Articles tagged with: Department of Dramatic Arts

  • First students to complete entire four-year degree at downtown MIWSFPA graduate June 14

    Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.


    The first group of students to have completed their entire four-year degree at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ downtown St. Catharines facility crossed the stage at Spring Convocation on Friday, June 14.

    Sixty-three students from Brock’s Departments of Music, Visual Arts and Dramatic Arts graduated from the downtown arts school, which opened its doors in 2015. Nine students who minored in programs at the MIWSFPA will also graduate on Friday.

    The milestone is not lost on the 2019 graduating class.

    “It’s a cool honour to be part of Brock history and I’m grateful to have trained in such a professional environment,” said Emma McCormick, who completed a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts, Performance Concentration. “I feel that I’ve gained a lot of skills that will serve me in my career, specific to the learning I received at the MIWSFPA.”

    The London, Ont. native is the recipient of the Jean Harding Prize, which is awarded to the student who achieves the highest standing in fourth-year Dramatic Arts. She plans to remain in St. Catharines after graduation, where she will continue her studies in Brock’s Adult Education program and working in the performing arts sector.

    Providing students like McCormick with a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility was the vision of the School’s namesake, the late Marilyn I. Walker.

    When the famed textile artist and philanthropist donated $15 million to Brock University in 2008, she envisioned the creation of an arts facility that would revitalize downtown St. Catharines and encourage students to study and practice the arts here in the Niagara region.

    Her generosity and foresight allowed for the historic Canada Hair Cloth Building to be converted into the new home for the Departments of Music, Dramatic Arts and Visual Arts, and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, which had previously been housed at Brock’s main campus.

    The $45.5-million project also received a $26.2-million investment from the Ontario government, numerous private and corporate donors, and relied heavily on the insight and contributions of hundreds of partners such as then-Dean of Humanities, Rosemary Hale, and the City of St. Catharines.

    MIWSFPA Director Elizabeth Vlossak, who joined the School on an interim basis from the Department of History, said she has seen first-hand the impact the facility and its programming has on students.

    “Although the School is a cultural hub that acts as a living, breathing connection between the city’s past and future, it’s also so much more than that,” she said. “In my short time here, I have seen how these incredible facilities and engaged, passionate faculty benefit our students.”

    Graduand Alyssa Shanghavi, of St. Catharines, said she appreciated the availability of unique practice spaces on campus for music students like herself, which allowed her to focus on her studies and hone her skills on the trombone.

    The Bachelor of Music recipient said being around other artists all the time and in such close proximity to the downtown core was an invaluable complement to her education.

    Gianna Luisa Aceto, a graduand from Mississauga, said that as a painter, she “enjoyed and most definitely appreciated the space the MIWSFPA provided.”

    As well as making new friendships and plenty of memories, Aceto attributes the successful completion of her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art to the artistic identify she forged while studying at the School.

    “One of the biggest takeaways for me is finding my passion, my niche,” she said.
    “I struggled a lot in finding out what I wanted to create and the reasons for creating it. My time spent within the walls of the MIWSFPA allowed me to uncover that knowledge.”

    She also said she has an undeniable gratitude for her professors, and that “the drive they instilled in me has not gone unnoticed.”

    Faculty of Humanities Dean Carol Merriam said this milestone serves as time to reflect on the importance of the arts and its ability to create healthy and flourishing communities.

    “This first class of students to have spent their entire Brock careers in this splendid facility serve this mission in downtown St. Catharines and in the broader community, but they have also been a defining force within the MIWSFPA itself,” she said. “They have been largely responsible for creating the culture of the School as a place to learn, create and serve as a community. Their impact will last a very long time, and we are proud to see their graduation day.”

    Longstanding former MIWSFPA Director Derek Knight echoed Merriam’s sentiments.

    The Associate Professor said the class of 2019 should receive their degrees with pride having been part of an extraordinary university experience and contributing to the legacy of the arts, both at Brock and in the community.

    With the MIWSFPA’s fifth anniversary on the horizon, the School will continue to offer students unique teaching and learning experiences while honouring the spirit of its benefactor, he said.

    “What was interesting about Marilyn is that she was always very curious and engaged with how we, the faculty, envisioned the future,” Knight said. “She thought it was our job to rise to the challenge and define the potential of what she had given to us in the form of this extraordinary gift. I think, in many ways, we’ve done that.

