Articles tagged with: The Brock News

  • Popular One Act Festival returns to Marilyn I. Walker Theatre

    Dramatic Arts students in the Directing II course are presenting a series of short plays as part of the upcoming One Act Festival on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre.


    (From The Brock News, March 18, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    Brock’s Dramatic Arts students will bring the intricacies of human interaction, the banality of small-town life and even the future of ‘designer babies’ to the stage in the upcoming One Act Festival.

    Opening at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) on Friday, March 22, the popular One Act Festival will stage eight student-led productions in a two-night run.

    A yearly endeavour, the festival puts students in the Directing II course in the spotlight as they bring a selection of one-act plays to life. The students are responsible for the entire production process, including the selection of a script, auditioning the cast, rehearsing, designing the show and co-ordinating with the Dramatic Arts (DART) production team on all technical needs.

    The course’s instructor, Mike Griffin, said the One Act Festival is one of his favourite parts of the DART program.

    An exciting mentoring process happens, he explained, as students from all years collaborate to create theatre under the leadership of the third-year directing class.

    “As the student actors and directors come together, they put into practice the skills they have been developing throughout their courses, which supports them as they teach each other, grow as artists and inspire the next round of future directors,” he said.

    This year’s productions are all being presented under the theme ‘Rise.’

    Lauren Reid, a third-year DART major and Director of On the Porch One Crisp Spring Morning, said the inclusive and collaborative nature of the One Act Festival makes for a valuable learning experience.

    “Everyone is so open and willing to help me with this great opportunity and to make it the best it can be,” she said. “I have a great team on all sides that are there to support me whenever I need help, and I think this course is a great way for people to explore different opportunities within the DART and theatre community, in general.”

    For second-year DART student Holly Hebert, the festival allows her to “actively participate in the growth of a production.”

    “As an actor in Winter Games, Director Chris Murillo had us engage in a number of exercises that built our relationships, our impulses and developed our One Act to become an incredibly stimulating process,” she added.

    The students encourage the community to attend, promising the roster of shows in the festival are “emotionally active” and will often have audiences “on the edge of their seats.”

    The One Act Festival runs on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. each night. All shows take place in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre of the MIWSFPA at 15 Artists’ Common.

    Admission is pay-what-you-can at the door.

    For more information on the 2018 One Act Festival, visit the Current Season page on the DART website.

    One Act Festival 2019

    Inside the Department of the Exterior
    Directed by: Josh Loewen
    Playwright: Philip Hall
    Actors: Jared Geden, Samantha Rideout

    Another Sense
    Directed by: Rina Wilkins
    Playwright: Melissa Major
    Actors: Madison Andrews, Bianca Taylor

    Winter Games  
    Directed by:Chris Murillo
    Playwright: Rachel Bonds
    Actors: Alex Sykes, Holly Hebert, Leah Rantala

    The Worker
    Directed by: Rachel Frederick
    Playwright: Walter Wykes
    Actors: Paige Hunt-Harmon, Asenia Lyall, Diego Blanco

    Baby Factory  
    Directed by: Tyler Simpson
    Playwright: Stephen Bittrich
    Actors: Tristan Holmes, Luke Huffman, Meryl Ochoa, Nathan Rossi, Elizabeth Martin

    Nightstand  
    Directed by: Uchenna Edozie-Egbuna
    Playwright: Fergus Church
    Actors: Molly Lacey, Luca D’Amico

    One Night Fran
    Directed by: Frances Johnson
    Playwright: Adam Szudrich
    Actors: Kristina Miller, Aly Markov, Sarah Rowe

    On the Porch One Crisp Spring Morning
    Directed by: Lauren Reid
    Playwright: Alex Dremann
    Actors: Alexandra, Chubaty Boychuk and Joanna Tran

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News, Plays

  • Dramatic Arts students explore the theme of Expectation and Reality

    The popular One Act Festival is coming back to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts this weekend. Pictured is the performance of All by Myself from the 2017 One Act Festival directed by Naomi Richardson, designed by Chelsea Wilson and featuring Rebecca Downing, Jessica Johnson, Alex Boychuk, Lauren Reed and David Poirier.

    The popular One Act Festival is returning to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts this weekend.

    Students from the Dramatic Arts Directing II course (DART 3P54) have been hard at work developing their plays under the supervision and guidance of instructor Neil Silcox and teaching assistant Kevin Hobbs. The experiential course offers students practical and real-world experience as directors, dramaturges, performers, designers and theatre technicians, often for the first time.

