Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
An artist's rendering of the Marilyn I. Walker School for the Fine and Performing Arts showing the new theatre for the Department of Dramatic Arts.
Brock signs contract with construction firm for downtown fine and performing arts facility project
Published on January 18 2013
Earlier today, Brock University finalized a construction contract with Bird Construction Group to build its new fine and performing arts facility in downtown St. Catharines.
Activity at the site of the old Canada Hair Cloth textile mill at 198 St. Paul Street is expected to start the week of Jan. 21, 2013, with site preparations beginning in early February.
Construction bids for the project were received in October 2012 and all bids were over the University’s budget. Brock then entered into successful negotiations with Bird Construction, the low bidder for the new home of the University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts facility, to reduce construction costs and move the project forward.
A groundbreaking ceremony to mark the official start of the project is expected to take place mid-February.
The new facility will put about 500 students, faculty and staff into the city’s downtown when it relocates from Brock’s main campus. The new school will be adjacent to a new Performing Arts Centre and Spectator Facility, which are being built by the City of St. Catharines.
Khalida: a play for the Arab Spring, opens in St. Catharines at the Sullivan-Mahoney.
Published on February 28 2013
By Dr. Karen Fricker and staff
The story told in Khalida, a new theatre production playing this week in St Catharines, might at first glance seem somewhat removed from the experience of many Canadians. Subtitled ‘a play for the Arab Spring’, it takes the form of the confession and testimony of Said, a man on the run from his native Middle Eastern country, which has become a battle zone.
But the play’s origins couldn’t be more local: it springs from the friendship between author/director David Fancy, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts at Brock, and the Iraqi actor Addil Hussain, who received a BA in Dramatic Arts degree from Brock in 2006.
‘Addil was Saddam Hussein’s favourite actor,’ Fancy explains. ‘He fled Iraq during the first Gulf War and, after living as a refugee in Jordan for six or seven years, finally ended up in Canada. He did a degree in the Drama in Education and Society stream at Brock and became a Canadian citizen’. Audiences might remember Hussain's performances in two of the three plays performed in An Arabian Trilogy, a departmental mainstage production in 2006. In the third play he performed the role of the father in Leila Tatadaffah Bil Rasass. Mun Youaniquha? (By the Warmth of the Bullet that Kills) set in modern-day Baghdad and written by another Brock graduate Abbas Aldilami.
Fancy says he wrote the play ‘for the express purpose of continuing a conversation with Addil, having witnessed the challenges that he experienced as an individual and as an artist finding a voice as a new Canadian.’ The play is being produced by neXt Company Theatre, of which Fancy is co-artistic director.
While his friendship with Hussain offers fascinating insight into Khalida’s origins, Fancy believes an appreciation of the production does not rely on this backstory. ‘This is about a person somewhere in the world who has experienced difficulty and is using creativity to frame that and move beyond it,’ he explains.
The role of Said is being played by Toronto-based actor Jason Jazrawy, whose father is from Iraq. Jazrawy calls Said ‘an Arabic Everyman who whom all ethnicities can relate’ and says he welcomes the opportunity to ‘portray an Arab as a positive role model for a change,’ having found himself often cast as a terrorist jihadi because of his heritage.
Alongside Khalida, neXt Company Theatre has facilitated a community engagement project, The Arab Spring Monologues, which features 9-10 Niagarans, including four Brock students and recent graduates, writing about how the Arab Spring connects with their own experience or with the region.
Students from across the DART concentrations – Applied Theatre and Drama in Education, Theatre Praxis, Performance, and Production and Design – will be attending the production. The production presents an excellent model for the Brock students’ creative investigations in writing and dramaturgy, performance, and production, as well as personal and social identities and citizenship, remarks the Chair or the Department, David Vivian.
As for Addil Hussain, he returned to the Middle East in 2010, and is now working as an actor in Baghdad. Despite being half a world away, this production of Khalida is very much on his radar. Via Facebook, he sent this message to Fancy and his collaborators: 'Khalida was just a wish, and an idea, then became reality... I'm fully confident that Khalida is in great hands, hands with a great level of professionalism. Break a leg!'
Khalida plays at the Sullivan Mahoney Courthouse Theatre from 26 February-2 March. Tickets are available here. The Arab Spring Monologues play 5-7 pm on Saturday, March 2 at Robertson Hall, 85 Church Street, St. Catharines. Admission free; groups are requested to contact the company in advance here.
DART Professor at 2013 Congress in Victoria, British Columbia
Published on February 15 2013
Associate Professor Natalie Alvarez will be serving on the Program Committee for the Canadian Association for Theatre Research's (CATR) 2013 meeting at Congress 2013 of the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2014 DART will be hosting the annual meeting of the CATR as part of the complete Congress event to be held at the St. Catharines campus.
In addition to participating in a seminar on performance studies and sport, her two edited books on Latina/o Canadian theatre and performance will be launched during a conference lunch in Victoria.
An artist's rendering of the Marilyn I. Walker School for the Fine and Performing Arts showing the new theatre for the Department of Dramatic Arts.
Brock welcomes more community partners to downtown project
Published on June 20 2012
As Brock University prepares to select a contractor for its new arts school in central St. Catharines, community members are coming forward to financially back a project many people see as being a crucial bridge to future economic and cultural health.
This summer, contractors will be invited to bid on the major job of renovating and expanding the old Canada Hair Cloth textile mill into the new home for Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Work is to begin this fall.
Besides relocating 500 students, faculty and staff into the downtown, the new school will also complement and share some facilities with a public Performing Arts Centre being built by the City of St. Catharines on an adjacent lot. Both projects are scheduled for completion in 2014.
