Theatre at UBC
Current Student News
Theatre at UBC was recognised for it’s “boffo programming” this year in the magazine’s annual Best of Vancouver issue - along with the nods to our
UBC Cultural District partners for their amazing programming, under the heading “Best Reason to Go to UBC Outside of Classes”.
“Best Reason to Go to UBC Outside of Classes
The city may be planning to establish a cultural district downtown, but we think there’s a rival much further west. This year the Museum of Anthropology has been bringing in record numbers to shows like Safar/Voyage, a stunning and thought provoking exhibit of contemporary art from the Middle East. But it’s not the only arts hub to hit when you hit when you head to the UBC campus. The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts’ line up just gets better and better, with appearances this season by none other than Phillip Glass and the world-music fado megastar Mariza, among others. Opera at UBC continues to be the place to spot the rising sopranos and tenors of tomorrow. And Theatre at UBC? Check out the boffo programming at it’s Frederic Wood Theatre, with everyone from Bertolt Brecht to Anton Chekhov on the menu this season.” - The Georgia Straight
Read the full issue here: www.straight.com/bov/2013
Theatre Studies PhD student Brian Parkinson has recently contributed to United Players’ acclaimed production of Habit of Art as both assistant director (to William B. Davis) and as dialect coach. Parkinson was one of the first two PhD students in the UBC Theatre Department back in 1981 to 1982 but was unable to finish – so now we welcome him back to do so. He previously earned his BA in Theatre and a teachers degree at UBC (Drama & English) and later entered graduate studies in directing in the UK. Now he comes back to us with a 36 year career behind him as a Professor of Acting & Directing at the University of Lethbridge – including six years as Associate Dean of Fine Arts. Brian’s work in his parallel universes of academic and professional theatre in Alberta has received awards and recognition over many years. His directing interests range from the classics onwards and include musical and revue theatre, and opera. Brian recently returned home to Vancouver to work in the theatre. Welcome back Brian!
More about United Players’ Habit of Art running to Sept. 29.
Congratulations to Theatre Studies doctoral student Selena Couture who is to receive a UBC Killam Doctoral Scholarship at an award ceremony on Oct. 15, 2013. These scholarships are the most prestigious awards available to graduate students at UBC, and are awarded to the top doctoral candidates from five Canadian universities.
Selena’s research concerns indigenous performance with an interest in the use of language and historiographic methods. Her dissertation is focused on indigenous and settler cultural performances near the former Coast Salish village of χʷayχʷ əy (aka Brockton Point in Stanley Park). She aims to understand how and why indigenous performance at this site used language and place-names to assert cultural identity in the context of related intercultural settler performances asserting an urban identity for the city of Vancouver.
Understanding this history requires exploring not only how indigenous people resisted colonialism, and their means of cultural continuity despite centuries of violence, but also the indigenous ways of transmitting history that do not depend on the colonial archive.
When asked why she chose to pursue a graduate degree Selena says, “After working for many years as a teacher in alternative schools I felt the need to study, reflect and write. I also believe that one of the most significant unresolved problems in our nation is the treatment of indigenous people. I decided to combine my love of performance and education with my desire to help unsettle and decolonize our world.”
The Killam Scholarship was established in memory of Izaak Walton Killam through the Will of his wife, Dorothy Johnston Killam, and through gifts made during her lifetime. It was Mrs. Killam's desire that those selected to receive fellowships: "Be likely to contribute to the advancement of learning or to win distinction in a profession. A Killam scholar should not be a one-sided person... Special distinction of intellect should be founded upon sound character and good manners."
More at: www.killamtrusts.ca
Congratulations to Theatre Studies PhD candidate Julia Henderson on publication of her article, "The Female Illusionist Revealed: Adelaide Herrmann's Performance of Womanhood Through Fin de Siècle Material Culture, 1869-1928." in The Journal of American Drama and Theatre.
The article delves into the fascinating life of Adelaide Herrmann (1853-1932) who was widely recognized as the world's first commercially successful female magician. Relying on archival materials (photographs, publicity posters, historical newspapers etc.) relating to Herrmann, the author makes the argument that Herrmann participated in, used, and manipulated material culture to construct a public identity, and that her public identity contributed to an emerging turn-of-the-century female identity by alternately reinforcing and resisting contemporary ideas about female gender roles.
Through her performances and publicity, she promoted women's athleticism and encouraged dress reform. She succeeded as a headliner in the male dominated pursuit of magic and successfully self-managed her solo career for over 30 years. She encouraged other women to pursue magic as an entertainment and profession, and offered a view of aging women that did not link older age to decline. This article was printed in a special Spring 2013 issue of The Journal of American Drama and Theatre which available for purchase online: http://thesegalcenter.org/publications/journals/jadt/
Julia also received a recent accolade for another of her articles. She received an honourable mention for her paper “Dissolving the Edges: Challenging Age Binaries by Viewing King Lear in Temporal Depth” in relation to this year’s Robert Lawrence Prize for outstanding conference paper by an emerging scholar at the Canadian Association for Theatre Research annual conference. www.catr-acrt.ca
Kudos to our Theatre Studies PhD Student Selena Couture. Her article "Siddons's Ghost: Celebrity and Gender in Sheridan's Pizarro" was just published in the May issue of Theatre Journal. The essays in this issue all touch in various ways on gender or feminism through their engagement with central female figures, but their primary focus is on performance and history.