    Silcox says “Brock does a great job of balancing out the theoretical and experiential aspects of dramatic arts” compared to the other programs he’s worked for.

    “Developing a strong understanding of theories and then being able to get on your feet and actually do it is the only way to learn to do performing arts,” Silcox says.

    Directing II students are responsible for selecting a script, auditioning a cast, rehearsing, designing the show and co-ordinating with the dramatic arts production team on all technical needs.

    This year, the festival is presenting six shows under the theme “Expectation and Reality.”

    Silcox says he discovered the theme “after reading through each of the students’ chosen acts side by side.”

    “We didn’t offer this theme to the students and make them try to select something,” he says.

    This process allows the students to have full control and individuality with their acts, but also challenges them to tweak their shows in a way that highlights the theme more.

    “Although it may seem cliché, audience members should expect the unexpected,” says Silcox.

    The shows range from century old to extremely contemporary, absurdism to strongly political, all exploring this year’s theme from a unique angle.

    Shows being presented this year include Articulation by Alicia Richardson, Your Mother’s Butt by Alan Ball, Echo by Joseph T. Shipley, The Little Stone House by George Calderon, The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco, and The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre by Allan Knee.

    All shows take place in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre of the MIWSFPA on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 starting at 7 p.m. each night. Admission is pay-what-you-can and limited paid parking is available nearby. For more information on the 2018 One Act Festival, visit the Dramatic Arts website.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, In the Media, News, Performance Season, Plays

  • Dramatic Arts offers three-day lineup of events

    Ruth Howard of Jumblies Theatre, Kerr Mesner of Arcadia University, and Lina de Guevara of Puente Theatre, will be part of three days of programming presented by Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts from March 15 to 17.

    It will be a busy week for Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts, with a theatrical performance, panel discussion and series of public workshops all lined up in a matter of three days.

    The programming, sponsored by the Walker Cultural Leader Series, takes place Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 17 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) in downtown St. Catharines.

    Kerr Mesner, of Pennsylvania’s Arcadia University, will kick-off the three-day lineup Thursday with the debut of In Transit: Artistic Interventions in Precarious Times. The one-person performance piece combines multimedia, live theatrical performance and audience engagement to create an evocative and thought-provoking dramatic experience. His autoethnographic theatrical piece explores the intersections of queer identities, Christianity’s contributions to anti-queer violence and the challenges of embodying transgender identities within current political contexts.

    Mesner weaves a story arc between live theatrical performances from his 2017 piece, In Transit, and multimedia excerpts from the film version of his 2014 play, Intervention, that was part of his doctoral dissertation.

    He performs in the Marilyn I. Walker (MIW) Theatre Thursday, March 15 from 7 to 9 p.m.

    On Friday, March 16, a panel discussion, “Tensions of Engagement in the Canadian Immigrant Theatre Context,” will take place in the MIW Theatre at 7 p.m.

    Ruth Howard of Jumblies Theatre, Lina de Guevara of Puente Theatre and Professor Yasmine Kandil of Brock University will discuss how applied theatre with immigrants and refugees in Canada has evolved over the past few decades. Moderated by Brock Professor Natalie Alvarez, the panel will examine whether the medium has had a positive and tangible impact on this community, and on settler Canadians.

    Kandil began her immigrant journey in Victoria, B.C., where she worked on multiple projects exploring celebration as a means for immigrant youth to claim a space in their new home. She is currently engaged in the second phase of devising a theatre piece that examines narratives of immigration and settlement for Brock students and local immigrants and refugees in relation to expectations, obstacles and assimilation.

    Beginning Saturday, March 17, Brock’s visiting scholars and theatre makers, including two panelists from the previous evening’s event, will present workshops about their work in the Dramatic Arts field.

    Howard, founder of Toronto-based Jumblies Theatre, explores her recent Four Lands touring project in a workshop held in Studio B of the MIWSFPA from 10 a.m. to noon. Her work on issues of diversity has won many awards. Jumblies Theatre is known for its work with minority groups, engaging non-artists and a larger spectrum of participants through community-based theatre.

