides opportunities for emerging and established artists to share their productions with the community in an affordable and accessible way. The Best of Fringe remounts selected productions at the Studio Theatre, Toronto Centre for the Arts to give patrons a second chance to see the shows.

    Also in July was the Hamilton Fringe Festival, which showcased another production filled with Brock talent. September Songs was directed by Colin Bruce Anthes (BA ’14) and featured five Brock grads. The show will be coming to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Nov. 1 to 3.

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  • MIWSFPA offers ticket promotion in honour of International Women’s Day

    Brock Dramatic Arts students Manchari Paranthahan and Meryl Ochoa in the production of Top Girls playing at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts March 2 to 10.

    (Source: The Brock News | Wednesday, March 13, 2018)

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is offering a special Top Girls promotion in honour of International Women’s Day.

    Tickets for the Brock production’s March 9 and 10 performances will be two for the price of one when buyers mention International Women’s Day.

    The promotion will be available in person at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office or by phone at 905-688-0722. Box office hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Top Girls, Brock’s second mainstage production of the year, is a contemporary play that takes a critical look at women and their relationship to power and success.

    More information on the show is available on the Brock News.

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  • Community collaboration leads to a new play by Brock prof

    (Source: The Brock News | Monday, February 12, 2018 by Alison Innes)

    It was a simple, yet powerful statement.

    “We need to pay attention to the lives of Niagara’s migrant agricultural workers,” René Lopez, a worker advocate, said to Brock University Associate Professor David Fancy in 2010.

    That conversation began a journey of community collaboration that lead to the production of Our Lady of Delicias by the Essential Collective Theatre, which runs from Friday, Feb. 23 until Sunday, March 4 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    Fancy, a professor with the Dramatic Arts program, collaborated with dozens of migrant workers and Dramatic Arts students for two years to develop the play. The story features the character of Rangel, a Mexican migrant worker who has been travelling to Canada for years to work in the vineyards and greenhouses of Niagara.

    “I’m excited by this new script,” says Essential Collective Theatres’ Monica Dufault, a long-term Brock instructor who is directing the production. “It explores migrant worker issues in considerable depth with a real artistry that I’m keen to share with audiences.”

    “Having lived in Niagara for more than a dozen years now, I still feel that this is a reality that is consciously ignored: the lives of people who are our neighbours,” says Fancy.

    The cast of four, including Carla Melo, Juan Carlos Velis, Camila Diaz-Varela and Josée Young, features an exceptional range of Canadian acting talent with extensive stage and screen credits. Brock Dramatic Arts graduates James McCoy and Jo Pacinda are creating the design and costume design for the production.

    What: Our Lady of Delicias, performed by the Essential Collective Theatre

    When: Friday, Feb. 23 to Sunday, March 4

    Where: Robertson Theatre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

    SPECIAL OFFER: Present your ECT show program or ticket stub to receive a 20% discount on tickets for Top Girls presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts!

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  • 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

  • POOR

    By Essential Collective Theatre

    Co-presented by FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre with production assistance by the Department of Dramatic Arts

    Showtimes: February 18 – 28, 2016: Tuesdays – Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 2pm

    Tickets are available at firstontariopac.ca

    Location: Robertson Theatre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines

    A new one-woman play by Vancouver playwright Suzanne Ristic, this darkly comic piece was first produced in 2014 at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. ECT’s production will be performed by DART part-time faculty member Monica Dufault and will be directed by Kim Selody, Artistic Director of Presentation HouseTheatre.

    The play centres on an ultra rich Canadian woman, Shelly Cormorant, who pretends to be homeless in order to better understand the plight of the 99%. A contemporary Marie-Antoinette in her ignorance, Shelly unwittingly offends everyone she meets in her attempt to empathize with the “poor”, all the while taking advice from a vision of Scarlett O’Hara. She has sex with a homeless man, and is titillated by the prospect of continuing the liaison in the filth of this man’s squat. The man sees through her façade and seizes the opportunity to profit from their relationship. Ultimately, Shelly loses her status and power, and makes a desperate attempt to affect real change through an act of terrorism.

    This script explores current socio-economic disparity through the character of a woman of extreme privilege and her oblivious attitude toward the rest of the world. Shelly is at once detestable and hilarious, outrageous and pitiable. She recognizes that her status as a “trophy wife” (as the character self identifies) is embedded in her physical appearance,  and that this currency is quickly diminishing as she ages. Her rebellion against the valuation of women based on their looks is tied up with her drive to play at being impoverished.

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    Categories: Events, Plays