Articles tagged with: david vivian

  • Brock series to address transformation, adaptation in Canadian theatre

    Image caption: Mike Payette (left), Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre, and Philip Akin (right), former Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre Company, will take the virtual stage on Monday, Sept. 20, reflecting on changes in the Canadian theatre industry as part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series.

    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2021 | by 

    A panel of prominent Black Canadian theatre leaders will explore the industry’s evolving landscape during an upcoming community discussion hosted by Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART).

    The webinar, “Black Canadian Theatre Leadership: Embracing Transformation and Adaptation,” takes place Monday, Sept. 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and is the first presentation of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series (WCL Series).

    The online event will feature panelists Philip Akin, former Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre Company, and Mike Payette, Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre, with moderator Luke Reece, Associate Artistic Director of Soulpepper Theatre. Registration is required through the Zoom webinar page.

    The speakers and moderator will reflect on changes in Canadian theatre in recent years, with a focus on the artistic missions of theatre organizations. Discussion points will include how the panelists have approached season planning within existing and evolving organizational missions and how programming can bring in the audiences they intend to cultivate.

    This is the first of three presentations in a new series launched by DART called Transformation and Adaptation in Theatre Pedagogy and Training. The series will run throughout the academic year and is supported by the WCL fund.

    “This fall’s Walker Cultural Leader program follows on from DART’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) Speaker Series last year and intends to build on its momentum,” said DART Associate Professor Karen Fricker, who co-organizes the series with DART sessional instructor Carolyn Mackenzie and DART Associate Professor David Vivian. “We are excited to welcome this intergenerational group of Black theatre leaders for our first event. This is an all-star panel.”

    The WCL Series celebrates the legacy and vision of Marilyn I. Walker and her contributions to Brock University’s Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA). Through her generous gift, the four academic programs at the MIWSFPA invite recognized cultural leaders, top researchers, artists, scholars, musicians and theatre professionals to contribute to the intellectual and creative life of the School and the Niagara region.

    To learn more about upcoming WCL Series events, please visit the website.


     

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  • Celebrated Canadian artist Michael Snow’s contribution to Brock revisited in new documentary

    A still image from the new documentary short Timed Images premiering Friday, Aug. 20 at the Mighty Niagara Film Fest. The film was produced and researched by Lesley Bell with video work and direction by Tracy Van Oosten.

    WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2021 | The Brock News | by 

    The legacy and impact of artwork created for Brock University in 1972 by internationally regarded Canadian artist Michael Snow has been captured on film and is being premiered Friday, Aug. 20 at a local film festival.

    Part of the Mighty Niagara Film Fest presented by Niagara Artists Centre (NAC), Timed Images is a new documentary that intimately explores two works of public art created by Snow when he was engaged by Brock University and architect Raymond Moriyama during the construction of Brock’s Mackenzie Chown Complex in 1972. Snow holds an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Brock University received in 1974.

    The short documentary is produced and researched by Lesley Bell, artist and retired support staff for the Department of Visual Arts (VISA) at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), and directed by Brock graduate Tracy Van Oosten (BA ’10), artist, filmmaker and current VISA Instructor at the MIWSFPA.

    Bell, who managed Brock’s Fine Art Collection for 18 years, was drawn to Snow’s work and wanted to uncover the story behind his pieces and appreciate how they found their home in St. Catharines.

    Bell and Van Oosten, a filmmaker and artist who works with text, video and installations and explores moving images within immersive contexts, collaborated to create an artistic documentary that retraces Snow’s innovative art that delighted the University population in 1972.

    “In order to tell the story about these two artworks by Snow, I envisioned a video document. I had no understanding of the process,” Bell said. “With patience and skill, Tracy Van Oosten crafted the information that I found into an intelligent and visually stimulating artistic video work. This has been a satisfying collaboration.”

    Timed Images screens Friday, Aug. 20 at the RiverBrink Art Museum in Queenston, Niagara-on-the-Lake. Doors open at 8 p.m., with the screening scheduled to start at sunset. The documentary is part of an art-inspired program at NAC’s film fest called ‘An Ode to Escarpment School Films.

