Articles tagged with: dramatic arts

  • Pipeline to a Better Way: A special Walker Cultural Leader Event!

    A series of events around questions of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Brock and St. Catharines theatre community and beyond, co-produced by the Walker Cultural Leaders Program at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University and the theatre company Suitcase in Point.

    Activities at Brock include a keynote address by Ravi Jain, artistic director of Why Not Theatre; a staged reading of Dominique Morisseau’s award-winning play Pipeline (directed by directed by Toronto-based actor, director, and producer Lisa Karen Cox; with a cast and creative team of professional actors and Brock Dramatic Arts students); and discussions about the St. Catharines artistic and cultural landscape.

    see the article from the Brock News

    On Nov. 9, Suitcase in Point Theatre Company presents a forum, roundtable and a cabaret in downtown St Catharines.
    Details at suitcaseinpoint.com

    Nov. 10th, 2019
    3:00pm to 6:30pm at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines ON

    3:00pm to 3:45pm  Keynote by Ravi Jain  “Alternative Visions of Existence”

    “While working in Nairobi, Kenya I learned of Ngugi wa’Thiongo. He was a pioneer of Kenyan theatre, who was exiled for rediscovering a Kenyan theatre which challenged the British rule and history of the country. Someone wrote of his work, ‘he was searching for alternative visions of existence’. That phrase has stuck with me ever since, and is the bedrock of everything I do.” – Ravi Jain

    How do we challenge the status quo and use the arts to create a vision of the world we want to see, a version of the world we want to live in? This talk will look at how artists can challenge their own assumptions of what theatre is, who gets to tell it, who it is for and what its purpose is. An exploration of the imagination, activism and the story of an artist who is always looking for a better way.

    4:00pm to 5:15pm  Staged Reading of Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau
    Directed by Lisa Karen Cox

    In this play, which premiered in 2017 in New York City, a mother’s hopes for her son clash with an educational system rigged against him. The title refers to the widespread perception of a school-to-prison pipeline for young African-American men.

    5:30pm to 6:30pm  Q & A discussion

    The event is presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts for the Walker Cultural Leader Series, generously founded by Marilyn I. Walker. 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. Engaging, lively and erudite, these sessions celebrate professional achievement, artistic endeavour and the indelible role of culture in our society. Please join us.

    Tickets are required for this free public event

    brocku.universitytickets.com

    DOWNLOAD THE POSTER

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    Categories: Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, News, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Fluid identities onstage at DART: “The question generation” takes on Woolf and Ruhl’s Orlando

    (From: DARTCritics, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2019 | by )

    Contemporary theatre companies are making strides in representing individuals whose voices society has tried to silence, especially those who identify as transgender, or don’t identify with a gender at all. Transgender performance artist Travis Alabanza’s one-person show, Burgerz, has been getting rave reviews around Europe. Two-spirited actor Ty Defoe and non-binary actor Kate Bornstein made headlines when both made their Broadway debuts in Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men. Canadian transgender artist Vivek Shraya is creating and performing in her first theatre piece, How to Fail as a Pop Star, at Canadian Stage next February. There’s clearly an increasing amount of work created by and/or featuring individuals who don’t identify as cisgender, but nevertheless mainstream theatre and the theatrical canon seems to me to still be dominated by heteronormative stories.

    I asked David Fancy, director of Orlando, Brock University’s first Mainstage production of the 2019-20 season, why he thinks much mainstream theatre hasn’t treated gender non-conformity or gender fluidity. “I think humans are continuously in survival mode and think in terms of binary logic because it’s a way of cutting to the chase, and it’s simple habituation,” says Fancy. “I think it actually takes work to think outside of that, and I think there’s a lot of energy and anger that goes into reinforcing those perimeters simply because historically, properties have been perpetuated along these patrilineal lines.” He explains that there’s “a history of privileging the cisgender hetero matrix that [Judith] Butler talks about, what she describes as the false stabilisation of certain sets of binaries, and so many cultural institutions are organized around that.”

    Taj Crozier and Paige Hunt-Harman in Orlando. Photos by Neil Silcox.