    Following from 1 to 3 p.m. in Studio C will be de Guevara’s workshop, which examines the different tools used to research immigrant and refugee narratives. She was the first immigrant artist to establish a theatre company in Victoria that focused solely on promoting the narratives of immigration and settlement, with the purpose of bridging the gap between the minority group and predominantly white culture of Victoria. Her work has spread to other provinces in Canada since she began her Canadian journey almost 40 years ago.

    Admission to all three days of programming is free thanks to sponsorship from the Walker Cultural Leader Series, founded by Marilyn I. Walker. However, participants are asked to register for the March workshops in advance through Eventbrite.

    The Walker Cultural Leader Series brings leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University.

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, In the Media, News, Visiting Artists

  • 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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    Categories: Announcements, Events, In the Media, News, Plays

  • Acting exercise helps prepare co-op students for workplace

    From small talk at the water cooler to encounters with testy photocopiers, students embarking on co-op work-terms never quite know the situations they may experience in their new workplace.

    To help lessen stress and increase comfort heading into a new environment, Brock Dramatic Arts students recently visited their co-op peers to share some scenarios they may be faced with.

    Comprised primarily of Dramatic Arts students under the direction of Joe Norris, Dramatic Arts Chair and Professor of Drama in Education and Applied Theatre, Mirror Theatre spent time in three Co-op Education classes over the past few weeks to provide guidance and reassurance by acting out scenes in Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.

    Dramatic Arts exercise in co-op class

    Co-op students Daniel O’Leary, left, and Marsel Avdic, right, play tug of war with fourth-year Dramatic Arts student and Mirror Theatre member Sumer Seth during an ‘Awkward Elevator’ scene.

    The group write and present interactive scenes on a variety of social issues, with the latest art-based research project exploring the interpersonal dynamics of work placements from entry to exit.

    Using applied theatre, experiential and problem-based learning theories and techniques, the students present scenes that address worker safety, on-site learning, asking for help, dealing with unreasonable demands and degree of personal sharing and assessment. Audience members redirect the scenes from their seat and, at times, come on stage to try to act out their thoughts through role-play.

    The initiative was intended to generate discussion amongst the co-op students on a variety of work-related topics in the 0N90 class.

    Students were asked to put themselves in the actors’ shoes in order to understand how they would handle each of the given situations in real life.

    “I would recommend this type of interactive learning in future classes,” said second-year Public Health co-op student Micaela Snow following the exercise. “I feel like the presentation gave us a deeper understanding of expectations and work etiquette rather than if we just listened to the professor talking about it.”

    Julia Zhu, Brock’s Associate Director of Co-op Education, hoped the experience helped to “facilitate ‘a rehearsal for life’ by offering an opportunity for students to safely test out their approach to impromptu social, ethical and culture situations.”

    Course facilitator Ashley Haroutunian said she was impressed by the level of engagement students displayed as they watched the vignettes and participated in the discussions and re-enactments.

    “They demonstrated a keen ability to reflect and contribute thoughtful observations and suggestions to help the players navigate the challenging workplace scenarios and conflicts,” she said. “Professor Norris and his students did an excellent job of supporting their learning by inviting, encouraging and involving students in the process.”

    Mirror Theatre has previously worked with Brock’s English as a Second Language Services in addressing academic integrity issues; Student Health, examining mental health and drinking issues; Health and Safety, discussing violence in the workplace; a Health Sciences class, articulating challenges of patient care; and the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation’s TA training sessions. The group’s members are heading to New York in April to present their arts-based research at the American Educational Research Association.

    Mirror Theatre members who participated in the recent co-op exercises include fourth-year Con-Ed Dramatic Arts students Mike Metz and Lindsey Abrams, third-year Psychology and Dramatic Arts student Nadia Ganesh, fourth-year Dramatic Arts and Education student Aaron Drake, fourth-year Con-Ed student Abby Rollo, second-year Con-Ed Dramatic Arts student Dani Shae Barkley, fourth-year Dramatic Arts student Sumer Seth and first-year Dramatic Arts student Dawson Strangway.

    Speaking with Mirror Theatre members on how this group has impacted their lives, Mike Metz, fourth year Con-Ed Dramatic Arts student says, “When I started Mirror Theatre in my first year, I was a Con-Ed math student. Mirror Theatre was one of the major reasons I decided to switch my major to Drama.”

    Lindsey Abrams, fourth year Con-Ed Dramatic Arts student adds, “Mirror Theatre has given me the opportunity to explore my love for theatre through different lenses as an actor, prospective educator, and learner.  I get the opportunity to explore all different areas of theatre that can be presented, and feel as though I am always a part of a team.”