    “Now, we are charged to think about not only what we will offer today, but in the long-term, and how we will define pedagogy and the School’s identity long into the future.”

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    Categories: Alumni, Events, News

  • Dramatic Arts grad gets rave reviews in Soulpepper’s The Brothers Size

    Brock Dramatic Arts alumnus Marcel Stewart (BA ’07), centre, plays the role of Elegba in the Soulpepper production of The Brothers Size alongside Daren A. Herbert, left, and Mazin Elsadig. Photo by: Cylla von Tiedemann, courtesy of Soulpepper.


    The reviews are in, and Brock Dramatic Arts alumnus Marcel Stewart (BA ’07) is earning praise for his performance in what the Toronto Star calls a “stunning Canadian premiere.”

    Stewart stars as Elegba in The Brothers Size, the newest offering from Toronto-based production house Soulpepper.

    He describes the experience as a “whirlwind,” especially after Toronto-based rapper Drake made a surprise appearance at the May 10 opening night performance.

    Brock Dramatic Arts alumnus Marcel Stewart (BA ’07), second from right, and his castmates from The Brothers Size got a surprise visit from rapper Drake, third from right, at the opening night performance of the Toronto show.

    “It has been amazing; it’s such a gift to do something like this,” Stewart said. “Through my whole journey as an actor, I have wanted to work on a play that speaks to my experience, one that I can easily dive into, and this text was so comfortable it was like putting on a jacket that was made for me.”

    The Brothers Size is the second play in the Brothers/Sisters series, written by Oscar-winning screenwriter and Tony Award-nominated playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney.

    Set in a fictional town in Louisiana, it tells the story of two brothers, Ogun and Oshoosi, who find themselves living together after Oshoosi’s release from prison.

    Stewart plays Oshoosi’s best friend, who formed a bond with him during their incarceration together.

    “I think on a micro level, Brothers Size is about the experience of black men today in the world,” Stewart said. “But on the macro level, what the characters go through are things that all people experience: grief, trauma and searching for a sense of belonging.”

    Stewart’s performance marks his return to the Soulpepper stage, where he has previously performed three times and was a member of the Soulpepper Academy.

    Some of his other credits include the role of Miles in The Drawer Boy at Prince Edward County’s Festival Players, Coutts in the Mirvish Theatre Production of King Charles III in Toronto, and roles on popular Canadian television series’ Kim’s Convenience and Murdoch Mysteries.

    While he focused primarily on acting for several years after graduation, Stewart also developed a passion for doing outreach work and giving back to young, aspiring actors.

    Brock Dramatic Arts alumnus Marcel Stewart (BA ’07).

    When he’s not on stage, he gives private acting lessons and hosts workshops in communities across Canada. He’s worked with school groups at the Toronto International Film Festival, for example, and was the creator of What Noise is This, a workshop that explores William Shakespeare’s canon through the lens of hip-hop music.

    Stewart is also involved in the local theatre industry, both as the outreach co-ordinator with St. Catharines theatre company Suitcase in Point and the volunteer co-ordinator for the upcoming In The Soil Arts Festival, taking place this June in downtown St. Catharines.

    Brock Assistant Theatre Professor Danielle Wilson offered her congratulations on Stewart’s success.

    “Marcel was bright and hungry to learn and is an example of the breadth of career opportunities that become available after studying in DART,” she said. “We congratulate him on his success as a working artist and are very proud of the contributions he has made in the theatre community over the years.”

    Stewart attributes his ability to “wear many hats” in his career to the skills he gained from studying at Brock.

    “The ‘motor’ that I developed at Brock was probably my biggest takeaway that I still rely on 12 years later,” the 33-year-old said. “To keep going, to keep pursuing, and if a door is closed in my face, then there’s 10 more doors that I can open.”

    After the wrap of Brothers Size in Toronto, Stewart is headed back to work in St. Catharines.

    He wants to continue his outreach work and bring more eclectic and diverse artists to St. Catharines.

    He said instructors at Brock encouraged him to explore his sense of self and find cultural connections through the performing arts — and he wants to do the same for others.