    Enter Orlando, a play that directly tackles questions of gender identity and how we perceive it. Orlando: A Biography was written by Virginia Woolf in 1928 and adapted into a play by Sarah Ruhl in 1998. The play follows the titular character through six centuries, starting with the reign of Elizabeth I and ending in the present day. When Orlando turns 30, they stop aging and go to sleep as a man and wake up as a woman. They stay in the biological body of a woman for the rest of the play, but nothing else about them has changed. Paige Hunt-Harman, the actor who plays Orlando, feels the character doesn’t necessarily identify as either gender: “he/she/they don’t necessarily know who they are when it comes to gender,” says Hunt-Harman. “They kind of see themselves as just this ever-flowing entity that is kind of always going to be there, always there to ask those questions, to say, ‘who am I?’ and ‘what’s to come?’ and ‘what will people think, or do I even care what people think?’”

    Orlando premiered Off-Broadway in 2010; in July of 2018, Soulpepper Theatre produced its Canadian premiere with Sarah Afful in the title role. With Brock University staging the play this year, are we moving towards a theatrical landscape (and perhaps consequently, a society) where gender fluidity is moving further into mainstream representation? Both Fancy and Hunt-Harman agree that we are. And good thing, too – especially in a university setting in which many students identify as gender non-binary or gender non-conforming, representation on the stage is important. We still live in a heteronormative society and works like Orlando are needed to disrupt and question that thinking, to advocate that people of all genders and sexualities have avoice.

    The play certainly challenges questions of gender and how we perceive it. Hunt-Harman shared the story of an early rehearsal in which Fancy asked the ensemble what masculinity meant to them, after which there was an awkward pause before someone suggested, “big muscles?” And maybe that is how many see masculinity today – the big, strong, protective man versus the frail, delicate, damsel-in-distress. But do these traits have to be separate and rigid between the sexes? This play works to blur these lines: “Orlando really starts at the beginning of the play as a very stereotypical, heroic male, the hegemonic hero of the story,” Hunt-Harman says, “and I believe by playing that up we really show the audience just how we as a society perceive masculinity — and the same goes for femininity. But throughout the play we see… that stylized gender kind of transform into something that we now are able to connect with, where it’s not necessarily one thing or the other. It’s very grey… I see masculine in the feminine and feminine in the masculine.”

    It’s not just gender that this production of Orlando addresses – it also touches on issues of racialization. While Ruhl’s adaptation has eliminated Woolf’s uses of words like “moor,” there are still remnants of racializing language that the ensemble has worked to challenge by, for example, cutting out all mentions of the word “gypsy.” When Orlando transitions from man to woman, they do so in Constantinople (now Istanbul), which is highly exoticized and orientalised in Woolf’s novel, and consequently Ruhl’s script. “There’s a whole tradition in colonial literature of white people from Europe going to a foreign place that’s exotic and they have all kinds of discoveries. This is a repeated trope in colonial texts,” Fancy explains, “and it’s left unexamined by Woolf because she takes on the question of gender, but it’s almost like it’s first-wave feminism where you have a white woman, upper class, going through these discoveries.” Without giving too much away, the ensemble has taken this scene in Constantinople and over-emphasized the racialization by being hyper-theatrical about it, before then deconstructing it.“We establish it and then just… almost campily, certainly almost cheesy, with theatrical means, take it apart,” says Fancy. “You have to make sure that if you’re foregrounding something, you’re foregrounding that it’s a construction. And you’re showing how it’s made, and how you take it apart.”

    Sid Malcolm in Orlando.

    Orlando and the questions intertwined with it come at the right time, especially with an audience likely primarily composed of university students. Young people are recognizing their power now more than ever and are questioning what has always been presented as “natural and inevitable,” as Fancy would say. “We are now the question generation,” Hunt-Harman says. “We want to ask more questions; we want to challenge the norms that society has brought upon us and I really think that this play brings that to the forefront.”

    Orlando plays at the Marilyn I Walker Theatre, 15 Artists’ Common, from October 25 – November 2. Purchase your tickets online.