    When Nadia Ganesh, third year Psychology and Dramatic Arts student was asked what she enjoys about participating in Mirror Theatre, she said, “I love the fact that Mirror Theatre gives me the ability to impact the lives of others even if it is only in a minor way. If it’s just making one person laugh, I’m happy that I’ve had the opportunity to affect that individual in a positive way.”

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

  • Brock community mourns longtime Dramatic Arts instructor

    (Source: The Brock NewsFriday, April 28, 2017 | by Dan Dakin)

    See below for information about the dedication of the theatre in Burlington.

    A woman who dedicated her life to teaching drama to students of all ages is being remembered by her colleagues, family and friends.

    Helen Zdriluk, who had been an instructor at Brock University for two decades, died Wednesday after a brief illness.

    “She was extremely dedicated to the power of drama in both teaching and performance,” said Professor Joe Norris, Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts. “She lived and breathed drama 24-7 when you consider she taught high school for many years during the day and then came here and taught at least two evenings a week. And she was running an after-school program.”

    Dramatic Arts Associate Professor and Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Director David Vivian said the whole school is saddened by the loss.

    “Longtime colleagues will remember Helen for her joyous and industrious leadership in Drama in Education and Applied Theatre, including her Connections projects in the old Studio theatre.”

    Norris said DART Connections was a group of education students who rehearsed and performed plays that dealt with social justice and education issues.

    Zdriluk taught drama at Burlington Central High School and was the owner and artistic director of Centre Stage Theatre School and Productions. In addition to teaching at Brock, she also completed her master’s at the University in 2010.

    The drama in education community has lost one of the most talented, dynamic and authentic educators and practitioners we have ever seen,” said former student Rox Chwaluk. “Helen was my mentor, my friend and colleague. She was fierce, hardworking, witty and passionate about her craft. She was instrumental in my education, provided me opportunities to ignite my passions, and solidified many of my values.”

    Zdriluk is survived by her husband Gerald and children Jennifer and Beth.

    A visitation will be held at Smith’s Funeral Home on Brant St. in Burlington Monday, May 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be held Tuesday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. Those wishing to make a donation in Helen’s memory are asked to consider the Canadian Cancer Society.

    We are sharing our memories below. If you have any memories you’d like to contribute, please share with us.


    Remembering Helen Zdriluk

    Reflections from Former Brock Students

    “I’ve heard it said
    That people come into our lives for a reason
    Bringing something we must learn
    And we are led
    To those who help us most to grow
    If we let them
    And we help them in return
    Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
    But I know I’m who I am today
    Because I knew you…
    Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
    But because I knew you
    I have been changed for good.” — For Good, Wicked

     

    Most of us met Helen Zdriluk in a classroom at Brock University, maybe ST103, ST105 (affectionately called blue and black – as per the paint colour of the room). Maybe it was ST107 – that hallway with one random non-DART classroom. Once we met Helen — our former instructor, mentor, colleague and friend — we were forever changed. For good.

    Maybe it was by the smile emerging on her face at the end of a particularly interesting question she had just posed to us, that she knew we would need to think hard about before answering. Or the simple, embedded image of her with her hands in her pockets, looking with calculation at our set because we remember that meant we knew she was going to suggest changes we would find annoying (wouldn’t it just be easier if we kept it the same?). And she wouldn’t exactly spare our feelings while delivering the news.

    “This needs work,” she would say in her blunt tone.

    Of course, we also remember, she always ended up being right about them and her directness was only because she cared so much about making us as good as we could be — and that we were infinitely glad we listened to her.

    Maybe it was how when you first met Helen, you could feel like you wanted to drop her class because it was too tough. But then she taught you to check your ego at the door and get past your insecurities, and then you realized you wanted to take all of Helen’s classes, because you wanted to learn — and learn from the best.

    That was Helen.

    Maybe it was when, for all of Helen’s demands on you to be the best student you could be, you suddenly realized that she had even higher ideals.

    That if your mother was suddenly rushed to the hospital and the rest of your family wasn’t nearby, and you were worried about missing a dress rehearsal for a major project because Helen had taught you not to let the group down — and you hated the idea of letting Helen down, the blunt directions would suddenly disappear.

    Instead you’d feel the comfort of her hug that would help ease your tears, as she told you to go home and take care of your family.