    “My experience at Brock helped open me up to recognizing who I am as a black man and encouraged me use that voice and speak from my perspective whenever I can,” he said. “Now I’m on this representation kick, running workshops, doing outreach and looking at how to bring some more colour — in more ways than one — to the artistic landscape.”

    Brothers Size runs until Saturday, June 1 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts at 50 Tank House Lane in Toronto. More information and tickets are available at Soulpepper.ca.

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    Categories: Alumni, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • All the world’s a stage for Brock student turned Shaw Festival intern

    Brock Dramatic Arts student Mae Smith gets acquainted with the Shaw Festival theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake on her first day as the festival’s newest intern.


    (From The Brock News, April 25, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    Brock Dramatic Arts student Mae Smith is ready to put her in-class learning to the test as she embarks on an eight-week internship with the venerable Shaw Festival.

    Smith, who began in the new role this week, will use her production and design skills as she works alongside Kevin Lamotte, Shaw’s Head of Lighting, Wayne Reierson, Head of Props, and other Shaw staff on the productions of BrigadoonThe Lady Killers, and Sex.

    The shows will run at the festival this summer and fall in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

    Kate Hennig, Associate Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival, said the internship allows students to gain experience in a range of festival activities under the direction of industry professionals.

    Kate Hennig (left), Associate Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival, meets with Mae Smith, Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts 2019 Shaw Festival intern.

    “In addition to her daily work calls, Mae will have access to the onstage and backstage life of one of North America’s busiest repertory theatres,” she said. “She will meet theatre artists from across Canada and around the world, and will have unique opportunities to attend many lectures, discussions and ancillary events during her residency.”

    Smith said she’s looking forward to the experiential learning opportunities the internship provides and to developing techniques and strategies for staging a production.

    “I’ve had a lot of practical experiences at Brock, but this internship will be quite specific and I’m excited to learn more about lighting design and props construction,” she said. “I also hope I can gain connections with other professionals that will open more career opportunities for me.”

    Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) has partnered with the Shaw Festival to provide student internships since 2011.

    Dramatic Arts alumna Michelle Mohammed (BA ’18) was 2018’s intern and worked alongside Peter Hinton on Oh! What a Lovely War. She vlogged about her experiences at the festival on the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Art’s YouTube channel throughout the process.

    Smith will provide weekly updates as well, which will also be shared through the Marilyn I. Walker social media accounts.

    DART students are eligible to apply for this intensive residency following the successful completion of DART 4Y92: Text and Performance at the Shaw Festival Theatre, taught by instructor Barbara Worthy. Students attended festival performances and interacted with festival staff and actors during the course.

    Co-ops and summer contract work at the Shaw has also been available to DART students over the years, and some alumni of the program have even gone on to work for the festival full time.

    Department Chair Joe Norris said all of the internship candidates this year were exceptional students, but Smith was ultimately chosen because her skills and interests were the “best fit” for the particular productions the Shaw Festival is staging this season.

    “The Shaw internship creates a stepping stone between the university world and the student’s future career path,” he said. “Mae will be able to bridge what she’s learned in the classroom with the processes that the Shaw utilizes, and gain experience in a professional environment.”

    Smith is excited to learn more about the inner-workings of the festival and utilize the experience to bolster her resume going forward.

    “I’m really grateful for the opportunity,” she said. “I feel the internship will help me figure out where I want to situate myself in theatre and help me plan my professional path.”

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    Categories: Current Students, Department/Centre News, News

  • Brock University ready to welcome thousands to annual Open House

    Alexandra McDermid, Brock Student Life and Community Experience Events Assistant, shares details of summer orientation programs with visitors during the 2018 Spring Open House.


    (From The Brock News, Monday, April 1, 2019 | By: )

    With early signs indicating Brock continues to rise as a top choice for high school graduates, campus is expected be buzzing for the University’s annual Spring Open House this weekend.

    The entire Brock community will join together to welcome thousands of potential undergraduate and graduate students and their families Sunday, April 7.

    Running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Open House aims to give visitors a taste of all that Brock has to offer. In addition to a comprehensive information fair, prospective students will have the chance to tour campus, meet students, senior administrators, faculty and staff, attend presentations related to programs of interest, learn about student services and research opportunities, and even take in a first-year lecture.

    Tours of residences, research labs, athletic facilities and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts downtown will also be available, and welcome sessions will be introduced to help visitors make the most of their time on campus.

