Articles tagged with: Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

  • Brock artists to draw inspiration from new bursary

    Through a gift to Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Paul Green and Ginny Medland-Green are supporting students who’ve chosen to pursue a career in the arts.


    Originally published in The Brock News | FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2023 | by 

    When Ginny Medland-Green and Paul Green toured Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) early last year, they left impressed by the community that exists for young artists at the downtown school.

    The couple, who have a deep love and appreciation for the arts, moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake seven years ago and have been pleasantly surprised by the cultural richness of the region. Through a recent gift in support of the MIWSFPA, they hope to support the study of the arts for students and showcase the impact their work can and will have on communities such as Niagara.

    “It’s courageous to study fine and performing arts at university and set a goal to be a working artist,” Medland-Green said. “We hope our bursary will inspire students to set both imaginative and practical goals for their capstone project and assist financially in a way that energizes them as they work creatively and tirelessly in what is a very competitive environment.”

    Currently taking applications, the Medland and Green Inspiring Artists Bursary is open to all third-year Honours students enrolled in Dramatic Arts, Music and Visual Arts at the MIWSFPA. The bursary has been established to assist students pursuing a unique opportunity such as travel, an internship or training that will benefit their upcoming capstone project or production, taking place in the 2023-24 academic year.

    “The Greens’ gift is a true investment in the future of our students, our downtown campus and the arts in our community,” said Sonia Dupte, Executive Director, Development and Campaigns. “Through its endowment, it will impact generations of inspiring artists at Brock.”

    From the onset of conversations with Brock and the MIWSFPA about the gift, Medland-Green and Green emphasized the importance of the bursary supporting a learning activity that not only excites the student recipient, but also professionalizes and shapes their career path in the arts.

    Linda Carreiro, Associate Dean of Fine and Performing Arts, commended the uniqueness of the bursary and the opportunities it will support for students at the downtown arts school.

    “Students at the Marilyn School are lucky to have a variety of awards established to support them throughout their studies,” she said. “The Medland and Green Inspiring Artists Bursary is unique in the way that it really hones in on the learning and professional development that often happens outside of a classroom.

    “Financially supporting students to pursue an opportunity they’ve identified to advance their own learning will not only inspire them towards a career path, but will also instil confidence that their skills are important and they can in fact make a living by pursuing a career in the arts,” Carreiro said.

    Interested applicants are invited to submit a short proposal (up to 500 words) and budget for the event, project or opportunity for which they are requesting funding. The submission should also include how the funding will assist in the application of their final-year project or production.

    Comprehensive applications, which include the proposal and budget, can be submitted to Brock’s Awards and Bursaries web page and will be reviewed by an advisory committee. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Feb. 10 at 4 p.m.

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  • Visual Arts prof’s work seen across Time and The Atlantic

    The Atlantic’s online publication of Amy Friend’s image, taken from Friend’s Assorted Boxes of Ordinary Life series.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2023 | by Charles Kim

    Amy Friend has gained widespread recognition for her unique and captivating photography.

    The Brock University Associate Professor and Chair of Visual Arts has been commissioned to create images for some of the world’s most notable publications, including The New York Times Magazine in March and more recently, Time magazine and The Atlantic.

    Heavy is the Crown,” an article written by Eliana Dockterman featured in Time, highlights the resurgence of interest in the late Princess Diana’s life following the airing of the fourth season of the popular Netflix series The Crown. The article examines the implications the show may have on the public reputation of King Charles and the monarchy.

    3. A full-page magazine featuring a sliced-up image of King Charles with a painting of Queen Elizabeth II in the background.

    Time’s feature of Amy Friend’s image. (Source Photo: Tim Graham — Photo Library/Getty Images)

    Friend was approached by Time magazine photo editor Whitney Hollington Matewe to create a visual image to accompany the article. She began the process by sifting through a library of stock pictures made available to her by the editorial team.

    After collaborative discussions, the editorial team and Friend selected a shot of young King Charles in front of a painting of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

    “What I love about the portrait of Charles is the painting of the Queen quietly behind him, watching,” says Friend. “It places Charles as the new head of the royal family, with the legacy of the Queen following him.”

    Friend created cuts through the image, shining light through the perforations to allow windows of illumination into the final product.