    For more information about Timed Images and to purchase tickets, visit the Mighty Niagara Film Fest website.

    This project is supported by David Vivian, the Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, and Dean Carol Merriam of the Faculty of Humanities, through the Dean’s Discretionary Fund (2020). An installation for the public to view Timed Images at the MIWSFPA and online is currently in development.


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  • Dramatic Arts grad receives textile award for creative work in costuming

    Dramatic Arts graduate Avery Delaney was honoured with the Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award for 2021 for her outstanding, creative use of textiles.

    Originally published in The Brock News on FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2021 | by 

    When Dramatic Arts (DART) graduate Avery Delaney began her studies at Brock, she never dreamed she would find her calling behind the scenes in wardrobe — especially in theatrical cobblery.

    But that’s where Delany, who graduated June 18 during Brock’s Virtual Spring Convocation, found her stride.

    She was recently recognized with the 2021 Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award for her creative talent and skilled use of textiles. Presented to a graduating student at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) who shows outstanding work in textiles for artistic expression, the annual award provides recipients with financial support for continuing education or professional development.

    Delaney always had a desire to pursue teaching and performance, but a second-year course in stage production and crewing changed the course of her academic journey when she began working in the MIWSFPA costume shop under the guidance of Roberta Doylend, Head of Wardrobe.

    Inspired by her love of fashion and design, Delaney began working on costumes for the 2018 DART fall mainstage production of the Greek tragedy Antigone. She assisted Doylend with building and repairing costumes for the production which premiered in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre.

    Antigone was such a physically demanding show that there were many problems with the actor’s shoes,” Delany said. “Roberta and I had to figure out a solution, and I took on the task of working on the shoes.”

    Gaining “confidence by doing,” Delaney discovered her love of theatrical cobblery and the costume shop environment. In her third-year, she got a job working with Doylend assisting with DART productions. During this time, Delaney’s creative exploration with textiles blossomed as she experimented with new materials and methods.

    Delaney came to view cobblery and working on shoes as her own creative world with the space to try out new techniques and take chances.

    “MIWSFPA staff did an incredible job facilitating this kind of hands-on learning,” she said.

    Doylend explained how Marilyn I. Walker created the award to celebrate a student’s passion for art and creativity.

    “Watching Avery thrive in the costume shop and find her love of theatrical cobbling in her four years at the MIWSFPA makes her the perfect candidate to have received this award,” Doylend said.

    Delaney continued her costuming work on the DART mainstages, building and repairing costumes for the various shows. She began experimenting with painting leather and working with new textiles to create different types of shoes and boots.

    As part of her coursework, she was the Head Dresser on Orlando, the 2019 fall mainstage production. She co-ordinated all the footwear for the show, made a costume for Sasha (played by fellow DART student Sid Malcolm) and assisted the second-year production students during the build of the show.

    “Following our pivot to remote collaboration and online transmission during the past year of the pandemic, I commend Avery for her perseverance and excellent work for the two graduating students’ productions: as Costume Designer for Concord Floral and Head of Wardrobe for Ouroboros,” said Associate Professor, Scenographer and DART Acting Chair David Vivian. “These polished online productions were a vivid testament to the deep skills of creative collaboration and technical production that our graduates are carrying forth into their post-graduation futures.”

    In addition to her studies at the MIWSFPA, Delaney spent time working with the Boot and Shoe Specialist at the Shaw Festival Theatre, Brock DART alumna Sadie Ducroix (BA ’10). Delaney shadowed the professional cobbler as she worked on the Shaw’s 2019 production of Brigadoon, and even painted some of the shoes herself.

    Delaney’s acting and costuming skills collided when she both performed in and worked on Perdita or The Winter’s Tale, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic (adapted by Gyllian Raby) performed in spring 2020. Delaney played Florizel and worked in wardrobe helping with bouquets and dresses for the show.

    As a designer and actor, she was able to draw on her knowledge of both disciplines to understand the best materials and comfort for costumes and shoes.

    “One interest informs the other,” Delaney said. “By allowing my passions to bleed together, I was constantly learning new things.