    “The day will be action-packed, allowing for a ‘choose your own adventure’ style experience that meets students’ personal interests and passions,” said Beth Natale, Director, Recruitment for Brock University. “Open House is one of the best ways to solidify that Brock is the right choice for your future. It allows you to try us on for size and learn how you can shape your Brock experience to fit your own priorities and goals for your future.”

    One of the most important days on the recruitment calendar, Spring Open House comes on the heels of promising early signs for the University’s fall enrolment.

    Last September, Brock welcomed a record number of students to campus, taking enrolment past 19,000 for the first time. Recent figures compiled by the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) indicate that trend may continue, with an increasing number of students shortlisting Brock as their possible destination for 2019-20:

    • Ontario high school students who put Brock in their Top 3 universities are up nearly 12 per cent over a year ago.
    • Those listing Brock as their No. 1 pick shot up more than 15 per cent.
    • In Brock’s home communities, applications from students across Niagara region are up nearly 10 per cent.
    • Globally, Brock has nearly 4,000 applications from international students, up 22.5 per cent over the same time last year. (This number reflects both students applying from overseas, as well as international students currently studying in Ontario high schools.)

    It will be a few months before universities know where students ultimately register, but the strong numbers combined with early interest in Brock’s Open House are promising.

    “We are seeing indicator after indicator that shows Brock is definitely in demand,” Natale said. “Our reputation as a career starter and place of interest for students is gaining serious momentum.”

    Online registration and a full schedule for Spring Open House can be found at discover.brocku.ca/openhouse/

    What: Brock University Spring Open House
    When: Sunday, April 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Where: Information fair to begin in Ian Beddis Gymnasium on Brock’s main campus

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    Categories: Announcements, Future Students, News

  • Drama students to tackle tough topics in Sunday on the Rocks

    Brock dramatic arts students and cast members Catherine Tait, left, and Kristina Ojaperv rehearse for their upcoming production of Sunday on the Rocks. Produced by dramatic arts students under the company name OverHead Theatre, the show is being staged at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts from Friday, April 12 to Sunday, April 14. Photo courtesy of OverHead Theatre.


    (From The Brock News, Friday, March 29, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    Brock Dramatic Arts students are bringing the work of Broadway heavyweight Theresa Rebeck to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) this April with their production of Sunday on the Rocks.

    The show is produced by students in the University’s DART 4F56 class, under the company name Over Head Theatre, and is the follow-up to their successful first production A History of Everything.

    It opens at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre on Friday, April 12 and runs until Sunday, April 14.

    Set in 1994, Sunday on the Rocks is a comedic drama about four roommates stepping into adulthood and struggling with issues of harassment, sexual assault and abortion.

    It features the talents of fourth-year Dramatic Arts students Adria Dearden, Kristina Ojaperv, Tsipporah Shendroff and Catherine Tait as the cast, and is being staged by the production team comprised of Alicia Bender, Whitney Braybrook-Byl, Leah Eichler, Juan-Carlos Figueroa, Heather Janser, Holly Kurelek, Ryan Mahon, Emma McCormick, Mae Smith and Geoff Turner.

    Director and course instructor Neil Silcox said he was drawn to this play because of the rich and complex characters.

    “Living in 1994, they are struggling with all the same issues that women face today, but without the short-hand to talk about it that we’ve developed in the past 25 years with the rise of the #MeToo movement.”

    Assistant Director Colin Williams added: “Theresa Rebeck’s writing never shies away from difficult and sensitive subjects, is never preachy and is, above all, funny.”

    Rebeck, who has four plays under her belt, was presented the PEN/Laura Pels Award in 2010 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. Her other notable plays include Seminar, starring Alan Rickman, Dead Accounts, starring Katie Holmes, and most recently, the 2018 Broadway hit Bernhardt/Hamlet, starring Janet McTeer.

    Sunday on the Rocks runs from Friday, April 12 to Sunday, April 14 at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre of the MIWSFPA, located at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines. Tickets are $5 (plus taxes and fees) and are available for purchase through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre online box office or by phone at 905-688-0722.