Brock’s school has a construction budget of $39.6 million. The Ontario government has given $26.1 million to the project, and the University is continuing efforts to raise more than $10-million to pay its share.
Important supporters of the Brock project were revealed today when it was announced that three donors with strong ties to the community and Brock University are making gifts totaling more than a quarter-million dollars.
Peter and Janet Partridge are giving $100,000 to the project. Art and Val Fleming have also committed $100,000. And the St. Catharines law firm of Lancaster Brooks & Welch is donating $75,000 to the new school.
Peter Partridge, Vice President and Portfolio Manager with RBC Dominion Securities and a past member of Brock’s Board of Trustees, said their gift is a way of giving back to the community.
“To have a cultural campus strategically positioned in the heart of the downtown is very important,” he said. “This is going to bring a whole new level of artistic experience not only to young performers but to an audience here in Niagara.”
The Flemings are also eager to see the Walker School flourish.
“We really believe in Brock,” said Val, a Brock graduate and past member of the Board of Trustees. “We especially want the Walker project to succeed. It’s a wonderful opportunity, and we believe the downtown will definitely be rejuvenated because of it.”
At the offices of Lancaster Brooks Welch, senior partner Dave Edwards said the law firm believes the benefits of the new school will be more than economic.
“This will change the culture of the city centre for the better by bringing students into the downtown during normal working hours,” said Edwards, a former member and chair of the Brock Board of Trustees. “It will provide an integration that’s entirely different compared to when they’re only downtown at nighttime.
“It makes you think of Kingston, and how students there are often in the downtown during the day. This will help our restaurants, stores, coffee shops, and bring a new vibrancy to the downtown throughout the day.”
Douglas Kneale, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Brock and a member of the committee overseeing the University’s downtown project, said the support is very heartening and much-needed.
“The truth is, we really are all in this together, this strengthening of the community,” said Kneale. “And when you have partners like these marvelous people, it is this kind of support that helps make these dreams come true for everybody.”
Incoming DART professor reports about the Eurovision Contest from Baku, Azerbaijan
Published on May 25 2012
A spotlight is shining on Azerbaijan this May as it hosts Eurovision, the annual European song contest known for its outlandish performances, and viewed on TV by more than 100 million people. But it's not all glitz this year. While Azerbaijan attempts to show off its strength to the world, it's also come under scrutiny by activist groups for its unsavoury human rights record, and its crackdown on anti-government protestors and journalists leading up to the contest.
Karen Fricker is co-founder of the Eurovision and 'New' Europe academic research network who is covering the contest for the Irish Times. She recently reported on what these negative reports mean for the Eurovision Contest and Azerbaijan for the program Q hosted by Jian Ghomeshi on CBC Radio. She is a lecturer in contemporary theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London and deputy London theatre critic for Variety. You can read more about her research activities in her profile at Royal Holloway. We are delighted that she will be joining her new colleagues at the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University in January 2013.
SHAW Summer Internship Program
Published on March 29 2012
Every year Brock's emerging artists have an opportunity to intern with one of Canada's most renowned theatre organizations, the Shaw Festival, for a six-week intensive learning experience. Early in the new year an application is offered to students who successfully complete DART 4P92 "Voice and Text of Bernard Shaw" as part of their final year of study. One deserving student is invited to polish their studies at DART by interning with professionals at the top of their game as they create productions for the Shaw Festival season.
Graduating student Robyn Cunningham will be the Summer Intern at the Shaw Festival for 2012. Under the guidance of Co-Artistic Director Eda Holmes, Robyn will experience an intense period of production rehearsal and development from first read through to season premieres. Some of the shows Robyn will witness in development include The Millionairess and Present Laughter. Robyn (seen below) will be regularly posting to her tumblr vlog across the six weeks - check in regularly and say 'hi!'.
Brock graduate Jacqueline Costa was the first DART Intern at the Shaw Festival in 2011. Jacqueline graduated with a BA (First Class Honors) in Brock University's Theatre Stream with strong interests in both production and performance. While a student her success in theatre creative research and production was seen in the Brock main-stage performances like Charles Mee's Big Love (2010) and Sharon Pollock's Blood Relations (2010) and in her work as Departmental Technical Production Assistant and Research and Production Assistant to faculty.
While at Shaw Jacqueline worked together with Lighting Design Director Kevin Lamotte and assisted with the development of his lighting designs for the 2011 performances of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Heartbreak House, where she also had the privilege of meeting directors Eda Holmes and Christopher Newton. Jacqueline attended various dress-tech rehearsals, show previews, read-throughs and clean-up calls. Jacqueline remarks that "it was interesting seeing lighting levels, lighting hangs, load in's and changeovers for the shows on such a grand scale at the Shaw Festival."
During the remaining weeks, Jacqueline worked with Design Director William Schmuck, where she was able to preview other shows from the 2011 season such as Drama at Inish - A Comedy and My Fair Lady. She also witnessed the build of lighting level sets for Alan Brodie's Admirable Crichton and Louise Guinard's On The Rocks. In addition, Jacqueline toured to other Shaw facilities including the properties, scenic painting and carpentry shops and met with designers Sue Lepage, Charolette Dean and Christina Poddubiuk. Jacqueline comments, "in terms of being introduced to interesting members of the professional design/theatre community, this internship succeeded."
Working closely with the Shaw Festival, Brock's Dramatic Arts Department aims to develop these programs, and many more, to it's young emerging artists - offering them post-graduate opportunities to interact and network with the greater professional performing arts community.