    “The passion I have now, I am grateful to Roberta for. It has been life-changing; I have discovered what I want to pursue as a career and unleashed my passion for this craft,” she said.

    “I am happy to have been here to spark her interest and help her follow her dream,” Doylend said. “Now that she has graduated, Avery is continuing her study of this very specialized field and will love her career in theatre as an integral part of a costume team.”

    Supported by the Department of Dramatic Arts, Vivian and Doylend, Delaney is set to attend a four-day intensive shoemaking course this fall at Off the Wall at the Stratford Artists Alliance, a centre for excellence in theatre production arts education in Stratford, Ont.

    Next year, Delaney will attend a boot and shoemaking course at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She will continue to study her craft as she embarks on her professional career in costuming with a specialization in cobblery, but notes that she still aspires to be on stage.

    Performing will always be important to Delaney and she would like to find a healthy balance of her passions.

    “My love of performance informs my work in costuming and shoemaking. I have an appreciation for both sides of it, on and off the stage,” she said.

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  • Brock community mourns the loss of theatre artist and MIWSFPA staff member, dawn e crysler

    dawn e crysler, celebrated MIWSFPA staff member and Theatre Technician, will be remembered for her creativity and dedication to her work.


    originally posted in The Brock News on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2021 | by 

    The Brock and local arts community is mourning the death of dawn e crysler, a theatre maker and artist who will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Faculty, staff and students at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) were deeply saddened to learn of crysler’s passing earlier this week.

    crysler (BA ’00), who preferred her name referred to in all lowercase, had been a Theatre Technician at Brock’s MIWSFPA since 2018. Working in the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART), the multi-talented artist played a pivotal role working with students and faculty to bring performances to life through her work as technician and scenic painter.

    “The entire DART community is shocked and saddened at the departure of this sensitive, observant and generous soul. As a former student of the program, dawn brought her many talents and insights to a wide range of theatrical activity at Brock and beyond,” says David Fancy, Professor and Chair of DART.

    crysler also worked as a theatre technician at the Shaw Festival and Carousel Players, and in Toronto on various film, TV and theatre projects. Most recently, she had been painting the Klingon ship on the set of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (a spinoff series currently being filmed in Toronto).

    A Brock graduate, crysler conferred on June 9, 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Literature and Theatre.

    Peter Feldman, retired Associate Professor and former Chair of DART taught crysler during her studies.

    “dawn was one of the most highly motivated students I had in my 20 years at Brock, working with distinction in almost every aspect of our program,” he says.

    Feldman also fondly recalls joining crysler and other former students in starting a St. Catharines-based fringe theatre group known as Stray Theatre in 2003. In addition to building and painting sets, crysler was a gifted actor, he says.

    “dawn played an astonishingly wide range of roles in drama and comedy, all beautifully, movingly and totally believably.”

    White Crow, drawn by Jana Bergsma, in honour of dawn e crysler. photo: Gavin Fearon.

    “All of us with whom she worked will remember dawn’s sunny personality, her always positive view of life, her gift for friendship, the enthusiasm she brought to everything she worked on, and her sense of wonder. ‘Awesome!’ must have been her favourite word,” Feldman says. “Altogether, dawn was one of the most remarkable young women I’ve known in the theatre.”

    David Vivian, Associate Professor, Scenographer and Director of the MIWSFPA, says hiring crysler felt like a puzzle piece falling into place.

    “When we hired dawn in 2018, it was as if she was coming home to the MIWSFPA. She was a celebrated member of the arts community and Brock graduate contributing to local arts and culture — it was so very right to have dawn join us here at the School,” he says.

    In addition to being a valued staff member and friend of Brock, crysler was a dedicated theatre artist with a strong presence in the Niagara arts scene. Born and raised on a farm in Pelham, crysler explored her roots though her artistry. She was a published playwright. Her play White Crow, which ran in November of 2012 mounted by Essential Collective Theatre, chronicled a family facing adversity on a Pelham farm.