    “In that moment, I remember feeling this overwhelming peace come over me,” said Karen McDonald, who still remembers the impact of that hug years later. “I needed that hug, but I didn’t realize it until I got it.

    “That’s who Helen was. She always knew exactly what her students needed even before we did.”

    Helen taught many of us for 3-5 hour-long classes, once a week, usually on a Thursday. We’d learn as the weeks passed by that Helen was determined, passionate, driven, hardworking, creative, supportive, a force, patient, witty, caring, and saucy (in the best way possible).

    We would hear from fellow classmates about the amazing courses she was teaching: Community Theatre (3P07 or 3F77), Children’s Theatre (3P06 or 3F66/3F92), Musical Theatre (3F98), and Production (DART 2P70). These are course codes that we can still remember because they are not numbers to us, but experiences that have shaped us into who we are.

    Some of us had to beg the administration to be in Helen’s classes because they were so popular, and Helen had to request to have more students in her classes. Helen always advocated for us — for our work, for our marks, and for ourselves. Helen saw the potential in all of her students and helped them to see the potential in themselves.

    Her classroom was a place of magic. A place where we would take off our shoes, literally, but also a place where we could ground ourselves, tell stories, and make meaning of our world. Helen believed that theatre was an integral part of every community, and that it was the best way to tell the hardest stories. Stories that no one wanted to hear because they made you uncomfortable, but Helen believed that the best work came from being uncomfortable.

    Helen legitimized what many of us felt — she showed us that “drama” wasn’t just Shakespeare or watching people perform; it could be a tool to teach; a vehicle to work with and within communities; a transformative power for actors and audiences.

    She always asked us “What’s the point?” Helen instilled a sense of purpose that allowed us to balance the process of a production and the result. While she had high standards for the final product — “I’m not putting (garbage) on stage. I would rather cancel the show than put (garbage) on stage” — she had the same low tolerance for people who thought their talent or hard work gave them license to be difficult during the process.

    She was unbelievably smart, passionate and dedicated not only to Dramatic Arts but to sharing that passion through education in the most meaningful ways possible. She wanted to make the world a better place and she wanted to do that through drama — using it as a tool to help people express themselves in the comfort of a character but that allowed them to share their thoughts, fears and insecurities.

    She was fierce, she was sassy, and above all she was passionate about ensuring that the arts continued to be developed and encouraged in the school system and she would put no limitations on pursuing that goal.

    But there was more to Helen than the classroom. Helen was always so busy, always doing something. She barely had time for herself. In between classes, on her break, you would usually see her having a Diet Coke and an egg salad sandwich (which usually one of us picked up for her, as she was too busy supporting students). As a part-time instructor, Helen was also involved in many co-curricular activities, including Brock Connections, a club on campus that focused on using theatre as a tool for education about various social issues.

    As our faculty advisor, she produced and directed The Laramie Project (2007-2008), Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (2008-2009), Bhopal (2009-2010), Shatter (2010-2011), and Colours in the Storm (2011-2012). We learned about social, and historical issues and were able to take these shows into the Niagara community.

    Helen was our rock. Many of us owe pretty much everything that we have done, and who we have become to Helen. For aspiring teachers, she was the type of teacher that we wanted to be. She had a way of identifying our most triumphant strengths and limiting weaknesses with grace and compassion. She was able to genuinely inspire growth in us because of her keen awareness of them.

    She always knew exactly what her students needed, often even before we did. She supported us in our low points, and celebrated with us in our highs. If she thought you could do better work, she let you know, she challenged you.

    But even when she was dishing out tough love, she followed it up with a smile, and a healthy dose of encouragement. She took the time to get to know each of us personally, to understand our goals, and then to find or create a way to connect us to the community so that we could achieve them.

    Helen never doubted us for a second. She was quick to give us advice, but we think the most important advice she gave us was that we were fully capable and that she knew we had the skills to put on a great show. We felt her acceptance for all of us as individuals, especially for all of our unique talents and experiences. That was one of the most beautiful things about Helen, her ability to see beyond a student’s cover and see what they could be.

    She pushed and she challenged, she called you out when you needed it and she made you a better team member because of it. The belief and trust she had in us when we doubted ourselves is one of the most important lessons we learned from her, and every day we try to put that same belief and trust into those around us.

    Most of us think about Helen often in our daily lives. Many of us have gone on to teaching careers. We thank Helen for the opportunities we were given in our program. Many of the skills and teaching methods we use were learned directly through her.