Also at the Shaw Festival this season are recent Department graduates working in various aspects of technical theatre production. Anrita Petraroia (DART '07) is back at the Festival this year, having helped out on a couple projects in Technical Direction last season. Chris Penney (DART '08) has secured a regular season's call in the audio department. Sadie Isaak (DART '10) is now being trained to take over the Cobbler's position in Production Wardrobe and will be joining the Wardrobe Running staff later in the season.
Graduates of the Department of Dramatic Arts are on the boards again and this time they are playing IN THE SOIL.
Published on April 17 2012
Nathan Tanner Mac Donald - a resident of the St Catharines and recent graduate of the Department of Dramatic Arts has brought together a company of DART students to present The Clockmaker by Stephen Massicotte. A metaphysical rollercoaster, The Clockmaker may seem like little more than a love story set inside a murder-mystery-to-be, but it just might end up exposing the very truth of existence itself. The show will be performed April 27 @ 8:00pm and April 28 @ 2:00pm at the Sullivan Mahoney Courthouse Theatre in downtown St Catharines.
Nathan recently performed in the 2011 STRUTT wearable art show and this past summer he wrote and directed Circus, which played at Factory Theatre in the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival. Nathan's company includes graduates and Geoffrey Heaney, Dylan Mawson, Michael Pearson, Caitlin Popek as Performers, current student Kate Hardy as Stage Manager and graduate Finn Archinuk as the Designer.
In the Soil Arts Festival brings Niagara artists from a range of disciplines together to provide unique audience experiences. The festival nurtures the creation of new work, showcases talent, encourages innovation, offers learning opportunities for youth and provides intimate and uncommon platforms for audiences to experience work by contemporary performing and literary artists, musicians and media artists. In the Soil is Niagara's homegrown arts festival and is working to make a Niagara that is self-determining and culturally distinct.
Break-a-leg, Nathan, Caitlin, Dylan, Finn, Geoffrey, Kate and Michael!
DART Students attend Stratford Shakespeare Academy
Published on March 17 2012
Every summer students of the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) attend the annual Stratford Shakespeare Academy for a three week intensive two-course experience. The courses present an opportunity to study Shakespeare through the lenses of both performance and structured analytical criticism with some of Ontario’s leading university professors and Stratford professional coaches. During the typical 7.5 hour day students observe and enquire of the talent of working actors, trainers and directors while experiencing first-hand the programming of one of Canada’s most triumphant theatre Festivals. In 2012 fourteen students will attend the Stratford Academy. To read more click here.
Richard Maxwell Discusses his New Production with Brock Students
Published on February 18 2012
Internationally renowned New York City director and playwright Richard Maxwell of the New York City Players recently Skype chatted with students of DART 4F90 Critical Theory and Practice about his touring production of "Ads" and responded to questions of liveness, performer presence, and commodity culture.
Special Guest Fujimoto Takakyuki gives a workshop in light art at DART
Published on February 11 2012
On January 26 and 27, 2012, Fujimoto Takakyuki - pioneer of stage design with LED lighting - visited the Department of Dramatic Arts to give a demonstration and creative workshop with this innovative technology.
Fujimoto has created a unique staging method using LED light systems and installations to manipulate all colours of the spectrum. His aim is to create new “circuits” to connect directly to the audience with no less strength than the connection created by the stage performer communicating directly to the audience in a live stage experience. He is principle designer for the Japanese performance group Dumb Type. Independently his work True, created with
Tsuyoshi Shirai (AbsT/BANETO) and Takao Kawaguchi (Dumb Type) has been touring since 2007. He has worked with Ryoji Ikeda on the videomusic concert series “formula”, with Hong Kong choreographer Daniel Yeung, Vietnam-French choreographer Ea Sola, Singapore’s video artist Choy Ka Fai, on the installation/concert path with the guitarist Kazuhisa Uchihashi and singer UA, and with dance company Monochrome Circus. He recently designed for Kyoto Noh Theatre’s 2011 production.
Fujimoto was hosted in Canada by Across Oceans and artistic director Maxine Heppner, a Toronto-based organization that produces international arts platforms in Canada and worldwide, with acclaimed performing, visual and literary artists, and develops interactions created specially for specific environments and communities. Programming includes live performance, 2-D and 3-D art exhibits, film/video screenings, public forums, advanced training and research. Fujimoto's recent collaboration with Across Oceans my heart is a spoon was well-received by Toronto critics and audiences.
Fujimoto shared his creative approach in technology with approximately 15 students and professionals. A selection of videos from the workshop may be seen on a youtube channel.
Department Professors Attend the ASTR 2011 Conference in Montreal
David Fancy, the department Chair of the Dramatic Arts Program at Brock University, recently participated in the American Society of Theatre Research 2011 Conference in Montreal, Canada. David was part of the Theatre and Migrant Worker Group and presented his research paper entitled "Affective Assemblages: Migrant Worker Theatre" during the symposium. David's contribution and effort to this research was well received by the conference patrons. His recent work with neXt Company Theatre has provided a similar awareness of Migrant Worker issues for the surrounding St Catharines community. Congratulations on your success, David!
For information on upcoming neXt Company Theatre projects please visit www.nextcompanytheatre.com
Auckland Adventures: Joe Norris
In December 2011, Joe Norris spent two weeks in Auckland as a keynote for two separate conferences. During his stay, Joe presented a keynote paper on "Playbuilding as Research" at the 2nd Critical Studies in Drama in Education International Symposium at the University of Auckland. He also sat on a keynote panel during "Arts Based Research, Possibilities, Pedagogies, and Processes in Performance" during this time. He presented another keynote entitled "Reconceptualizing Self, Society and Narrative Constructions Through Critical Reflections on Personal and Cultural Narratives and Metaphors" which was presented at the "Evoking and Provoking Narrative and Metaphor in Education" symposium located also at the University of Auckland. He then provided a two-hour workshop called "Duoenthography: The Dialogic Meaning Making Through the Juxtaposition of Self with the Other" for all of his attendees.