    In 2013, crysler was nominated for the Emerging Artist Award for the eighth annual St. Catharines Arts Awards. She brought creativity and energy to cultural initiatives, such as In the Soil Arts Festival, where she held an interactive workshop entitled “Play!” that involved massive checker pieces, a giant Jenga set and oversized “pick-up sticks.”

    The flags in front of Brock’s Schmon Tower were lowered to half-mast on Friday, March 26 to commemorate crysler’s passing.

    MIWSFPA colleagues remember crysler for her energetic attitude and sense of play.

    Gyllian Raby, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts, reflects on crysler’s bright personality and her professional talent and work ethic. Raby, along with other DART faculty and staff, were working closely with crysler on the spring Mainstage production.

    “Across the community she was known and loved for her infectious energy,” Raby says of crysler. “She was a beam of light, a roller-derby queen, a published playwright, cabaret performer, theatre-technician and maker-builder extraordinaire. She believed in art and was endlessly creative.”

    A space on the MIWSFPA website memorializing crysler will be created in the coming weeks, where colleagues, friends and family will be invited to share their memories.

     


    The obituary for dawn is available in the St. Catharines Standard.

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  • Online symposium celebrates new publication on theatre pedagogy and climate crisis

    Image caption:The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

    An upcoming weekend of online events will explore the role that theatre education plays in relation to climate crisis.

    To launch the new Routledge publication Theatre Pedagogy in the Era of Climate Crisis, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) is hosting a two-day online symposium featuring historians, theatre practitioners, playwrights, designers, professors and activists.

    Presented as part of the 2020-21 Walker Cultural Leader’s Series program, the online symposium “Theatre Pedagogy in the Era of Climate Crisis” runs Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21 and will be livestreamed free on the MIWSFPA YouTube channel.

    Convened by volume co-editors David Fancy, Professor and Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University, and Conrad Alexandrowicz, Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Victoria, the event features four online panel discussions with contributing authors of the volume, each a theatre scholar and/or practitioner.

    Through these panel discussions, volume contributors will answer the question of how theatre pedagogy can be transformed in response to the global climate crisis. Panelists are purposely divided into groups that mix their different expertise, encouraging a rich and invigorating discussion.

    “Nothing could be more pressing than understanding how to evolve our theatre training and pedagogy to address the climate crisis,” says Fancy.

    The volume’s authors, he adds, also “unpack how supremacy thinking informing the climate crisis — that humans are more important than nature — is echoed across racial and gendered violence in contemporary societies.”

    Each panel is based on a theme in the anthology: Intersectionality and the Body of the Earth; Eco-Aesthetics in Performance and Design; Eco-literacies in Teaching Theatre; and Theatre Pedagogy and the Climate Crisis.

    A summary of the volume can be found in a manifesto signed by all contributing authors in the epilogue of the book.

    Upcoming Walker Cultural Leaders events:

    Saturday, March 20

    1 to 2:15 p.m. — Theatre Pedagogy and the Climate Crisis
    Moderated by David Fancy with Lara Aysal, Derek Davidson, Katrina Dunn and Beth Osnes.
    Watch the livestream.

    3 to 4:15 p.m. – Eco-Aesthetics in Performance and in Design
    Moderated Conrad Alexandrowicz with Tanja Beer, Rachel Bowditch, Joan Lipkin and David Vivian.
    Watch the livestream.

    Sunday, March 21

    1 to 2:15 p.m. – Eco-Literacies in Teaching Theatre
    Moderated by Sasha Kovacs with Mary Anderson, Dennis Gupa and David Fancy.
    Watch the livestream.

    3 to 4:15 p.m. – Intersectionality, Solidarity and the Body of the Earth
    Moderated by Rachel Rhoades with Gloria Akayi Asoloko, Soji Cole and Conrad Alexandrowicz.
    Watch the livestream.

    More event information, including full biographies of each panelist, can be found online at brocku.ca/tpcc

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  • Industrial Niagara, a new exhibition at Rodman Hall Arts Centre

    (image: Shawn Serfas)

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This exhibition is unavailable for viewing until further notice. It is closed as part of Brock University’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please check here again.