    The Drama in Education Community has lost one of the most talented, dynamic, and authentic educators and practitioners we have ever seen. There is a sense of sadness to know that so many future educators will not have the opportunity to learn through Helen, but there is some comfort in knowing her methods and teachings will be passed on to the next generation through all of us.

    She built herself an army of her endearing students to go out into the world and provide arts education by any means necessary, and that is the legacy that she leaves behind her.

    But as they say, the show must go on. And Helen is sitting front row, smiling.

    “She was a force, and how could a force like that be stopped? The answer is that it can’t,” Rebecca Durance Hine said. “What she accomplished in her life, the lives she touched, the people she changed, all of that will continue in her place. She will never, ever be forgotten, and the effects of her life will continue to be seen for a very long time.

    “You are wonderful Helen, simply wonderful, and I hope that you rest in peace knowing the difference your life made in the lives of so many.”

    “The greatness of a teacher can be measured not by what someone can achieve, but by what they thought they couldn’t achieve.” — Helen Zdriluk

    Article contributors:

    Brandon Pachan
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Drama in Education, 2011; Bachelor of Education, 2012

    Celine Allen
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Applied Theatre, 2011.

    Connie McDougall
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Drama in Education (2008-2013)

    Dorothy Kane
    Bachelor of Science (Honours) Biological Sciences, With First-Class Standing, Minor in Dramatic Arts, 2012; Bachelor of Education, 2012

    Jayne Laari
    Bachelor of Arts (3 Year) in General Studies, 2010

    Jess Straus
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Child and Youth Studies and Psychology, 2011

    Jordan Tucker
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Integrated Studies, With First-Class Standing, Minor in English Language and Literature, 2012; Bachelor of Education, 2012

    Kaitlyn Welch
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, 2010; Bachelor of Education, 2011

    Kanthan Annalingam
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Performance, 2013

    Karen McDonald
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Drama in Education and Society Stream, 2012

    Katherine Gottli
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, 2010
    Master of Education, Teaching, Learning and Development, 2013

    Kathy Cavaleri
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, 2012; Bachelor of Education, 2013

    Lescia Poppe
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, Concentration in Drama in Education, 2012; Bachelor of Education, 2013

    Matt DaCosta
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Drama in Education, 2012; Bachelor of Education, 2013

    Meaghan Lugsdin
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, 2009; B Bachelor of Education, 2010

    Meaghan McKeag
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Concentration in Drama in Education, 2013

    Patrick Monaghan
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Drama in Education and Society Stream, 2011; Bachelor of Education, 2012

    Rachael Bason (Verschoor)
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, Concentration in Drama in Education (Co-op Option), Minor in History, 2013;
    Bachelor of Education, 2014

    Rebecca Durance Hine
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, Drama in Education and Society Stream, 2010; Bachelor of Education, 2014

    Rox Chwaluk
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, Drama In Education and Society Stream, 2009; Bachelor of Education, 2010; Master of Education, Social and Cultural Contexts of Education, 2013

    Whitney Shantz (Lee)
    Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Dramatic Arts, With First-Class Standing, 2011; Bachelor of Education, 2011


    Notice of the dedication of a theatre in honour of our departed Department of Dramatic Arts colleague, Helen Zdriluk:

    Burlington, Thursday October 05, 2017

    Dear Friends, Colleagues, Alumni and Family
    It has now been several months since the passing of Helen Zdriluk, an educational icon whose loss continues to weigh heavily on all of our hearts. However, due in no small part to her unparalleled commitment to Burlington Central and the Arts, I am happy to say that Helen’s memory and influence continues to reverberate in our great building, helping to inspire future
    generations of students at BCHS.

    Now you may already be aware that over the last few months many groups have rallied to pay tribute to Helen’s legacy in a variety of ways , including the creation of the Helen Zdriluk Memorial Fund for the Performing Arts, which will be
    administered by the Burlington Community Foundation.

    Well through some of those discussions another idea began to take root and with the support and blessing of Helen’s
    Family, we at Central could think of no tribute more fitting than the renaming of the auditorium to the Helen Zdriluk Memorial Theatre.

    With that process now complete we would like to cordially invite you to share in the honour of officially dedicating the theatre in Helen’s name (details below).