Joe Norris’ book, “Playbuilding as Qualitative Research: A Participatory Arts-based Approach” was selected as the winner of the American Educational Research Association’s Qualitative Research SIG’s 2011 Outstanding Book Award. This book not only met all the criteria for the award, it exceeded every criteria. Norris bridges arts-based research, qualitative inquiry, and playbuilding grounded in rich theories and created dialogue for various social justice issues. The committee members (Linda Evans, Allison Anders and Kakali Bhattacharya - see in the photo with Joe Norris) exclaimed not only about the accessibility, utility of this book, but the ways in which this book challenged their thinking, made them imagine how the audience participation might look like at the end of the scenes, and created the fertile ground for much needed dialoguing. The committee was honored and privileged to review the works of such great thinkers as Valerie Janesick, Kathryn Roulston and Norman Denzin, change agents, and activists in qualitative research and are delighted to present Joe Norris with this years’ Outstanding Book Award.
Associate Professors Peter Vietgen (Visual Arts Education in the Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education) and David Vivian (Department of Dramatic Arts and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Faculty of Humanities) were each presented with three Volunteer Recognition Certificates from the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the City of St. Catharines, at the 23rd Annual Volunteer Recognition Night co-sponsored by the City of St. Catharines, the St. Catharines-Thorold Chamber of Commerce, and the Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery.
Professor Vietgen was nominated by the Niagara Artist's Centre for his contribution to the Public Art Advisory Committee of the City of St. Catharines. Professor Vivian was nominated for his service over four years as Chair of the Culture Committee of the City of St. Catharines. Both Committees of Council are actively engaged in developing new policy, advocacy, funding, recognition and opportunities in the arts and culture sector, contributing to the creation of stimulating and sustainable culturally-rich lives in the city of St. Catharines.
Given annually, the Volunteer Recognition Awards recognize those outstanding volunteers whose unselfish and dedicated service to an organization has made a significant difference in the community. Nominations are open to youth and adult volunteers, who are presented with their awards at a banquet hosted by the Mayor and councillors in April. This year the banquet was held at the Quality Hotel Parkway Convention Centre on Tuesday, April 19, 2011.
(Pictured left to right are Professor Debra Maclauchlan and Associate Professor Peter Vietgen (Faculty of Education), Associate Professor David Vivian and Assistant Professor Virginia Reh (Department of Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Humanities)
Professor Virginia Reh speaks about life in theatre and the production of Phedre that was performed by students of DART in the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre in 2011. Video interview from the series University People by BROCK TV. (click image to play)
Nina Arsenault recently visited us for an artist's talk, part of Dramatic Arts 3P96 Studies in Praxis II: Queer Theories and Performance Practices.
Arsenault is a "transsexual cyborg" theatre and performance artist whose one-woman show, The Silicone Diaries, has had sold-out runs in Toronto and Montreal, and will be touring the country this coming Spring. Ms. Arsenault gave a short talk about her process followed by an interview with Praxis course director, Paul Halferty.
Earp Dance at Brock Nuit Blanche 2010
For those of you unable to attend Nuit Blanche Brock this year, check out the short video above to see dancers Shannon Perugino and Jessica Goncalves of the Department of Dramatic Arts perform on the beautifully lit top floor of Earp Student Residence at Brock University. The original piece was performed every half hour from 6pm to midnight on the chilly night ofDecember 3, 2010, to audiences outside on the street below as part of Nuit Blanche Brock 2010. Performed by Dramatic Arts students Jessica Goncalves and Shannon Perugino; Sound Op: Matthew Viviano; Tech and Design Support: Doug Ledingham and David Vivian; Conceived by Natalie Alvarez. Choreography by Jessica Goncalves, Shannon Perugino and Natalie Alvarez.
The new Artistic Director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Brendan Healy, met with DART students in autumn 2010 to discuss Queer Theatre. Sitting with Brendan is host Paul Halferty, DART faculty member teaching the Theatre Praxis course DART 3P95.
Theory and Practice of Drama in Education with JONOTHAN NEELANDS Six-day intensive course
Published on July 08 2011
THE DEPARTMENT OF DRAMATIC ARTS
DART 3V90: Theory and Practice of Drama in Education with JONOTHAN NEELANDS
Six-day intensive course: Monday, July 25 - Saturday, July 30, 2011
Through a combination of workshops, demonstrations, reflections, and lectures, this course examines models for the planning and teaching of process drama. It will provide the opportunity for students to examine the community effects of drama and its role in our personal and social development. This half-credit course will be intensely practical and relevant to teaching the full age range of children through to adults. The learning experiences will be supported by readings and other materials developed for sustainable learning.
Jonothan Neelands is an internationally renowned drama-in-education professor who has written extensively about the use of drama as a learning medium. He has worked with teachers of all age groups, assisting them in understanding how they may employ process drama techniques in teaching a variety of subjects. He is the National Teaching Fellow, Chair of Drama and Theatre Education and Director of Teaching and Learning in the Institute of Education at the University of Warwick and an associate of the CAPITAL Centre for creativity and performance in teaching and learning, a joint initiative between the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and the University of Warwick. This project aims to improve the quality of Shakespeare teaching at all ages through an ensemble and rehearsal room pedagogic approach.
A part of the Department of Dramatic Arts Visiting International Professor program, we are pleased to offer students the opportunity to study with someone of Dr. Neelands’ calibre.
Our Grad, Julia Course - break-a-leg!