    DARTCritics is a project of the Department of Dramatic Arts, founded by Dr. Karen Fricker.  Launched in 2013, the site originated as a practical way for students to train in the art of reviewing, and also sought to bring the artistic community of Brock University and St. Catharines closer together. The website features writing about theatre produced and seen in Niagara, Hamilton, Stratford and Toronto. Please follow DARTCritics as they continue to search for awesome theatre, meeting fascinating artists along the way.

    You can also follow DARTcritics here:

    @DARTCritics
    Facebook: DARTCritics
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    DARTcritics.com is partially funded by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, in support of student learning; experiential education; student professionalization; public engagement with the teaching, learning and production activities of the Department of Dramatic Arts; new ways of thinking; and the nurturing of links with our communities.

    The opinions expressed by the writers of the DARTcritics.com website are their own.

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    Categories: Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News, Uncategorised

  • Brock project aims to improve long-term care for veterans and brain injury patients

    Brock University alumni now with Mirror Theatre perform a scene in Understanding person-centred care: Finding dignity within the shadows, a video series as part of a research project between Brock and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

    (From: The Brock News, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2019 | by Dan Dakin)

    Two Brock University faculty members from seemingly unrelated disciplines have collaborated on a project aimed at improving the relations of those involved in long-term care.

    Associate Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies Colleen Whyte, and Professor of Dramatic Arts Joe Norris, were at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto Wednesday, Oct. 2 for the premiere of Understanding person-centred care: Finding dignity within the shadows.

    Two years ago, Sunnybrook Professional Practice and Education Leader Leanne Hughes came to Whyte with a research idea about how to help staff and family deal with the challenges associated with two specific groups in long-term care: veterans living with dementia and patients recovering from traumatic brain injuries.

    “I’ve known Leanne for 15 years and we’ve done research together in the past,” Whyte said. “She came to me and said: This is an issue we have. How do you think we could look at researching it?’”

    “What we’re looking at are person-centred approaches,” said Hughes, referring to a growing emphasis in health care that invites patients and family members to be involved in decision-making and strategizing ways to care for individual patients from a wide-range of services. It’s a more collaborative care model than a traditional top-down medical approach to care.

    In the fall of 2018, Whyte led research that included focus groups of those working in long-term care at the Toronto hospital such as doctors and hospital staff, as well as families of those in care.

    Brock University professors Joe Norris and Colleen Whyte hand a USB drive to Leanne Hughes from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Brock and Sunnybook partnered on a research project that included a 20-part video around patient-centred care. Pictured from left are Brock alumni Nadia Ganesh, Candice De Freitas Braz and Mike Metz, Hughes, Norris, Brock master’s student Kevin Hobbs, Whyte and Brock alumni Bernadette Kahnert.

    “We interviewed people who are doing this every day,” Whyte said. “This research is about taking the principles of person-centred care and trying to see how they are translated on a daily basis, when all partners experience unexpected challenges.”

    With the focus group data in hand, Whyte then turned to Norris, Chair of Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts, who worked with the student-run Mirror Theatre to translate the conversations into dramatic action, known as ethnodrama and applied theatre.

    “We took the focus group transcripts, read them, analyzed them and created dramatic scenes,” said Norris. “The purpose is to evoke conversations.”

    The result is a 20-part video series, each dealing with a different component of the long-term care experience. They range from something as simple the challenge of what to pack when a family member is moved into a new living situation to what to do when a patient whose mind no longer has much of a filter says something that crosses a line.

    “It’s all about answering the question of ‘How do we treat each other with respect in stressful situations?’” Norris said.

    He said the Dramatic Arts students who were acting the parts in the videos — including the patients who are represented as shadowed silhouettes rather than specific people — learned about more than just acting.

    “Many cast members say they don’t only get extra-curricular experience with theatre, they get the experience of dealing with a range of topics. It’s like an extra class for them,” he said.

    With the video series now complete, the next stage of the project is to create workshops for staff and families.

    “It gives staff some insight and helps them think, ‘If I’m in this situation, let me strategize and be thoughtful about what options I have,’” she said. “It will equip new staff with possibilities and allow existing staff to be reflective about their approaches.”

    Brock University alumni Nadia Ganesh, Bernadette Kahnert, Lindsay Detta and Candice De Freitas Braz interpret a scene from Finding dignity within the shadows at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto Wednesday, Oct. 2.