    “Working with the print and slicing into the image is a bit unsettling. I’m destroying a photograph of a king,” says Friend. “It made me consider the power of imagery, especially portraiture. The royal family has always edited and controlled the photos released to the public with great scrutiny.”

    Following the assignment with Time, Friend was contacted by The Atlantic, which hoped to publish her works alongside an article written by MIT physicist and novelist Alan Lightman.

    How the Human Brain is Wired for Beauty,” published Dec. 5, discusses recent research on how the human brain processes beauty. It also visits the idea of atoms and how they can be traced back to stars from the galaxy’s past. This connection reveals how every particle can be linked to not only the past but also the future.

    Friend says there was a deep connection with many elements of the article and she found herself drawn to Lightman’s research, particularly the connections between stardust and history. Caroline Smith, The Atlantic’s Creative Director, felt Friend’s work was a good fit for the subject.

    1. A woman with brown hair smiles with a white backdrop behind her.

    Associate Professor and Chair of Visual Arts Amy Friend’s latest commissions now appear in The New York Times Magazine, Time magazine and The Atlantic. (Photo courtesy of Amy Friend)

    “Some of the featured visuals are a part of my Assorted Boxes of Ordinary Life series, says Friend. “One piece of work depicts family whom my mother had captured on Super 8 film. I projected this film clip onto old mirrors covered in dust.

    “The article suggests that we all come from stardust,” she says. “I imagine the specks of dust as remnants of the stars. I used these dust particles in a visual manner to represent our presence and our absence.”

    Friend says working on editorial commissions is always a fresh and exciting experience. She found that each project had diverse outcomes that are not always expected. Each commission, she says, provides the space to reconsider her work and evaluate the visuals that audiences encounter in editorial publications.

    “When you work with an editor, there’s a lot of back and forth that goes on. Ultimately, we come to an agreement on the final product, but in the process of doing so there’s learning that I take back and that is distinctly important for me.”

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  • Brock faculty honoured for local arts impact

    St. Catharines Arts Award winners (clockwise from front left) Emily Oriold, Monica Dufault, Kathyrn Sinopoli, Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Amy Friend and Frank Goldspink were recently honoured by the City of St. Catharines. (Photo courtesy of the City of St. Catharines)


    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    The impact of faculty from Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is being felt in the local community.

    Amy Friend, Associate Professor and Department of Visual Arts Chair, and Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor in the Department of Music, were each recently honoured during the St. Catharines Arts Awards and recognized for their respective contributions to helping the arts thrive locally.

    Friend received the Established Artist Award during the awards celebration held Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Her work, which has been exhibited nationally and internationally, explores various methodologies through photography, installation and community-based collaborations. The focus of her work fluctuates with investigations relative to history, time, land memory, dust, oceans and connections to the universe.

    “The award is a wonderful nod to the work artists accomplish in this community and there are many of us,” Friend said. “I have grown as an artist in this region and have had opportunities to collaborate with many people. I would like to see even greater and consistent support for the arts in our community and schools. There is an abundance of amazing work happening here, but much more is possible.”

    Rensink-Hoff — Conductor of the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers — was presented with the Arts in Education Award.

    Her contributions to the local arts community have resulted in many performances and partnerships, including the co-ordination of a performance by the Brock University Choir, Avanti Chamber Singers and Sora Singers under the leadership of guest conductor, Kanaka Maoli artist, activist and cultural bearer Jace Kaholokula Sapan.

    “It is a joy to be a part of a thriving arts community here in St. Catharines and I am humbled by this recognition, particularly on the heels of a challenging two and a half years,” Rensink-Hoff said. “I have seen in my students and singers just how life-giving their participation in the arts can be. Their passion and dedication to making music throughout the pandemic has been such a tremendous source of inspiration.”

    A full list of recipients of the St. Catharines Arts Awards is available on the City of St. Catharines website.

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  • Museum in the Hallway exhibit explores student life

    Brock University students of the Social Class and Social Conflict course (SOCI 2P71) with Assistant Professor Miles Howes (far right, back row).


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    A collection of images on display for ‘Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise’ offers a glimpse into the excitement and challenges of student life. 