    For more information and showtimes visit the DART web page. Limited parking is available on site.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, 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: Rachel Bonds
    Playwright: Chris Murillo
    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: Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, News

  • MIWSFPA host to roughly 60 high school arts teachers

    Visual Arts teachers were led through an Indigenous art workshop led by Brian Kon.


    On Feb. 15, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts hosted more than 60 Dramatic Arts, Music and Visual Arts teachers from the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN).

    Organized by Recruitment and Liaison Officer, Madison Roca, and NCDSB Arts Consultant, Teri Cristelli, the teachers were led through various workshops as part of their professional development day.

    “Many of the teachers had said it was the best professional development day they’d ever had,” said Cristelli.

    Among the different workshops were two visual arts workshops, the first on Indigenous art led by guest Brian Kon, followed by a session led by Visual Arts Assistant Professor Amy Friend on cyanotypes.

    There was also a Dramatic Arts workshop led by Dramatic Arts Chair Joe Norris and music workshop led by guest Kevin Hamlin from Yamaha Canada, held in the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

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    Categories: Events, News

  • Event to explore bodies and illness through art and literature

    Yasmine Kandil, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts, and six Brock Dramatic Arts students will present “Still Here,” cat the fifth annual Art, Archives and Affinities event. Hosted by the Social Justice Research Institute, the event takes place at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on Tuesday, Feb. 26.


    (From The Brock News, February 21, 2019 | By: Alison Innes)

    Art-making and trauma. Non-human organisms in the human body. Early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

    These are some of the ideas and experiences Brock scholars will explore through art and literature at the upcoming Art, Archives and Affinities event hosted by the Social Justice Research Institute.

    Held Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines, this year’s event features scholars from Visual Arts, Dramatic Arts, and English examining ideas about the body, illness and trauma.

    Included among the speakers is Candace Couse, an artist and PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary Humanities, who will present an art installation and discuss her research on art and illness. Couse’s research examines the role that producing art has on artists who are undergoing illness and body trauma and how addressing trauma and illness through art-making helps artists reclaim their bodies and experiences.

    Also presenting is Adam Dickinson, Associate Professor in the Department of English, who subjected himself to a wide variety of bio-medical tests to measure and identify the precise chemical and microbial diversity of his body. The book of poetry he wrote examining the experience and its results, Anatomic, explores how we rely on nonhuman organisms to make us human and the permeability of our bodies to the environment.

    Yasmine Kandil, Assistant Professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts, and a team of six Dramatic Arts students will present performance piece “Still Here” at the event. Students created the performance based on interviews they did with caregivers of people with early onset Alzheimer’s. The performance explores the disease and the impact it has on caregivers.

    Art, Archives and Affinities is free and open to the public.

    What: Art, Archives and Affinities
    When: Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 2 to 5 p.m.
    Where: Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Room 151 and Studio D

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    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • King Ubu coming to Marilyn I. Walker Theatre

    Cast and crew members of the upcoming mainstage production King Ubu have been busy preparing for opening night on Friday, March 1. Tickets are on sale now for the production, presented by Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts.


    (From The Brock News, February 13, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    Alfred Jarry’s controversial classic King Ubu will bring audiences face-to-face with the absurdity of modern life when the production comes to Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker Theatre starting Friday, March 1.

    Presented by Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART), the show is an avant-garde and hilarious commentary on human folly and the dangers of unchecked political ambition.

    Director and Associate Professor David Fancy said Ubu’s references to populism and the blurred lines between celebrity culture and politics are fitting themes for our current climate. Although first performed in 19th century France, King Ubu, he added, offers “an invitation to look critically at, but not disengage with, the current moment in time.”

    The play centres on Ma and Pa Ubu’s bloodthirsty quest to become the new king and queen of a fictionalized version of Poland.

    Between their continuous bickering, Pa, an egotistical and inept tyrant who wields an enormous toilet brush while speaking nonsense, and Ma, his enabling and devious wife, scheme to take over the world through a series of antics that play out like a reality show gone wrong.

    To emphasize the theatrical nature of Ma and Pa Ubu’s political exploits, the show features puppets, karaoke numbers and a giant puppet head that eats half the cast.

    Although the production stays true to the absurdist spirit of Jarry’s original work, Fancy said there is also a layer of introspection that exists beneath all the silliness.