    Hughes said when the final videos were shown to those working with veterans suffering from dementia and patients dealing with brain injuries, the staff were impressed with how accurate they were in reflecting the situations they deal with.

    “It has been an absolute pleasure to see students take this data and enact it,” Hughes said. “We were in awe of their ability. They did a fantastic job.”

    The project, which was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant and a Practice-Based Research and Innovation Seed Grant from Sunnybrook, will continue with the development of facilitator tools and training sessions. Those will be developed and led by Norris and Kevin Hobbs, a master’s student in Social Justice and Equity Studies, who directed the Finding dignity within the shadows series and incorporated the research into his master’s thesis.

    “They’re training videos, but not in the sense of, ‘Here’s how you give a needle,” said Norris. “It’s more of a dialogic conversation where our audiences are invited to comment on the scenes and add their own insights and stories.”

    Watch the full Understanding Person-Centred Care video below and individual scene videos can be found at this link

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    Categories: Alumni, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • 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

  • Brock recruiting three more Canada Research Chairs

    Brock is recruiting three Canada Research Chairs between now and the beginning of June in the Faculties of Humanities, Applied Health Sciences and Mathematics and Science. Pictured are some of the faculty involved in the recruitment process. From left: Elizabeth Vlossak (Director, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts), Robson De Grande (Computer Science), Beatrice Ombuki-Berman (Computer Science), Doug Bruce (Biological Sciences) and Miya Narushima (Health Sciences).


    (From The Brock News, April 16, 2019 | By: Cathy Majtenyi)

    Brock University is expanding its research net with three Canada Research Chair (CRC) positions in the areas of Indigenous art practice, health and the interlinkage of biology and computer science.

    Recruitment for these positions, which began in mid-March, will wrap up between late April and June.

    Researchers and scholars within and outside Brock are encouraged to apply, especially Indigenous peoples, members of visible minorities and those with disabilities, says Interim Associate Vice-President, Research Michelle McGinn.

    “These scholars often bring new perspectives that lead to critical research advances, and they are important role models for the next generation of scholars,” she says.

    The Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Mechanisms of Health and Disease is centred on investigating ways of preventing, managing or treating a variety of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, immune diseases and brain disorders.

    “This chair will position Brock and the wider Niagara community with the opportunity to study mechanisms of health and disease, solidifying and expanding the current research capacity at Brock,” says Deborah O’Leary, Professor of Health Sciences and Director of the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being.

    O’Leary says those applying to the position need to propose “an original, innovative research program of the highest quality” in one of the following areas: inflammation and immunity; genetic and epigenetic programming; host response to infection; nutritional biology and metabolism; and physical or mental stress-induced tissue remodelling.

    The competition for that position closes Friday, April 26.

    The Canada Research Chair Tier 2 in Indigenous Art Practice position will be cross-appointed to two or more of the academic units at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, including the Departments of Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts and Studies in Arts and Culture.

    The successful candidate will be an “innovative artist/scholar with the demonstrated potential to achieve a significant international reputation within five to 10 years,” says Karen Fricker, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts.

    “The CRC will have an innovative creative practice across one or multiple art forms, working with Indigenous communities and establishing new Indigenous arts-based research and methodologies.”

    McGinn says the position demonstrates the University’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

    “Brock University has renewed its commitment to reconciliation and decolonization in its most recent strategic plan, and the CRC in Indigenous Art Practice responds directly to this priority,” says McGinn.

    The competition for that position closes Friday, May 10.

    The Canada Research Chair Tier 2 in Bioinformatics/Computational Biology will strengthen collaboration between the Departments of Biological Sciences and Computer Science with the aim of expanding research capacity, says Brian Ross, Professor of Computer Science and Chair of the Department of Computer Science.

    He says that, traditionally, researchers in the field of bioinformatics and computational biology are either “primarily biologists who use existing computer software tools, or computer scientists who develop tools that are then applied to biology problems.”

    The successful candidate will be proficient in both areas so as to develop software tools and applications in population genomics, proteomics and structural biology.

    “The areas of bioinformatics and computational biology have matured significantly, and having expertise in both biology and computer science is a distinct advantage these days,” Ross says.