    Organized by Brock University’s Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC), Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise is a rotating themed exhibit in two display cases at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Boîte-en-valise is an expression referring to the aesthetic value of collecting and assembling. 

    The latest of its curated contents was created in collaboration with students in the Department of Sociology. ‘What I want you to see is this…’ is a collection of images with guided narrative that expresses a variety of student perspectives on life in 2022.  

    Students in the Social Class and Social Conflict course (SOCI 2P71) led by Assistant Professor Miles Howes were presented with a simple, yet complex question: If you had two to three minutes to communicate to an audience what it’s like to be a student in 2022, what would you say and display? In answering the question, students were also asked to consider the demands placed on them in an academic institution. 

    Each student took on a different perspective with the project. Some reflected on their personal experiences, while others examined the culture that surrounds the student community in a post-secondary establishment. 

    A common theme was the balancing act of student life. Many students expressed difficulties and pleasures that come with being a student in an academic institution. Another concern was maintaining a healthy balance between personal life, academic success and financial stability. Also questioned was the sense of fulfillment in each of these elements. 

    Faith Westman, a second-year Critical Criminology student and selected representative of the class, said she and her fellow students participating in the project found a sense of solidarity and community in learning about each other’s university experiences.  

    “Each of us have had different experiences in university thus far, but despite these differences, there are many commonalities,” she said. “We may be impacted with similar struggles, but we are not alone, and we understand that better now.” 

    Students preferred using still images over video in their projects, explaining that images depict a specific time and message. While video may be visually enticing, the message the audience receives may be diluted or missed entirely. 

    Images for each project vary, with some students, for example, having found inspiration from the scenery they pass by every day, and others capturing images that require a closer analysis.   

    The emotions and perceptions instilled in each image are key elements of the project. The extended exposure to the image heightens its impact while the narrative provides self-reflection and actualization that audiences would not be able to extrapolate from a single image.

    The ‘What I want you to see is this…’ collection will be on display until Sunday, Jan. 15. For more information, visit the STAC Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise web page.

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  • Student, alumni art exhibition explores time through photography

    Give us a Moment, a Brock student and alumni art exhibit, is on display until Saturday, Nov. 12 in the Visual Arts Gallery of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Using analogue and digital photography, Brock artists are sharing their creative interpretations of memory and time in the University’s latest exhibition.

    Presented by the Department of Visual Arts (VISA), ‘Give us a Moment’ combines these themes, and the etched traces of daily life, through photographs that use old, new and experimental processes.

    Laurie Morrison, both a Brock University Librarian and student in the VISA program, says her work showcased in the exhibition is “intended to bring to mind how the past shapes the present moment.”

    She produced her images through an analogue method, which she describes as both slow moving and unpredictable. It was the uncontrollable nature of the process that she most enjoyed.

    Typical analogue photography consists of film and the use of chemicals to create a reaction producing an image. In this exhibition, the artists explore different methods of production as well as diverse materials for their works.

    “These processes are also erratic and prone to many unexpected results,” Morrison says. “Some artists may find this frustrating, but I find it heightens my interest. The unpredictability becomes part of the journey.”

    For alumna Julie Luth (BA ’22) the exhibition’s title brought with it two separate interpretations.

    “An audience giving their time to examine and explore the artwork validates the artist’s status, and by asking the audience to give us a moment, we are referencing the politics of viewing that dictate an artist’s success,” she says. “Yet in the context of the work each of us are creating, the title takes a new meaning. Each of our works references the past and the passage of time. The title becomes a question asked by the forgotten moments and memories contained within these images.”

    Luth’s inspiration for her experimental processes comes from her endless ambition to discover, create and explore development of photographs.

    “Understanding what makes a photograph is crucial. We can see that photography is all around us and has been throughout all of history,” she says. “There is no single photographic process, but many to be explored — each with their own history and thematic implications.”

    VISA student Emily MacDonald’s work focuses on the time-based photographic process and examines time itself.

    “This show reminds the viewer of the existence of time, whether it is the time they spend with the images or the time that goes into these pieces, as majority of the images are created through a time-based photographic process,” she says.

    MacDonald’s creations revolve around time, memories and space that are significant to her. She applies both analogue and digital processes for her work, noting a distinctive difference with each image she creates using analogue methods.