Published on April 20 2013
DART Alumna Julia Course was recently given a nod by J. Kelly Nestruck in the The Globe and Mail for her role in one of "6 can’t-miss stage productions for spring".
from the Globe and Mail, Wednesday, Apr. 17 2013:
Our Betters, Shaw Festival
The Shaw Festival is hoping some of the smell of Downton Abbey rubs off on its production of W. Somerset Maugham’s Our Betters, a 1923 comedy about rich American women trying to snag a British noble. Julia Course, a young company member who has turned heads in smaller parts in recent seasons, gets her first starring role in this production from acclaimed director/designer team Morris Panych and Ken MacDonald.
Royal George Theatre, April 3-Oct. 27, www.shawfest.com
Dramatic Arts Professor Karen Fricker receives Excellence in Teaching Award at McGill University
Published on April 05 2013
The Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University congratulates Professor Karen Fricker for her recent Award for Excellence in Teaching at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Professor Fricker is the first recipient of The Charles Bronfman and Rita Mayo Award for Excellence in Teaching at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada . This is based on evaluations of her Fall, 2013 course, Performing Québec in the Global Age. The award was granted by a jury consisting of Professors Robert Leckey and Nathalie Cooke, and MISC Director Will Straw.
The Award was established in 2012 with a gift from Heather Munro-Blum and Leonard Solomon-Blum. The Award recognizes outstanding teaching at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada in the Faculty of Arts, with special emphasis on advancing the interest of students in the study of Canada. All faculty in the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada are eligible for the Award, which has a total value of $1,000.
DART graduate to receive the President's Surgite Award
Published on March 21 2013
DART alumna Roxolana (Rox) Chwaluk was recently selected to receive the President's Surgite Award at her Masters degree convocation in the autumn of 2013.
The President's Surgite Award recognizes those students who have been outstanding in one or more of the following areas:
· Demonstrated exemplary leadership in a student club, organization, association or team.
· Did something exceptional that helped to advance Brock's academic reputation.
· Made a significant contribution to student life at Brock.
· Provided a valuable service to Brock or the broader community.
Rox remarked that "the foundation that I had as a DART (Dramatic Arts) student was essential to my success. I have always been grateful for the opportunities I was provided to engage with my peers and the community. The professors who inspired me also grounded my work."
Rox graduated with a BA Honours in Dramatic Arts First-Class Standing in 2009, her Bachelor of Education Preservice Education - Intermediate Senior in 2010, and will graduate with her Master of Education (Social and Cultural Contexts of Education) in the autumn of 2013.
congratulations to you, Rox!
Katie Coseni with her Silver Shell Award for best actress from the San Sebastián Film Festival in Spain
Brock actress scores top honour at Spanish international film festival
Published on October 05 2012
It was a callback Katie Coseni won’t soon forget.
The second-year dramatic arts student had just returned from six days at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain, where the film in which she plays one of the lead roles, Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang, was given the red carpet treatment.
It was her second stop on the international film festival circuit, after the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in early September.
She was alone in her room when she got the call.
“I looked at the number and it was from France,” says Coseni. “I was like that’s really weird, why is someone from France calling me?”
It was one of the producers from the film on the other end of the line notifying her that the festival wanted her to come back so that she could accept her award.
I was like, what award?” Coseni remembers.
The award in question was the Silver Shell for Best Actress.
“I made her repeat it six times because I thought she was joking,” says Coseni. “It was really incredible.”
Coseni was given the honour along with Spanish actor Marcarena García for her turn in Blancanieves, a silent black-and-white reinterpretation of Snow White set in 1920s Spain.
“It’s kind of like ‘did that actually happen?’” says Coseni about receiving the award. “I still can’t believe it.”
“I see the box that the award came in on my desk and I forget what it is for a second, and then I remember ‘Oh yeah, I got this really awesome prestigious award,’” she says. “It’s just incredible.”
Created in 1953, this year is the 60th anniversary of the San Sebastián International Film Festival, one of the most important cinema festivals in the world.
“San Sebastien was just a whole otherworldly experience,” says Coseni. “It was all just a huge whirlwind.”
“I would wake up in the morning and then I would go to hair and make-up and then I’d go to a photo shoot and then a press conference and then interviews and then I’d have an hour for lunch, and then I’d have to go get ready for the red carpet, and then I’d have to do this and this and this,” she says. “But it was really fun.”
above, Katie Coseni in the film Foxfire
When asked about her future in acting in light of her recent accolades, the first-time film actor is looking to take advantage of her recent success.
“I’m taking steps now towards getting agents,” she says. “Hopefully that will lead to more auditions because I really do want to do this for as long as I can because I love it.”
After a busy few months of publicizing Foxfire, Coseni is ready to switch gears and get back to her studies.
“For right now, it’s just school and trying to get back to normal,” she says.
But that all depends on what you consider normal. Coseni received her callback on a Friday morning, hopped on a plane later that night, arrived in Spain Saturday night one hour before she was to receive the Silver Shell at the awards gala, woke up Sunday morning to fly back home, arrived home Sunday night and was back in class Monday morning.
“It feels like it happened so long ago, it’s really weird,” she says laughing. “It took like a day or so getting back to my regular sleeping pattern. It feels like I just got back from summer vacation.”
Foxfire is slated for theatrical release in France in January 2013 and plans are in the works for a Canadian release in Spring 2013.
A film still from the movie Foxfire featuring Brock-student Katie Coseni (right)
Design instructor in the Department of Dramatic Arts receives notice in the Globe and Mail
Published on September 26 2012
Kelly Wolf, sessional instructor for DART 1P97 Introduction to Stagecraft, Production and Design and DART 3F61 Design: Theatrical Design, recently designed the world premiere at Nightwood Theatre in Toronto, Between the Sheets. This "short, sharp new play" is noticed for its brilliant and heart-pounding performance.