    The competition for that position closes Tuesday, June 4.

    McGinn says the three CRC positions are a “key part” of Brock’s latest Strategic Plan, which “identifies a strengthened focus on building research capacity across the University.

    “Outstanding scholars who have or will build international reputations engage in high-impact research, and they provide exceptional opportunities for students and postdoctoral scholars who work and learn with them,” she says.

    These latest CRCs join Brock’s existing cadre of CRCs and three others in the areas of Psychology, Kinesiology and Child and Youth Studies, announced late last year.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, 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

  • Student to share journey from life-changing concussion to finding strength in art

    Brock Kinesiology student Chance Mutuku will lead students in an interactive keynote lecture about the connections between the arts, sports and mental wellness on Wednesday, Jan. 16 in the theatre at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.


    (From The Brock News, Friday, January 11, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    Chance Mutuku was well on his way to achieving a successful career as a wrestler.

    Within five years of the loss of his father and a life-changing move to Canada from the tumultuous and violent Democratic Republic of the Congo, he had earned himself a coveted spot on the Canadian Junior National Wrestling Team and a scholarship to wrestle at Brock.

    Then, a severe concussion he suffered during a training camp two years ago halted his athletic career and forced him to reevaluate everything.

    “At the time, I didn’t clue in to how life-changing that moment was going to be,” he recalled. “It was supposed to take a few days to get back into training, but the days turned to weeks, weeks to months and now, here we are two years later — and I am still in recovery.”

    Not one to shy away from adversity, Mutuku shifted gears, instead connecting his passion for the arts with his entrepreneurial spirit to engage in new projects that both aided in his recovery and set him on a new course.

    At an upcoming lecture at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) on Wednesday, Jan. 16, he will share his inspiring story of perseverance and explore ways of bringing people from all disciplines together to promote mental wellness, enact positive change and find professional success.

    This marks the second event in the newly launched MIWSFPA Wellness Series, which offers monthly events that promote creative ways to help ease stress and promote mental well-being.

    Visual Arts Associate Professors Amy Friend and Derek Knight will also add to the discussion, and Dramatic Arts Chair Joe Norris will lead students in an interactive exercise about the ups and downs of student life.

    BioLinc and local community partners will also share career and volunteer opportunities in the arts and the health and wellness sector, and members of Brock’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Services will be on hand to discuss services they can provide to students.

    The event will conclude with a free lunch from Mahtay Café.

    Mutuku hopes the lecture will inspire students to find creative ways of healing and to think about how to apply their skills and interests in new and innovative ways.

    “I can’t say enough how amazing my experience was learning from all of these people around me, and I encourage everyone to get involved in the arts, because it connects us all and we can all benefit from it,” said Mutuku. “These projects I have been working on show me that there needs to be more collaborations between disciplines and we need to start coming together and learning from each other to bring new and great collaborative ideas to life.”

    The event will take place in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, located at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines, on Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    The event is free, but registration is required at miwsfpa-wellness-series.eventbrite.ca. Brock students must also RSVP through ExperienceBU to receive credit for the Campus-Wide Co-Curriculum. A copy of your ticket and/or Brock card (if applicable) will be required at the door for admittance.

    Students can take the STC Route 316/416 bus from main campus to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts stop, located near the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    There will be event staff stationed on Brock’s main campus and downtown to guide students to the School.

    All students, staff and faculty are welcome.

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

  • Lecturer uses theatre to tackle social justice issues

    Director David Psalmon will travel to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts from Mexico as the next presenter in the Walker Cultural Leader Series on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, January 2, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    A night at the theatre can elicit fits of laughter and bring audiences to tears, but can it also serve as a tool for promoting social and political change?

    In a week of workshops and talks hosted at Brock this month, international director David Psalmon will blur the lines between actor and spectator as he explores unique performance-based problem-solving solutions to social justice issues.

    Born in France, Psalmon currently resides in Mexico where he is the director, producer, editor and founder of the multi-awarded theatre company Teatro sin Paredes (Theatre Without Walls).

    Brock Associate Professor David Fancy said Psalmon’s years of experience teaching and directingperformances around the world will make him a “rich addition to this year’s Walker Cultural Leaders Series at Brock.”