    “On one side we’re being playful, irreverent and sarcastic like Jarry, but on the other side there are also lots of heartfelt moments,” he said. “We can use laughter on some level to celebrate, criticize and escape, but we will also be forced to confront the fact that these are real people having difficult experiences. We question what caused them to become such trainwrecks — and whether we need to have compassion for these people who are perhaps not so different from us.”

    The show’s gender-bending lead role selection also provides a unique twist.

    Ubu admonishes supremacy logic in all of its forms and casting a woman as Ubu helps heighten the critique of patriarchy. At the same time, this casting points out that anyone, given the right context, can engage in human folly,” Fancy said of the distribution of roles across genders. “Everybody can behave like a dangerous fool.”

    All these aspects of the production, combined with intense and moving performances, make for an entertaining experience, he added.

    “I think a big part of it is tapping into the creative possibility of what theatre can be as an art form,” Fancy said. “The experience gives our cast and crew the creative confidence to respond to the world around them, like Jarry did, using their own, creative voices.”

    King Ubu is translated by David Edney and directed by David Fancy, with costume design by Jo Pacinda and scenography and scenography by James McCoy.

    The production showcases the talents of students in the DART undergraduate program, including Ash McEachern, Avery Delaney, Chris Murillo, Emma McCormick, Jackson Wagner, Jasmine Case, Juan-Carlos Figueroa, Lauren Reid, Leah Eichler, Rachel Frederick, Samuel Donovan, Taylor Bogaert and Tsipporah Shendroff.

    Brock students, staff and faculty members of the creative and production team include Kristina Ojaperv (Assistant Director), Jordine De Guzman (Stage Manager), Alicia Bender (Assistant Stage Manager), Meryl Ochoa (Assistant Lighting Designer), Trevor Copp (Choreographer), Holly Kurelek (Wardrobe Supervisor), Diego Blanco and Molly Lacey (Dressers), Brian Cumberland (Production Manager), Gavin Fearon (Technical Director), Ed Harris (Shop Supervisor), Dawn Crysler (Theatre Technician), Danielle Wilson (Shakespeare Coach) and Roberta Doylend (Head of Wardrobe).

    King Ubu runs from Friday, March 1 to Saturday, March 9 at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines. Showtimes are March 1, 2 and 9 at 7:30 p.m., March 3 at 2 p.m. and March 8 at 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

    Tickets for the show are $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. A group rate is also available. Tickets are available through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office at 905-688-0722 or on the PAC website.

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    Categories: Current Students, News, Uncategorised

  • MIWSFPA faculty, alumni nominated for 2019 St. Catharines Arts Awards

    Visual Arts alumna Kylie Haveron (BA ’18) is among the nominees selected for the Emerging Artist category for the 2019 City of St. Catharines Arts Awards.


    (From The Brock News, January 31, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    Congratulations are in order for the numerous faculty members and alumni of Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) nominated for the 2019 City of St. Catharines Arts Awards.

    The awards recognize and celebrate excellence in all areas of artistic creation and seek to increase the visibility of St. Catharines’ artists and cultural industries, honour cultural leaders and their achievements and cultivate financial and volunteer support for the arts sector.

    Visual Arts alumna Kylie Haveron (BA ’18) is among the nominees selected for the Emerging Artist category, while Dramatic Arts Chair Joe Norris and Assistant Theatre Professor Danielle Wilson were both nominated for the Arts in Education award.

    Nominated in the Established Artist category are Wayne Corlis (BA ’05, MA ’12), who majored in Visual Arts and earned a master’s in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts, and Colin Anthes (BA ’14, MA ’16), who completed a combined Psychology/Dramatic Arts degree with a minor in Philosophy and a master’s degree in Philosophy. Anthes currently works as a part-time instructor in Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts.

    Nominated in the Making a Difference category is alumna Emma German (BA ’14), who majored in Visual Arts and worked as a curator at the City of St. Catharines and Brock’s Rodman Hall Art Centre.

    Also nominated in the same category is the Willow Arts Community, a non-profit arts organization based at Rodman Hall that provides free artistic training and exhibition opportunities to community members with lived experience of mental health and addiction.

    The recipients of the City of St. Catharines Arts Awards will be recognized at a reception on Friday, May 3 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Tickets will be available in March.

    A full list of nominees is available online.

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    Categories: Alumni, Faculty & Instructors, News