(Source: The Brock News, Wednesday, April 26, 2017 | by Maryanne Firth. Photo Caption: “St. Catharines artist Amber Lee Williams hosts a session during the 2016 Rhizomes project held at Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts as part of the In the Soil Arts Festival. (Photo credit: Lauren Garbutt)”)
Brock University is deeply woven into the roots of In the Soil Arts Festival — and the partnership between the two entities continues to grow.
The celebration of creativity, organized by Suitcase in Point Theatre Company, takes over a portion of downtown St. Catharines, as well as Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, from Friday, April 28 to Sunday, April 30 with a mixture of music, theatre and performance art.
The University has come on board as a Premium Harvester sponsor of the festival, and has also put support behind Gnaw, a creative retelling of Hansel and Gretel being put on by students of A.N. Myer Secondary School in Niagara Falls.
“As a community leader in Niagara, it’s important for Brock University to be engaged and involved with major events happening in our region,” said Gord Hunchak, Brock’s Associate Vice-President, External Relations. “In The Soil has demonstrated its importance to the local arts scene, and we want to ensure we play a role in building the festival’s presence and ongoing growth.”
Gnaw is being touted as a highlight of the festival’s opening night, taking the stage Friday at Robertson Theatre in the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre beginning at 6 p.m.
“We thought this was an excellent opportunity to welcome these new, young theatre-makers to Brock and to St. Catharines,” said David Vivian, Director of the School of Fine and Performing Arts.
“We hope we will see some of them in the halls with us when they make a choice to pursue undergrad studies.”
For the second consecutive year, the Marliyn I. Walker school will play host to the festival’s Rhizomes project, a series of curated artistic experiences set-up for crowds throughout the property.
“It joins together artists in the community and artists from MIW, faculty and students, allowing them to be involved in this village of creative cultural production,” Vivian said. “It’s also a chance for us to invite people into the building to see what we’re about, what we’re doing.”
In addition to the many students and faculty who are volunteering their time and showcasing their work at the festival, Suitcase in Point — with many Brock alumni members — has created a new opportunity this year called the AMP (Arts Mosh Pit) It Up technical internship program.
Through the program, three Brock students earned paid internship positions with the festival.
Rodman Hall Art Centre, in partnership with artist and MIW faculty member Donna Akrey, will be participating in this year’s festival with an interactive workshop.
Assemble, Assembly takes place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Mahtay Café Community Room, 241 St. Paul St. The free drop-in event, open to all ages and abilities, will see participants transforming common and discarded materials into assembled sculptures.
The workshop concludes a month-long series of artist-led events that take their inspiration from Akrey’s exhibition, Also Also, which is on display at Rodman Hall until April 30.
Festivalgoers are also encouraged to take in ‘BBBLURRR,’ an evening of contemporary poetry featuring readings by Christopher Dewdney, Phoebe Wang, Sarah Pinder and Moez Surani.
The event, co-hosted by Brock Interdisciplinary PhD students Julia Polyck-O’Neill and Andrew McEwan, takes place Friday beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Niagara Artists’ Centre, 354 St. Paul St.
For more information on In the Soil and a full festival lineup, visit www.inthesoil.on.ca.