    “Psalmon is a real self-starter who moved from France to Mexico 15 years ago and now runs one of the largest theatre companies in the country,” said Fancy. “He is committed to theatre as a means of vibrant social engagement, and always takes the broadest possible view when undertaking his theatre productions.”

    Psalmon’s Theatre Without Walls project has been utilizing Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressedmethodology since 2001, with the audience and actors working together to perform scenes that tackle a diverse array of social issues such as gender violence, discrimination and racism, and workplace violence. In these workshops, the actors present a problem that needs to be solved and then work collaboratively with the audience to improvise and alter the scene to act out potential scenarios that could address the problem at hand.

    Psalmon will discuss this methodology and his experience working for theatre companies worldwide at a public lecture on Thursday, Jan. 10 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. He will also spend two days leading immersive workshops for Brock Dramatic Arts students, where he will explore collaborative theatre-making practices that Fancy said will be extremely beneficial to students honing their craft.

    “Psalmon’s theatre company runs on a collective basis — meaning all members of the company create their theatre productions collaboratively — and allowing our Brock students to see the success of his power-sharing collaborative model will inspire them to create theatre in new ways,” Fancy said.

    The Walker Cultural Leaders Series brings leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics to Brock’s MIWSFPA.

    The sessions, which are generously funded by Marilyn I. Walker, celebrate professional achievement, artistic endeavour and the indelible role of culture in society.

    All of the events are free and open to both students and the broader community. The series offers unique opportunities for the public to experience the work of leading international artists and students to work closely with experts in their fields.

    David Psalmon presents: Towards a Contemporary Political Theatre
    Public lecture, Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.
    Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, MIWSFPA

    Workshop for Dramatic Arts students:
    Saturday, Jan. 12 and Sunday, Jan. 13
    11 a.m. to 4 p.m., MIWSFPA

    Learn more about the Walker Cultural Leaders Series on the MIWSFPA Website.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, News, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Dramatic Arts grad’s road to success was paved at Brock

    Jacelyn Holmes (BA ’08) is set to release her debut album this winter and credits her success in the arts to her start in Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts.


    (From The Brock News, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    Among many things, Brock University taught Jacelyn Holmes (BA ’08) to defy her anxiety and be fearless.

    The Dramatic Arts alumna learned to harness the confidence she embraced in University and now uses it each time she takes the stage to sing.

    With the 10th anniversary of her graduating class set to be celebrated at Brock Homecoming this weekend, Holmes couldn’t help but reminisce about her artistic journey and how her Brock degree helped her achieve her career goals.

    “It’s been an interesting ride so far and it’s funny to recount where I am and what I’ve done,” said Holmes, who studied at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts before its move to the new downtown St. Catharines facility.

    After graduating, Holmes was involved in theatre productions and was cast in various television spots before realizing that her true passion was in the music industry.

    She has since landed gigs playing for the Toronto Jazz Festival, Canadian Music Week, the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival as well as booking international tours and showcases in Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, Asia and the U.S. She will be releasing her debut album in February, with a Christmas album to follow later next year.

    “Now that it’s all coming together, I’m excited to continue honouring my commitment to learning through art and creativity and discovering myself as an artist,” she said.

    An actress since childhood, her lifelong dream had always been to work in theatre and film — making the Dramatic Arts Department at Brock a perfect fit.

    “It was an amazing education,” she recounted. “At Brock, you spend four years constantly putting it all out there, learning to be vulnerable and available to failure in an environment where you can thrive with help from acclaimed professionals. It’s quite a beautiful thing.”

    Although her passion for the craft was evident, struggling with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and anxiety made focusing on schoolwork extremely difficult.

    “When I got to university, it became very apparent that I was not working at the same level as other people,” she recalled. “That brought out insecurities, shame and questions of why I was even there. I felt like I was drowning.”

    Holmes credited the support she received from Brock’s A-Z Learning Services for helping her overcome those barriers.

    “Feeling empowered to go and ask for the help that I needed or extra time on tests really allowed me to excel,” she said. “The staff at the Learning Centre were patient and taught me how to apply all that I had learned to my schoolwork and in the real world.”