    “With digital photography, you can shoot a photo as many times as you want. With analogue photography, you must think about the images you take. I sit and look through my viewfinder, observing my subject and the surrounding area until I feel ready to take the photo.”

    Give us a Moment, which is open to the public, will be exhibited until Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space in Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines. For more information, please visit the Current Exhibitions web page.

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  • Local arts awards give nods to Brock faculty

    Established Artist Nominee and Department of Visual Arts Associate Professor Donna Szoke engages with a class in her Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games exhibition space.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    The nominees for this year’s St. Catharines Arts Awards include some familiar faces from the Brock community.

    Associate Professors Rachel Rensink-Hoff, from Brock’s Department of Music, and Amy Friend and Donna Szoke, from the Department of Visual Arts, have each been recognized for their contributions to the arts.

    Rensink-Hoff, who conducts the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and is the Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers, was nominated for the Art in Education Award. The past Vice-President of Programming for Choral Canada and past President of Choirs Ontario, she maintains an active career as an adjudicator, workshop clinician and juror both locally and across Canada.

    A woman wearing all black leans against a wall covered in vines.

    Art in Education Award Nominee and Associate Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff.

    Friend and Szoke were each nominated in the Established Artist Award category.

    Friend, Chair of Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, has exhibited in a generous roster of national and international exhibitions, including the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize Exhibition (U.K.), Gexto Photofestival (Spain), DongGang Photography Museum (Korea) and many more. Her work has also been featured in numerous publications such as California Sunday Magazine (U.S.), Archeology of Photography – Lux (Poland), Musée Magazine (U.S.) and Wired (U.S.).

    Szoke is an interdisciplinary artist whose work has been shown in public art, interactive video installation, outdoor site-specific installation, publications, film festivals and galleries in Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, Croatia, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. She has received numerous research awards and grants for her work, including from the Canada Council for the Arts, B.C. Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2017, she was awarded the Brock Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity.

    A female holds flowers under a tropical shelter with glass and film on a table.

    Established Artist Nominee and Department of Visual Arts

    Chair Amy Friend works on cameraless images in the field.

    Friend and Szoke recently collaborated for a shared exhibition this past summer in conjunction with the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. Small Movements showcased their two projects, both funded by Brock’s VPR Canada Games Grants.

    City of St. Catharines Cultural Co-ordinator Ashley Judd-Rifkin says the awards celebrate the best of the local artistic community. “The outstanding individuals and organizations that have been nominated for the arts awards are all very deserving. Their commitment, creativity and contributions have made St. Catharines a more beautiful, vibrant and exciting place to live.”

    The St. Catharines Arts Awards will be livestreamed from Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, Nov. 29 starting at 6:30 p.m. Details for the livestream will be shared through the City’s social media channels closer to the event.

    A full list of nominees is available on the City of St. Catharines website.

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  • Brock mainstage production puts human behaviour, climate crisis in spotlight

    Brock University Dramatic Arts students will explore a variety of complex topics in AnthropoScene, this year’s fall mainstage production.


    Originally published in The Brock News | FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) is inviting the community to experience a journey through time and place in AnthropoScene.

    The fall mainstage production explores how the alienation that results from humans’ supremacist behaviour towards one another contributes to the climate crisis, as well as engages the ethics of theatricalizing the present climate emergency.

    AnthropoScene playfully mingles elements of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, real-life figures including Toussaint L’Ouverture and various youth climate justice activists, and fictional characters across multiple locations and time periods.

    The production, which debuts Friday, Oct. 28 and continues into the first week of November, involves one of the largest groups of students, faculty and staff in recent years. Twelve DART students will perform, as 30 others assist in creative and backstage roles. This original work is written and directed by David Fancy, designed by David Vivian, and choreographed by Trevor Copp and Colin Anthes, with live music performed by Devon Fornelli.

    “I’m so pleased at the skill and talent of the many students involved in creating this production, from actors to assistant designers, directors and sound designers — the list goes on,” says Fancy, a Brock DART Professor.

    Conveying so many complex elements within the production has been no easy task, but one the cast and crew have handled impressively, he says.

    “Our Dramatic Arts students have really shown courage and insight in dealing with the challenging materials that this play covers: self-harm, racism and environmental harm,” Fancy says. “They have also brought great verve and joy to the choreography, company dance numbers and comedic aspects of the project.”