Nightwood describes the play: "What begins as an ordinary parent teacher interview unravels into a gripping and raw confrontation between two women on the brink of disaster. One woman is fighting to protect her family. The other is fighting for the family she always wanted. With razor sharp intensity, Mand has crafted a rollercoaster ride of high stakes drama."
Globe Critic Martin Morrow congratulates Kelly for "the perfect character-defining costumes and ... the set, an exact replica of an elementary-school classroom." Her design proposes a scenographic space that gives the feeling of a "boxing ring in director Kelly Thornton’s tightly coiled staging."
The Globe concludes their notice with "If you handed out report cards for shows, Between the Sheets would get straight As."
Congratulations to Kelly!
for the full review please see the article in the Globe and Mail.
information about the season at Nightwood Theatre may be found here.
Coseni on the red carpet at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.
Brock student hits the international red carpet
Published on September 26 2012
DART student Katie Coseni was recently featured in an article in The Brock News:
"Katie Coseni’s first experience at the Toronto International Film Festival was not typical.
Rather than chasing celebrities for autographs and crowding the edges of red carpets in hopes of catching a glimpse of movie stars, the second-year dramatic arts student found herself on the red carpet soaking up the limelight.
Coseni plays one of the lead roles in the film Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang, which premiered at this year’s festival on Sept. 10."
The article continues: ". . . . Coseni’s long journey to the red carpet in Toronto all started when she responded to an open casting call in 2010.
“A friend and I went to a drama camp when I was in middle school,” she says. “I guess we stayed on their mailing list and they sent out a flyer about this audition.”
. . . Coseni credits her fellow students and professors in the dramatic arts program at Brock for being extremely supportive of her foray into film. Students would share their notes with her when she missed classes and professors were accommodating when it came to handing in assignments.
“Because I was going to school for drama and I was missing school because of a movie, they understood,” she said. “It’s a very supportive and friendly environment.”"
congratulations to Katie!
Powwow held on Campus Sept.7
From the Brock News
Students, staff and Niagara residents were invited to start their school year off to the beat of a different drum.
The Student Justice Centre hosted a powwow on Friday, Sept. 7 in Jubilee Court to celebrate the fall harvest in partnership with the Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and Education, Aboriginal Student Services and Brock University Students’ Union.
The event featured inter-tribal drumming and dance demonstrations, and opportunities for audience members to participate in traditional dancing.
“It’s a gathering to celebrate life and be thankful as well as to hang out with old friends and make new ones,” said Adrienne Smoke, a third-year drama student, who came up with the idea for the event. “Powwows are about sharing our culture to help educate people about the current native people not the ancient ones we read about in old outdated textbooks.”
This free event also featured a barbecue, vegetarian options and samples of traditional food, such as three sisters soup, corn bread and strawberry juice. The Brock farmers market was also held during the powwow.
Doors opened at 10 a.m. with the grand entry happening at noon. Closing ceremonies were at 3:30 p.m.
Photo By: DK Martin
Wooster Group visits DART once again
Published on March 25 2012
In conjunction with York University and University of Toronto's Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, DART organized and moderated a panel discussion with artistic director Elizabeth LeCompte and members of the internationally renowned Wooster Group of New York City, held in the Robert Gill Theatre, University of Toronto. The Wooster Group was in Toronto for their highly anticipated production of Vieux Carré at the Harbourfront Centre World Stage 2012. watch the video below
DART Alumna Kate Trotter awarded Distinguished Alumni Prize for the Humanities
Published on March 20 2012
Kate Trotter, a celebrated actress of theatre, cinema and television was presented with the "Distinguished Alumni Prize for the Humanities" on March 31, 2012 at Brock University. Ms. Trotter graduated from Brock University with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Dramatic Literature, First-Class Standing, in 1975 and the National Theatre School of Canada in 1978.
During the past 37 years Ms. Trotter has established an international reputation as a lead actress in film, television and stage production. Roles in theatre have included significant work in both classics and modern pieces: she has performed in Canadian plays by Anne Chislett, Tmothy Findley, David French, John Murell and Sharon Pollock among others as well as various Shakespeare, comic, tragic, and lyric theatre productions. She has collaborated with Canadian luminaries such as Martha Henry, Bill Hutt, Brent Carver, Robin Phillips, Richard Monette, RH Thompson, Al Waxman, Bill Shatner and Donald Sutherland.
Roles in cinema include Marie Currie in Glory Enough for All, and working alongside actors such as Charles Bronson, Angelina Jolie, James Woods, the three Carradine brothers, Claire Bloom, Clive Owen, Gary Sineese, Whoopi Goldberg, Edward Woodward, Jon Voight and Sophia Loren, to name a few.
Her numerous roles in television include Being Erica, The Murdoch Mysteries, The Jane Show and CSI.
She has also directed for the National Film Board and for women in the director’s chair as well as for the stage. Ms Trotter has taught Shakespeare at George Brown College, is co-founder of a program supporting kids at risk called youth and the law and for several years has been part of training programs for Canadian judges teaching communication skills in the courtroom.
The "Distinguished Alumni Prize for the Humanities" was founded in 2002 to celebrate the achievements of Brock's finest graduates. The award is conferred upon alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their field of study and the larger Brock community, as both a scholar and role model.
On March 30, 2012 from 7pm-9pm the Department of Dramatic Arts hosted a special event (studio location TBA) to introduce Ms Trotter to our current students and aspiring artists. All DART students and faculty were welcome to join the Department as we celebrate her success and raise a glass to toast this alumna of Brock Theatre.