    Her grades went up, she was awarded scholarships and would even receive the Spirit of Brock Award — given to the student who embodies the spirit of Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, by inspiring other students — in 2008.

    Department of Dramatic Arts Chair Joe Norris congratulated Holmes on all of her success and her ability to channel the skills she developed with her degree to find success in the arts and life overall.

    “Professors in the Department of Dramatic Arts aspire to inspire students in the entire range of their creative endeavours,” he said.

    Holmes agreed that her theatre background has been key to her success as a performing vocalist.

    “It was because of my theatre background that I am able to perform; it taught me to be fearless,” she said. “Some people would think that someone with anxiety would have a hard time getting up on stage, but it is my escape — and that feels awesome.”

    Shelley Huxley, Brock’s Director of Alumni Relations, said she is always pleased to hear of student successes.

    The Brock University Alumni Association works diligently, she adds, “to keep alumni informed about what’s happening at the University, and we work to connect alumni with each other for personal and professional gain.”

    “As the largest constituency of the University, alumni are our most loyal supporters and our best ambassadors,” she said. “We want our alumni to care about the University long after they’ve graduated. Engaged alumni benefit both the University and each other, but more importantly, engaged alumni help raise the reputation of Brock, and by virtue, the reputation of their degree in the marketplace.”

    This year’s Homecoming celebration takes place from Friday, Sept. 21 to Sunday, Sept. 23 with a variety of activities happening on campus and in the community.

     

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    Categories: Alumni, Department/Centre News, News

  • Brock prof and alumna explore circus performance in joint publication

    Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts Karen Fricker and MA graduate Hayley Malouin at the conference Circus and its Others II in Prague this past August. The two have recently published a special double issue of Performance Matters, titled “Circus and Its Others,” exploring questions around circus performance and gender, difference and dis/ability. (Photo by David Konecny)


    (From The Brock News, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 | by Alison Innes)

    For many people, the circus is a place of mystery and wonder, filled with the extraordinary, unusual and strange.

    But what does it mean to be different and what does it mean to perform those differences?

    For Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts Karen Fricker and Brock alumna Hayley Malouin (BA ’15, MA ’17), these questions have led to a joint publication in the emerging field of circus studies.

    The pair launched a special double issue of the journal Performance Matters, titled “Circus and Its Others,” Aug. 28 in Prague at the similarly named Circus and Its Others II conference.

    Inspired by the inaugural Encounters with Circus and its Others conference organized by Fricker with assistance from Malouin in 2016, the publication features contributions from established scholars, graduate students and circus artists from around the world. Many of the contributors were in Prague to participate in the second conference and celebrate at the launch.

    The conference series brings together scholars from around the world to explore questions about the place of difference and “otherness” in contemporary circus.

    “We’re asking questions about circus in a way that allows people who have been working at these questions from different perspectives and different places to jump on board,” says Fricker.

    Malouin, who has an undergraduate degree from Brock in Dramatic Arts, explored ideas of public performance, political protest and public performance of the grotesque as part of her MA in Studies in Comparative Literature and the Arts.

    “Circus is an interesting cultural touchstone because it reflects societal norms about people, community and politics. This is in contrast to the image of circus – which circuses themselves cultivate – as existing on the margins of society,” says Malouin.

    The special issue of Performance Matters was her first foray into academic publishing. In addition to co-editing the issue with Fricker, Malouin worked with other circus scholars, including Brock student Taylor Zajdlik (BA ’15, MA ’17), on a section of the journal exploring questions of queerness and freakery in the circus.

    “It was a great experience to establish myself as someone with those skills,” says Malouin. “I really care about the work, I feel it’s important. It’s a substantial contribution to an emerging field.”

    The special edition also includes work by DART Associate Professor David Fancy on disability and the circus, making reference to a creative research project in which he participated involving intellectually disabled survivors of institutional abuse.

    The questions Fricker and Malouin are researching have application beyond the circus to culture as a whole.

    “What we’re looking at is how questions about difference and otherness play out in certain practices in the contemporary moment,” says Fricker. “And more broadly we’re asking, how do we work to make culture more inclusive?”

    The full issue can be read online for free.

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    Categories: Alumni, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News