Image: Roberta Doylend and the late Marilyn Walker working on the Tree of Learning, a nine-foot-tall quilt that incorporates uncommon fabrics and techniques from textile and fibre art to depict a dream about studying the arts, now displayed in the MIWSFPA. Credit: Norris Walker
Roberta Doylend looks to exit stage left, as she sets to retire on May 31, 2022.
Doylend is Head of Wardrobe at the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), in addition to running the costume shop and storage for the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART).
She has over a decade of fond memories to look back on, as well as a storage room full of breathtaking costumes to show for her passion and devotion. From day one, she has committed all her time to the DART program and its students.
“I arrived at the Thistle side of the department with my suitcase and my dog in the morning after a red-eye flight from Victoria,” she says reflecting on her first day at Brock. “It has been a whirlwind of teaching, creating theatre and supporting the next generation of theatre creators,” she adds.
She’s found joy in every aspect of her position and beyond the love of teaching, there are certain moments that stand out for her.
“For my first several years at Brock, I designed and dressed students for the Annual General Brock’s Soiree. Over the years, the Soiree was the event to attend, dress up and meet The General (Sir Isaac Brock). Dressing students in period clothing from 1812, to the final celebration of Brock’s 50th Anniversary with original ’60s clothing on 30 plus student interpreters. Lots of work, but so much fun,” she says.
“The transformative announcement by Marilyn and Norris Walker to create a School for Artists was a significant milestone. Being able to design the Costume Shop and Storage and having several years to teach students in our stunning new facility is a dream realized,” she says.
Over the years, Doylend has contributed to the evolution of the department. Developing many production courses with students, for mainstage and festival performances on both the Brock Main Campus and the Downtown Campus.
Doylend may be leaving the school, but it seems her journey in the Dramatic Arts doesn’t end here. With all her experiences and passion in hand, she sets her eyes on a long-awaited homecoming.
“I am returning to my roots as a Costume Designer and business owner on Vancouver Island. I look forward to designing costumes for live theatre and working at my new company that will facilitate the re-creation of vintage products, techniques and repair over purchasing new,” said Doylend.
She sees this new opportunity to not only continue teaching and inspiring young theatre costumers, but also as a way she can continue to do something she loves.
“I will offer drafting, stitching, specialty craft workshops and mentor theatre costumers in an atelier in Chemainus, BC.”
Doylend has been and will always remain a beloved faculty member. While she will be missed by faculty, staff, and students at the Marilyn, we know she will bring the same spirit of enjoyment to her amazing new journey.
There is a celebration in the works for May 31 starting at 4:00 pm in the Wardrobe Shop where students, alumni and colleagues are welcome.