    Helen Zdriluk Memorial Theatre Dedication Ceremony
    Date: Thursday, October 5th, 2017
    Location: Burlington Central H.S. Auditorium (1433 Baldwin St.,
    Burlington)
    Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm (dedication at 7:15pm, social to follow)
    Please RSVP to Lynn Jones if you plan to attend.
    (phone:905-634-7768 or email:jonesly@hdsb.ca )

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Brock students on the Royal Botanical Garden stage

    (Source: The Brock NewsMONDAY, AUGUST 15, 2016 | by . Photo: “Performers in Midsummer Night’s Dream playing at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton. Back left: John Wamsley, Zach Parsons, Jesse Horvath, Sean McLelland, Caitlin Popek, Nicole James and Dana Morin. Front left: Trevor Copp, Sean Rintoul, Claudia Spadafora, Michael Hannigan and Alma Sarai.”)

    A troupe of Brock University students is putting their dramatic arts talents to work this summer.

    Tottering Biped Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – on now at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton – features a number of familiar Brock faces.

    The production, held at the newly opened David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden, has been three years in the making. Director and Brock drama instructor Todd Copp says his goal is to offer local opportunities to recent theatre grads.

    “We’ve noticed the difficulty emerging artists have here in getting off the ground and we lose artistic talent to Toronto and further cities every year as a result,” he says on the production’s Facebook page. “In casting this piece, we searched this area’s post secondary theatre programs for the most talented senior students/recent graduates – and offered them paid theatre work. It’s unprecedented in our area.”

    The production links young actors with more experienced ones, teaching the next generation of actors that they don’t need to move away to pursue their passion.

    A number of recent and current Brock drama students are involved on the stage and behind the scenes including Sean McClelland, Sean Rintoul, Caitlin Popek, Nicole James and Dana Morin.

    Nicole James, who is pursuing her BA in dramatic arts with a concentration in production and design, is the production’s stage manager and embraces the challenge of managing a nine-person cast. She works with assistant stage manager and fellow Brock student, Dana Morin.

    James credits Carolyn Mackenzie’s stage management course for giving her the skills she needs for the job.

    “I have the privilege to work professionally in the theatre,” she says. “It’s so obvious that the instructors at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Dramatic Arts department actually care and are invested in the education of every single student.”

    Copp was an instructor with Brock’s Dramatic Arts program in 2016 and is the artistic director of Burlington’s Tottering Biped Theatre. Founded in 2009, the company is inspired by social justice. They have toured regionally and internationally.

    “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” runs August 10-14 and 17-21 at RBG Rock Garden 1185 York Blvd, Hamilton. Performances start at 7 p.m.; tickets are available at http://tickets.rbg.ca/PEO/default.asp.

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, In the Media, News

  • Brock research team studies the evolution of circus performers

    bromance-220(Source: The Brock NewsTuesday, July 12, 2016 | by )

    Flying trapeze artists, elephants standing on one foot while balancing a ball, jugglers, sword swallowers, bearded ladies: these are among the images of the traditional travelling circus.

    The circus is still going strong today and has gone mainstream. Think Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal-based entertainment company that has become a worldwide phenomenon.

    “This positive news for circus companies, artists and audiences with a taste for thrilling entertainment also raises questions about circuses’ historic status as site for the celebration and exploitation of differences, from stagings of exceptional performing bodies to the display of ‘freakery,’” says Assistant Professor of Dramatic Arts Karen Fricker.

    Fricker is part of an international team of academics, artists and producers researching the relationship of contemporary circus to the widespread practice in traditional circus of featuring people with unusual physical features, such as Siamese twins, women who grow beards, and in extreme cases, people living with a disease or condition that exaggerates certain body parts.

    The team is interested in the ways in which today’s circus artists relate to this “freak show” tradition. Fricker is one of three leaders of the project, called “Circus and its Others,” along with Charles Batson of Union College, in New York and L. Patrick Leroux of Concordia University.

    This month, they are co-organizing a conference about this subject as part of the Montreal Complètement Cirque Festival, with the assistance of two Brock graduate students, Hayley Rose Malouin and Taylor Zajdlik.

    “There’s a large history of profound racism, sexism and ableism that I don’t think is present in contemporary circus in the same way, mostly because contemporary ideologies are very transformed,” says Malouin. “However, it’s interesting to see how some of those elements of sideshow ‘freakishness’ and how we view those born bodies finds its way into contemporary circus.”