    To help immerse audiences in multiple locations and time periods, the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre has taken on a new form.

    “I imagine the audience having an experience of poetry, drama, comedy, dance, beautiful design, light and sound that will transport them to different places and times,” Fancy says. “I’ve configured the theatre differently than it usually is in order to help the audience feel they are being brought somewhere else.”

    AnthropoScene opens Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances on Oct. 29 and 30, and Nov. 4 and 5. All shows take place at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre in Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in Downtown St. Catharines.

    roundtable discussion, also open to the public, will take place on the production stage Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m., with a panel of experts from Brock and other institutions discussing topics related to staging planetary evolution and destruction.

    Brock Professor of Art Education Fiona Blaikie will lead the discussion alongside Fancy; Vivian; Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Brock’s Posthumanism Research Institute; Katrina Dunn, Assistant Professor in the University of Manitoba’s Department of English, Theatre, Film and Media; Lin Snelling, a dancer whose artistic practice brings the qualities of improvisation into dance, theatre, writing, visual art and somatic practice; and Priya Thomas, Assistant Professor of Dramatic Arts at Brock.

    Tickets for AnthropoScene are $20 for the general public and $16 for students and seniors. For a full schedule of performances or to purchase tickets, visit the Brock University Tickets website.

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  • Voice exploration workshop to be hosted at downtown arts school

    Diane Roberts is the founder of the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process, which draws on 30 years of experience and 12 years of focused artistic research.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    A new workshop this winter will help participants develop a deeper understanding of and stronger relationship with their voice.

    Breathing New Legacies Forward, a Moving Voice Institute intensive, will be hosted Thursday, Dec. 15 to Sunday, Dec. 18 at Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) in downtown St. Catharines. Led by industry specialists Gayle Murphy, Diane Roberts, Gary Logan and Gerry Trentham, Founder and Artistic Director of Pounds Per Square Inch Performance (lbs/sq”), the four-day workshop explores transformative vocal and physical explorations that extend range and deepen presence.

    “It’s a process that is different for everyone,” says Department of Dramatic Arts Associate Professor Danielle Wilson. “There is a connection between the voice, breath and body that the Moving Voice Institute researches. We are excited to have them come to the MIWSFPA this winter and lead this exploratory retreat devoted to the voice.”

    Through the course of this workshop, participants will examine and experience the connections between voice, text and breath in the morning sessions. In the afternoon, participants will work alongside Roberts, an African-Caribbean Canadian theatre practitioner and educator.

    Roberts is the founder of the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process, which draws on 30 years of experience and 12 years of focused artistic research. This work invites participants to consider ancestry as an essential aspect of evolving authority in their voice and body presence.

    Wilson expressed a deep interest in the process because of the strong ties to her personal research in voice and performance.

    “I wanted to experience the Arrivals Legacy work. Participating in the process is essential because voice work is a somatic practice. Experiencing the work is the research,” Wilson says. “We all have a relationship with our voice and this intensive gives participants an opportunity to deepen their relationship with their voice and own their unique sound, regardless of what they do professionally.”

    Breathing New Legacies Forward will be the first voice workshop since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Wilson says being connected and in the same room as those who are exploring, hearing and finding their voice is truly special. She encourages anyone interested to take this opportunity to discover a deeper connection with their voice.

    This workshop is open to all Brock community members and the public. More information can be found on the lbs/sq” website. Registration is now open, with early bird registration closing on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

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  • Small Walker Press publications examine colonial histories, love poems

    The Small Walker Press held a book fair in the James A. Gibson Library for the students and public to explore and learn about their publications.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Brock’s Small Walker Press (SWP) has launched its newest publications.

    On Oct. 4, as part of its Walker Cultural Leaders Series, the SWP and Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) hosted authors, editors, artists and the public to mark the release of BENEATH A VELVET MOON: Early Love Poems and Possible Grounds: Redrawing Relations in Toronto.

    The SWP publishes collaborative work that brings together authors and artists from the Niagara region as well as the Canadian or international contexts. Fields covered include all disciplines and creative practices taught and researched at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts as well as creative writing.