    Industrial Niagara
    March 7-22, 2020, Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University
    Saturday, March 14, 2-4 p.m. Speaker Series

    Industrial Niagara, an exhibition, brings together key works by members of the Research Centre, Studies in Arts and Culture, Brock University.

    Visual artists Candace Couse, Catherine Parayre, Shawn Serfas, Donna Szőke, and ARTIndustria share their insights by responding to the natural environs and the features that distinguish the presence, loss or history of industry in Niagara’s landscape. A combination of hinterland, cataract and escarpment, waterways and canals, hydro-electric generators and high tension wires, manufacturing facilities, factories, subdivisions and farmland, this is the first of a series of reflections or aesthetic interpretations on the meaning of locale (genius loci).

    download poster

    Curated by Derek J.J. Knight, with a speaker series programmed by Catherine Parayre, on Saturday, March 14.

    Visit the Industrial Niagara Virtual Gallery.

    See the video produced by YourTV Niagara, on March 16, 2020.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: The below event has been cancelled as part of Brock University’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    Rodman Hall Art Centre will host a cultural event on Saturday, March 14, 2-4 p.m. featuring readings by award-winning authors Natalee Caple and Adam Dickinson as well as short reflections by Niagara residents on their observations, research or experience, from the impact of the Welland Canal to the generation of hydro-electric power: Clark Bernat, Derek Knight, Reinhard Reitzenstein, David Sharron, Penelope Stewart, and David Vivian.

    Open to members of the public this event is organized as part of the Research Centre’s outreach and to encourage future partnerships in an ongoing series of thematic projects.

    download the program for Industrial Niagara

    The Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture acknowledges the support of Brock University: Centre for Studies in Arts and Cultures, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Studies in Comparative Literature and Arts, Dean’s Office in Humanities, Research Services, and Rodman Hall Art Centre.

    New research centre fosters interdisciplinary approach to arts and culture
    [brocknews, alison innes. MONDAY, MARCH 02, 2020]

    The Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture (RCIACC) establishes a network of researchers and creators across Faculties at Brock and beyond the University. The research centre is part of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC).

    “STAC has an established reputation as an interdisciplinary academic centre and it was therefore logical to home an interdisciplinary research centre in the unit,” says Associate Professor Catherine Parayre, who led the initiative with Associate Professor Derek Knight and is the Centre’s new director.

    The Centre will engage with a broad range of creative expression, including visual arts, dramatic arts, music, creative writing and translation, book and graphic design, cultural heritage, and photography.The Centre includes faculty from Arts and Culture, Visual Arts, Dramatic Arts, Music, Curatorial Studies, French Studies, English Literature, Digital Humanities, and Education.

    The centre will be doing outreach at Rodman Hall Art Centre through exhibitions and talks and in collaboration with the Willow Arts Community.

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  • 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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  • MIWSFPA welcomes Elizabeth Vlossak as Director

    Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will take on the role of Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1.

    (adapted from The Brock News, Sunday, June 03, 2018 | by )

    Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will be become Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1 when current Director David Vivian begins a year-long sabbatical.

    “I’m really looking forward to continuing to strengthen our community partnerships and perhaps develop new ones,” says Vlossak. “I’m thinking of ways to bridge the Humanities so that there is more interaction and collaboration between the MIWSFPA and other departments on the main campus.”

    Being a historian, Vlossak says she loves how “the city’s past has been preserved in a way that is relevant to the present, while also looking to the future,” in terms of the MIWSFPA building. But the school isn’t just the building. “It’s the people — students, faculty and staff — doing incredible work that enriches Brock as well as St. Catharines and the Niagara region.”

    Vlossak’s research area is 20th century European history, with particular interest in cultural history during the two world wars, women’s history, gender and nationalism, and memory and the politics of commemoration.

    She is a founding member and Associate Fellow of The History Lab, a collaboration with the Niagara Falls Military Museum, Seedling for Change in History, and Associate Professor Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas.

    Vlossak has also consulted with the Department of Dramatic Arts on two Mainstage productions, Ring Around the Moon (2006) and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (2016), sharing her research specialization with students and contributing to their successful performances.