    Fricker explains that circuses are, in essence, “variety shows” that feature highly-trained people with extraordinary skills performing daring, risky and spectacular feats.

    These acts are very physical; as a result, a lot of attention is focused on performers’ bodies. In traditional circuses, this focus extended to viewing bodies that were born unusual or made different from diseases or other factors beyond someone’s control.

    But societies eventually became more aware of the struggles and rights of people living with physical challenges, and also increasingly became more sensitive to animal exploitation. For example, after 145 years of featuring elephants in its circus acts, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey announced that it has plans to retire its elephant herd by 2018.

    The creation of Cirque du Soleil was a turning point in circus history. In the early 1980s, a troupe “juggled, danced, breathed fire and played music” for audiences in Baie-Saint-Paul near Quebec City, says the group’s website.

    One of the performers, Guy Laliberté, took the show on the road in 1984 to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Jacques Cartier’s discovery of Canada.

    “The show was a striking, dramatic mix of circus arts (without animals) and street performance that featured wild, outrageous costumes, magical lighting, and original music,” according to the website. Notably, one of the key features that distinguishes Cirque du Soleil from traditional circus is that it does not include animal acts, and rarely puts born difference on display in its shows.

    Zajdlik says contemporary circuses such as Soleil largely feature “achieved bodies,” bodies “transformed into these powerful vessels that become circus performers” through intensive physical training.

    “Are we gazing upon these spectacular bodies because they represent something that we nostalgically long for in what the freak once gave us?” says Zajdlik. “From aerial feats to contortions, these bodies are doing extraordinary things that you would not normally get to see. In a way, that kind-of represents what the ‘freak’ once represented for circus.”

    The researchers note that there are circuses that feature unusual bodies, but in a very different way than in the past.

    The keynote speaker at this month’s conference is Jennifer Miller, who founded Circus Amok in New York City and is also a professor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

    Miller has had a beard since her early 20s. She is known as the “Bearded Lady,” who uses her performances to “ask people who look at her to think critically about what they understand as normatively female or male, masculine or feminine,” says Fricker.

    “She challenges those boundaries,” says Fricker. “We’re in the age of gender fluidity. I think she speaks from, and to that, culture in an interesting way.”

    The Circus and its Others conference was held in Montreal July 15 to 17, 2016.

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  • 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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  • Brock grad attending prestigious Soulpepper Academy

    (Source: The Brock NewsWednesday, May 18, 2016 | by )

    When Marcel Stewart studied drama at Brock University, he learned more than how to portray a character on stage.

    He learned to write, direct and produce. He learned confidence in his craft.

    “Brock taught me a lot about just being an artist in general,” said the 30-year-old Toronto man. By his third year in the dramatic arts program, Stewart (BA ’07) was completely immersed in all aspects of the theatre.

    “I’m most grateful for the understanding that arts is a community,” he said, noting he appreciated the spirit of collaboration and support at Brock.

    Stewart was recently accepted as one of 17 artists in the prestigious and competitive Soulpepper Academy, a paid two-year training program for theatre artists. More than 1,100 people applied in the nationwide audition.

    Stewart said the six-month audition process was intense but taught him a lot about himself.

    “To be selected as a member of the Soulpepper Academy can be a career-changing appointment,” said Professor David Vivian, chair of Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts. “We teach our theatre artists to excel across a wide spectrum of skills.”

    Soulpepper Academy has specialized training streams in acting, playwriting, directing, designing and producing.

    Stewart, who for a number of years has been exploring the relationship between Shakespearean language and hip-hop music, is developing a hip-hop adaptation of Macbeth.

    He has also been successful on the stage in the Toronto area and said taking a break from his burgeoning acting career is daunting. But to him, it’s worth the risk.

    “What I’m looking forward to is better preparing myself to become a man on stage,” he said, noting he’s looking to transition from roles for young men into a broader range. “I’m most excited about challenging myself.”

    Vivian said Stewart’s teachers at Brock are proud of his accomplishments since graduating.

    “This is a significant achievement for one of our graduates and it couldn’t have happened to a more generous spirit and talented artist,” said Danielle Wilson, Brock lecturer and director of Mainstage Productions in the Department of Dramatic Arts. “As a student, he was extremely motivated to do quality work that pushed the boundaries of his abilities. I have followed his career over the years and am very impressed by the quality of the projects he has been involved in as a young and developing artist.” Stewart starts at Soulpepper Academy in August.

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