    Possible Grounds: Redrawing Relations in Toronto features artists Adrian Blackwell (settler) and Bonnie Devine (Anishinaabe), who share their thoughts on and experiences of mapping the complex colonial histories of these lands, and question the region’s historical records. Blackwell and Devine also offer commentary on their works exhibited in 2018 and 2019.

    In BENEATH A VELVET MOON, Early Love Poems, Canadian artist Landon Mackenzie selects nine poems by E. Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake, and reimagines the amorous relationship between the Mohawk poet and the artist’s settler great-grandfather, Michael Mackenzie, in the 1880s. For these autofictional explorations, Mackenzie takes her title from one of Johnson’s early love poems in The White Wampum, first published in 1895 by John Lane’s Bodley Head publishing house.

    The launch event featured guest speaker Derek Knight, Associate Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture and founding co-editor of the SWP, who led a lecture exploring the text, images and connections some of the publications shared with the Niagara region.

    Following the launch, the SWP also held a book fair in the James A. Gibson Library. Many students stopped to explore the SWP collection and learn more about the press and the academic opportunities with STAC. Catherine Parayre, Editor of the SWP and STAC Professor, shared her insights on the publications and introduced many students to the details each book had to offer.

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  • Distinguished Graduate a class act in Canadian theatre

    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Though the spotlight may seem daunting to many people, it’s where Jordin Hall (BA ’10) feels most at home.

    The Brock Dramatic Arts graduate has found much success in his acting career and credits the groundwork he developed at Brock for helping to set his course.

    “Brock set the foundation for me early in my career. I learned how to respect the room, be diligent and work my craft,” says Hall, who was honoured during Brock’s Homecoming weekend as the Faculty of Humanities Distinguished Graduate Award recipient. “Those skills were all transferable and it immediately impacted my career following graduation.”

    Hall received his Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts with a performance concentration from Brock in 2010. Following graduation, he found success as an actor in Toronto, working with many independent theatre companies and performing in leading roles for several Shakespearean productions, including Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Winter’s Tale (Dauntless City Theatre), Titus Andronicus (Seven Siblings Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Humber River Shakespeare Company), and the title role of Othello for Driftwood Theatre.

    A woman on the left presenting a framed certificate to a male on the right pictured in front of a red backdrop.

    Carol Merriam, Dean of Brock’s Faculty of Humanities, presents Jordin Hall with the Faculty’s Distinguished Graduate Award at the Alumni Recognition Reception on Saturday, Sept. 24.

    Although he is now confident and eager to perform the works of Shakespeare, this wasn’t always the case.

    “From what I learned in high school, I thought I hated Shakespeare. In hindsight, this wasn’t the case at all; it was just how it was taught to us,” Hall says. “After breaking down the words and understanding how it was supposed to be read, I felt excited. I understood it and I was hungry for more.”

    Brock Dramatic Arts Professor Danielle Wilson says Hall was “always dedicated and driven.”

    “He was extremely passionate about performing even from a young age,” she says. “It was clear to me after a scene from Othello completed in one of my classes, he had an ability with language. He already knew how to use the words and had the voice to support them.”

    Following his success in Toronto, Hall found a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study classical theatre with the Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory.

    “It is a prestigious organization to be with and it’s every young theatre person’s dream to be part of the conservatory,” he says. “I remember I had my callback, and I didn’t really know how it went. When I got a call offering me a spot, it was surreal, and I was so excited. I was truly grateful for that opportunity.”

    After achieving his dream of working with the Birmingham Conservatory, Hall joined the Stratford acting ensemble in 2018. Since then, he has been part of seven Stratford productions, including his acclaimed leading role of Bertram in this year’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well.

    Dramatic Arts Professor David Fancy praised Hall’s impact as a professional in Canadian theatre.

    “Jordin was very engaged with critical issues of representation and made strong intelligent contributions as a student,” he says. “There have been barriers to inclusion historically for racialized individuals in Canadian theatre. The fact that he is now working at one of the most recognized cultural institutions in the country is a huge sign of success.”

    As for what’s next, Hall says he wants to continue pursuing his craft.

    “In many ways, I am still finding my way as a performer, and I can’t say for sure what the future holds, but I can see myself with the Stratford Festival for a while,” he says. “I enjoy it and hope that we can continue to produce more great work together.”

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