    “The executive of the school is particularly excited by Associate Professor Vlossak’s record of community engagement through undertakings such as The History Lab,” says Vivian. “We look forward to her contribution to existing programming and relationship building with our community partners, as well as her unique new initiatives.”

    “I’m very pleased that Professor Vlossak is willing to take on the role of Interim Director of the MIWSFPA,” says Faculty of Humanities Dean Carol Merriam. “Professor Vlossak is an active, energetic, and imaginative teacher and scholar, and will bring those same qualities to the work of the School.”

    Vivian, Associate Professor with the Department of Dramatic Arts, has been Director of the MIWSFPA since 2016. Previously he was Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (3 years) and Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts (4 years). He teaches theatrical design, production and stagecraft and has designed sets and costumes for Department mainstage productions.

    “The directorship is an unusual job involving work with faculty, staff, students and external partners, and Professor Vivian has balanced all of these demands very effectively,” says Merriam. “I wish him well of his rightly-deserved sabbatical.”

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    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Brock alumni, faculty and staff among St. Catharines Arts Awards nominees

    (Source: The Brock News, Monday, May 01, 2017 | by Alison Innes)

     

    Several members of the Brock community are being recognized for their impact on the local arts scene.

    Brock alumni, staff and faculty have earned a number of nominations for this year’s St. Catharines Arts Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to the arts in the Garden City.

    Visual artist Lauren Regier (BA ’14), costume designer Jo Pacinda (BA ’13) and the Twitches & Itches Theatre group, run mainly by alumni, are among those in the running for the 2017 Emerging Artist award.

    Gordon Cleland, a professor with Brock’s Department of Music and principal cellist with the Niagara Symphony, and Brock dramatic arts professor Danielle Wilson, co-founder and co-artistic director of Stolen Theatre Collective, have both been nominated for the Established Artist Award.

    Earning a nomination in the Making a Difference category is Gregory Betts, a poet and professor with the Department of English Language and Literature, and Marcie Bronson, Acting Director and Curator at Rodman Hall Art Centre.

    Rodman Hall itself has also been nominated in the Arts in Education category.

    Seeing that high level of recognition bestowed upon members of the Brock community creates a sense of pride in anyone affiliated with the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), said MIWSFPA Director David Vivian.

    The accomplishments of alumni help to reaffirm the work that staff and faculty of the arts school are doing to support the arts in Niagara, he said.

    Regier, a graduate from Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, feels participation in the local arts scene is key.

    “Some of the best people and institutions in St. Catharines have positioned themselves to be generously receptive of new ideas, artwork and dialogue,” she said.

    “When it comes to contributing to the arts community post-graduation, it’s our willingness to attend talks and shows by people we don’t know, or to introduce and guide newcomers — that truly makes one an accessible and valued member of the cultural community.”

    Regier is being recognized for her work, which explores the relationship between nature and machines through photography, video, performance and installation art.

    Pacinda, a Brock theatre graduate and aspiring costume designer who works with a number of theatre companies in Niagara, has always dreamed of not just starting but building her theatre career in the region.

    “This nomination means I’m headed on the right path with that,” she said.

    Her recent work includes company costumer and design assistant for Essential Collective Theatre and wardrobe assistant for Theatre Project, Foster Festival and Twitches & Itches.

    Pacinda said her Brock experience has helped to to get involved and give back to the local arts community.

    “The overall support the school has for its current students, alumni and staff is really fantastic,” she said. “It’s with all this support that alumni are able to contribute and help build the St. Catharines art scene.”

    The Arts Awards were first presented in 2005 to celebrate artists and supporters in St. Catharines, while also cultivating support for the arts sector.

    Awards are given out in five categories: Arts in Education, Emerging Artist, Established Artist, Making a Difference and Patron of the Arts.

    This year’s recipients will be announced during an evening of performances on Monday, June 5 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    A full list of nominees and more information on their work and contributions is available online.

    Tickets for the awards ceremony and arts celebration are available at the centre box office by calling 1-855-515-0722.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Brock thanks Rotary Club of St. Catharines with new Reflecting Pool at downtown Walker School

    (Source: The Brock News, Thursday, October 20, 2016 | by )

    The bond between Brock University and the Rotary Club of St. Catharines became a bit tighter today when Brock formally dedicated the Rotary Reflecting Pool at its Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

    Under a drizzly fall sky, representatives from Rotary, the University and the City joined students and local residents for the first look at the new artistic water feature as it was unveiled during a midday ceremony.