DART graduate receives prestigious Erasmus Mundus scholarship
Published on February 09 2012
Kasey Dunn (DART 2011), has been awarded the prestigious scholarship for the 2012-2013 Erasmus Mundus M.A. in International Performance Research programme. Upon completion, Kasey would receive three M.A.s from programs of study at University of Amsterdam, University of Warwick, and the University of Arts in Belgrade. The scholarship has a value of 36,000 euro. (CAD $47, 500)
Kasey was previously awarded the Brock University Leaders Award, the Brock University President's Award, the national Canadian Millennium Excellence Award, J.F. Harding Prize in Theatre, the Jane Forrest Prize in Drama, and the Gertrude Milner Award in Drama. She completed an outstanding Fourth Year Honours Thesis project on theories of cognition and performance, with Professors Natalie Alvarez (Dramatic Arts) and Sid Segalowitz (Psychology) as supervisors. Kasey established the Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects Young Company in St. Catharines. In 2011 Kasey performed the lead role in the DART production of Racine's Phèdre, pictured above.
Kasey is following in the footsteps of Victoria Mountain (DART 2007) as the second DART graduate to receive this prestigious scholarship.
Always loved the musical RENT!?
published on February 08 2012
Always loved the musical RENT!? Brock Musical Theatre's finest performers presented a fun-filled show that opened February 2nd for four performances only.
RENT showcased the performing and producing talents of students in the Department of Dramatic Arts and the entire University community. The show was directed by Jessi Robinson with musical direction by Krystyna MacKay and choreography by Sarah Waller. Music was performed by local band Xprime.
Brock Musical Theatre is a university club with 19 cast members, as well as numerous production and volunteer crew members from several academic programs. BMT has been presenting music theatre to the Brock University community since 2005, showcasing such popular shows as Jesus Christ Superstar, Footloose, and Urinetown. Brock Musical Theatre president Karyn Lorence thanks the Brock University Student Union for their support of this production and BMT.
For more information, visit the website www.brockmusicaltheatre.com
watch a five minute video featuring interviews and excerpts here:
watch a three minute video by BrockTV featuring interviews and excerpts below:
Another Successful Event for COMMOTION
Published December 13 2011
Commotioneers From Laura Secord Secondary School created and performed "On the Line". A play about violence on and off the internet. Photo: Ron Gonzalez, David Chanthilath, Sarah Lundrigan-Randall, Matt Willms, Nathan Hammerling, Alexandra Li Tomulescu, Danielle Lauzon, Lianna Wouda, Jenna Ahle, Tannar Smith, James Thompson and Tanisha Medford
Commotion is a tri-generational program that trains emerging Brock Graduates to create theatre and work with high school students in the surrounding community. The program is run by Gyllian Raby, a Brock professor and Pablo Felices Luna, the artistic director for Carousel Players youth theatre in St Catharines. In reaching out to the local youth, this program is a vital resource to identifying and teaching the relationship between the creative process and group dynamics for Brock's emerging artists.
Twice a week, for a twelve week period, the students engage in high-octane, personal and inventive processes that lead towards devising a one-act play for public presentation. The groups alernate their creative strategies between four compass points of resource exploration, scored improvisation, evaluation of cultural assumptions and participation with their surrounding community. Community members from cross-disciplinary backgrounds provided feedback to the students and attempt to illuminate the expressive voice of the group presentation as a whole. As a crucial aspect to the program, this process aims to unfold the interests and concerns that are the common denominator of the group, rather than those proposed by external media.
The presentations were held at the Courthouse Theatre in St Catharines between December 8th and 10th and were a great success!
Gyllian comments, "In the last two weeks of the program, the COMMOTION team helps the groups 'weave' their material into a one-act plays and rehearse for the production. The fact that the play script arrives so late can be nerve-wracking, but the final production is made possible by the trust the participants develop in their work and in one another, as well as the professional artistic support by Carousel Players. The young people we have worked with have taught us a great deal about collaborative processes, ownership and creative practice. They have inspired us."
The COMMOTION Project is made possible by SSHRC: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Department of Dramatic Arts of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University, Carousel Players, TALK Niagara and approval from the District School Board of Niagara.
DART Alumnus on the stage of The Grand Theatre
Published on November 06 2011
Eric Frank (DART 2011) was recently seen on stage in a production of To Master the Art at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario. It’s the story of Julia Child and the writing of her famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The play opens with Julia and her husband Paul’s arrival in France in 1948. Paul introduces her to fine French cuisine and she is completely smitten.
Professor Virginia Reh, who directed Eric in two mainstage productions at Brock, journeyed to London to see him in his professional debut and remarked, 'In a production with 24 roles played by 10 actors, Eric proved a veritable chameleon, creating four very different vibrant characters. He was clearly comfortable in this professional milieu and his colleagues are enthusiastic about working with him.'"
Guest Visit by Cheryl Lalonde of Toronto Dance Theatre
Published on November 06 2011
Students in second year Stagecraft and third year Stage Management recently had the opportunity to hear Cheryl Lalonde, the production/stage manager of TDT, speak about the her career experiences and creative challenges in the mileu of Canadian contemporary dance.
Lalonde began her career in the arts with Act IV Theatre at Adelaide Court. After two years backstage at Toronto Workshop Productions, her design debut was for the premiere production of Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters under mentor and director Larry Lewis. Splitting her time between design and stage management has allowed her to travel the world as well as collaborate with many companies, including: Desrosiers Dance Theatre, Danny Grossman Dance Company, Fujiwara Dance Inventions, Eclectic Theatre, Alberta Ballet, Dreamwalker Dance Company, Theatre Smith Gilmour, and Kaeja d'Dance. Ms. Lalonde has served on the faculty of Theatre Arts at The Banff Centre for eight summers, and recently participated in a panel of Canadian Stage Managers to establish a DACUM occupational analysis for Stage Management. 2011 marks Cheryl's eleventh season with TDT.