    The University dedicated the pool to recognize St. Catharines Rotary’s support in helping Brock locate its arts school into a restored industrial heritage site. In doing so, the Walker School became a key factor in the city centre’s economic and cultural revival, alongside other major downtown projects the Meridian Centre and FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, which also received support from the Rotary Club of St. Catharines.

    In 2011, as Brock was seeking government and community help to relocate the MIWSFPA from its main campus into the city’s core, the Rotary Club of St. Catharines announced it would donate $100,000 to the cause, the club’s largest single gift in its nearly-100-year history.

    Over the next four years the school took shape in an award-winning project that integrated new construction with a carefully refurbished textile mill dating to the 19th century. The project — made possible by a $26-million investment from the Province of Ontario, and provision of the former industrial site from the City of St. Catharines — was opened in the fall of 2015.

    Set amidst modernist sculptures in a greenspace beside the Walker School, the Rotary Reflecting Pool’s gently flowing current echoes the tranquility of a semi-private space that can be used by students and by members of the public.

    Brock’s Interim President Tom Traves said the University is very pleased to partner with an organization like Rotary on an investment that will benefit not just students but citizens all across Niagara.

    “Just as the Welland Canal contributed to the life of the City many years ago, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and the Performing Arts Centre are contributing to its revitalization,” said Traves. “As we stand in this space, we further transform this area and we thank Rotary for its support of Brock.”

    Rotary Club of St. Catharines President George Darte said the club agreed to contribute such a large sum because the Brock project represented a historic opportunity that the community could not afford to miss out on.

    “Our members are dedicated to the vitality and the prosperity of the community,” said Darte. “Through our support to the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, we are delighted to be nurturing the next generation of artists and performers here in St. Catharines, while at the same time contributing to the revitalization of our downtown core.”

    Liz Palmieri, the Rotary Club of St. Catharines past president, who was chair of the club’s Major Grants Committee at the time of the gift, said club members knew what they had to do.

    “We felt strongly about our commitment to the arts in our community,” said Palmieri, “and we are proud to be major supporters of an institution that embodies the vision of Marilyn I Walker, one of our community’s finest citizens, artists and philanthropists.  It is a fitting tribute to her memory.”

    Like the Walker School project itself, the pool’s actual creation is the result of many parties working together.

    It was designed in a collaboration between Scott Roper, of Brock Campus Planning, Design and Construction; David Vivian, Director of the MIWSFPA; Arie Shipper of Merit Contractors; and Wally Healey and Brian McLeod of Stevensville Lawn Service, with artist Elizabeth Chitty who consulted on details of local history and geography.

    The project’s strong focal point occurs where the water flows through a metal grate fashioned by Fenwick blacksmith Ken Robertson. The grate consists of a series of panels set at different angles, representing the hillsides of the Walker School’s valley setting, as well as iron cutouts to portray Twelve Mile Creek, the Niagara River, the Welland Canal and the Raceway which used to course through the property on which the Walker School now stands.

    The following message is on a plaque beside the new water feature:

    The Rotary Reflecting Pool is dedicated to the Rotary Club of St. Catharines and to the historical significance of the original Welland Canal which was located nearby. Rotary’s support for this place of tranquility and creative reflection for students and the community is an investment in arts and culture that celebrates the revitalization of the St. Catharines downtown core.

    There are over 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide whose motto is “Service Above Self.” Rotarians are dedicated to important global causes including the quest to eradicate polio, education, clean drinking water, assistance for mothers and children, and numerous other initiatives. 

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts occupies the historic 1880’s Canada Haircloth Building and 1940’s storage shed near what was once the third lock of the first Welland Canal. Water was diverted from the canal along the north side of the building to provide electrical power to the mill. The Welland Canal transformed the local economy and navigation of the entire region.

     

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    Categories: In the Media, News