Later that evening Christopher House, Artistic Director for TDT, invited the public for in an informal discussion of The Visual Art of Dance at the Niagara Artists Centre. DART first year students had previously attended a special workshop on movement lead by instructors of the TDT School and will also attend the presentation of Severe Clear in late November at the David S. Howes Theatre of the Brock Centre for the Arts. Lighting Design for Severe Clear is conceived by DART alumnus, Roelof Peter Snippe.
General Brock's October Soiree
for 2011 a brilliant success!
Published on October 17 2011
Students from the Department of Dramatic Arts along with their colleagues in the Departments of Music and Visual Arts entertained almost 350 guests and dignitaries in period costume at the General Brock's October Soiree, held Saturday October 15, 2011. More than $110,000 was raised, fifty percent of which after costs will accrue to scholarships in support of students in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.
Douglas Kneale, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, remarked "To judge from the comments of guests during the evening, it was universally acknowledged as the best Soiree yet, with a high degree of talent and professionalism in our re-enactors, emcee Derek Ewert, and all the singers and dancers."
See the Cogeco TV news item which includes on-camera interviews with several Brock spokespeople.
Published on October 24 2011
Faculty and students of the Drama in Education /Applied Theatre concentration had a truly exciting weekend at the Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators Conference (CODE), which took place October 21-23, 2011 at Blue Mountain, Collingwood.
Adrienne Smoke, a second year student in the Concentration in Theatre Praxis, attended the conference as an invited artist. She and dub-poet Greg Frankson opened the Conference with a performance: she drummed them in--thus beginning the conference--followed by a dance, and then provided a drum accompaniment to Greg's poem performance. She also gave a workshop for teachers, some of whom presented an excerpt of a Shawl Dance as part of the final evenings' performance.
Alex “Kazam” Pawlak, a third year DART student was the conference MC, wandering magician, "gentil animateur" and overall conference figure, "Jack-out-of-the-box" (the theme was on REACH--beyond the classroom, with a visual of getting out of a box...).
Part-time faculty Suzanne Burchell and Helen Zdriluk participated with projects in the 4-hour poster presentation on community-school outreach projects, which was followed by later, in-depth discussion sessions. Part-time faculty Carolee Mason and full-time faculty Glenys McQueen Fuentes both delivered workshops to teachers. Helen Zdriluk convened and organized a group of 10 DIE/AT students as very well-appreciated conference volunteers.
Congratulations for a successful weekend at CODE!
TAP Jamaica celebrates five successful years
Turn Around Projects of the Arts – lead by graduates, students and colleagues of the Department of Dramatic Arts of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts - began its fifth year on July 7th, 2011 in Port Antonio, Jamaica. TAP is a multi-national initiative using the arts and education to build sustainable communities.
This year, four talented Brock students attended TAP Jamaica: Lescia Poppe, Jamez Townsend, Dorothy Kane and Meaghan Gowrie, as well as seven Brock graduates, Tiffany Stull, Rox Chwaluk, Mike Irwin, Whitney Lee, Alycia McQueen, Christine Cassar, and Matt McLeod. Along with 8 others, the Canadian/American team developed successful workshops in dance, visual arts, music, creative writing, dramatic arts, culinary arts, film, and photography. Many weeks since the conclusion of the program the spirit and principles of TAP persist in the hearts of the Canadian facilitators and the Jamaican youth who participated. The hard work, dedication and compassion that every single team member brought to the project has once again guaranteed its success.
The TAP pilot project began in 2007 with a collaboration between the programming director of the project and former Drama in Education and Society program graduate, Tiffany Stull, her classmates, and their guest professor the renowned Canadian Dub Poet Michael St. George. Students of the third year dramatic arts course Alternative Forms of Theatre worked together to create a two-week long program of intensive educational workshops for the youth in an impoverished region of Jamaica. With the leadership of former DART professor Jane Leavitt and Michael St. George a five year commitment to TAP Jamaica was established with the intention of initiating and maintaining integrated arts workshops every July.
Participant and third-year DART student Meaghan Gowrie exclaimed “From a personal standpoint, I can proudly say that when facilitating the music workshop, my success was in part rooted deeply in the skills, knowledge and values that I have been taught so far as a Drama in Education and Society student at Brock University.”
Now that the five year commitment to TAP Jamaica has come to an end the Canadian team is prepared to move into Phase 2 of the program, training Jamaican youth to become facilitators of an autonomous and self-directed workshop program. This summer the groundwork was laid for Phase 2 with the creation of the F.I.T. team (Facilitators in Training). This team included ten Jamaican youth who have successfully achieved the objectives of TAP through their actions and leadership skills in previous years. Five of these participants graduated the F.I.T. program in 2011 and will facilitate workshops in July 2012.
Gowrie added, “The experience that I had as a Canadian team member, educator and friend to the amazing 44 Jamaican youth that attended the program is completely impossible to describe in words or writing. It is my hope that anyone who comes in contact with the pictures, videos, and people of TAP will get a small taste of the impact that the first five years has made on everyone who has ever helped in the execution of, or attended the program. The optimism and positivity that is now ever-presently radiating in each of us will inspire the people of Brock University and eventually the world that the arts can change lives, that anything is possible and that step by step, we WILL make it to the top!”
TAP Jamaica in 2011