Couture’s article re-examines Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s Pizarro (1799), shifting away from the critical tendency to focus on Rolla’s speech as a re-use of Sheridan’s speech against Warren Hastings to consider instead the significance of Sarah Siddons’s performance in the role of Elvira.
Drawing on Jacky Bratton’s insights into embodied theatre histories and Marvin Carlson’s theory of celebrity ghosting, Couture argues that Sheridan adapted Kotzebue’s play with Siddons’s abilities and status in mind and that her prominence as one of the greatest actors of her generation and as an icon of British womanhood created an emphasis on remorse, thus weakening the monolithic nature of the British colonial project.
For over five decades, Theatre Journal's broad array of scholarly articles and reviews has earned it an international reputation as one of the most authoritative and useful publications of theatre studies available today. Drawing contributions from noted practitioners and scholars, Theatre Journal features social and historical studies, production reviews, and theoretical inquiries that analyze dramatic texts and production. It is published by Johns Hopkins University Press.
Selena Couture is currently a PhD student in Theatre Studies at UBC. She researches indigenous performance, with a particular interest in the use of indigenous languages and historiographic methods. Her dissertation is focused on indigenous and settler cultural performances near a former Coast Salish village that is now known as Brockton Point in Stanley Park, Vancouver.
Download Theatre Journal here: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/tj/
Latest issue of Theatre Research in Canada features Adjunct Prof and Student
Adjunct Professor Reid Gilbert is co-editor of the latest issue of Theatre Research in Canada, entitled “Canadian Performances/Global Redefintions.” The magazine features an article by PhD Theatre student Alex Lazaridis Ferguson, and four other theatre scholars, who “explore some of the ways in which Canadian performances are being reconfigured in our age of globalization.”
In his article Lazaridis Ferguson applies and questions Csikszentmihalyi, Dewey, Fischer-Lichte and, especially, Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic capital to describe exchanges among performing arts festivals in Canada and Europe, “demonstrating how cultural systems both enhance and hamper cross-cultural exchange.”
Reid Gilbert is now at work on an issue of Canadian Theatre Review due out in 2014, which will publish an article by our MFA Design student, Ines Ortner.
“Among aboriginal people, there is a prophecy known as the Eighth Fire,” says Vanessa Imeson, a fine arts student and recipient of UBC’s Aboriginal Fellowship Award, “it explains how different cultures must come together and impact each other in a positive way instead of fighting. The more we know each other, the better off we are.”
For Vanessa, the ability to tell stories that transcend language and culture compelled her to leave her Ontario home and join the Department of Theatre and Film at UBC. “I came here because there is a lot more integration of First Nation culture and Indigenous arts,” she explains. “I am really interested in puppets and theatrics. You can tell a story that doesn’t necessarily need to be in English to be able to be understood, because of the visual elements.”
Although Vanessa specializes in costume design, her creative flair inspired her to explore the production side of show business. The Jessie Richardson Theatre Award Society, a group that celebrates outstanding achievements in Vancouver’s theatre community, recently recognized Vanessa for her production of The Bomb-itty of Errors, a remake of the Comedy of Errors set to rap and hip-hop music.
Read more at : startanevolution.ubc.ca
The UBC Department of Theatre and Film proudly introduces our graduates of BFA Acting for 2013.
Top L-R: Alen Dominguez, Matt Reznek, Joel Garner
Centre L-R: Georgia Beaty, Xander Williams, Courtney Shields
Front L-R: Emma Johnson, Kenton Klassen, Pippa Johnstone
Floor: Tracy Schut
With many thanks to photographer Michael Hall for coming out to capture the class: michaeljphall.com
The Vancouver Courier’s reviewer Jo Ledingham has singled out many alumni and current students who were part of her most memorable stage moments in 2012.
Professor Stephen Malloy’s Main Street Theatre company was applauded for their production of Endgame in the Tremors Festival. Malloy directed the cast which included BFA Acting alumni Sasa Brown (as Nell) and Ryan Beil (Clove) along with Daryl King (Nagg) and Josh Drebit (Hamm). Ledingham remarked “Known for productions of David Mamet's plays, this small company proved once again its versatility and virtuosity with Beckett's apocalyptic tale.”
Theatre at UBC’s production of The Duchess: aka Wallis Simpson, directed by alumna Sarah Rodgers, was also standout for Ledingham: “It was still summery in October when UBC opened The Duchess: a.k.a. Wallis Simpson. It didn't matter if the facts had been toyed with because the show was so stylish thanks to Michael Bock's art nouveau set and Miriam Thom's period gowns. Not in Linda Griffiths' original script but added by the divinely inspired director Sarah Rodgers was singing, piano-playing Alexander Keurvorst as Noel Coward. The music was such a bonus it's hard to imagine The Duchess without it. Pippa Johnstone was so headstrong and swanky as Mrs. Simpson, the woman who stole Edward VIII's heart, I'm certain Eddie would have fallen for Ms. Johnstone, too.”
More alumni noted in the season review: MA Theatre student Katrina Dunn (Touchstone Theatre artistic director) for her direction of Eternal Hydra with BFA Acting alumni John Murphy and Laara Sadiq. Til Death Do We Part: The Six Wives of Henry VIII, written and directed by MFA directing student Ryan Gladstone. MFA Directing alumnus David Mackay for his direction of Race by Mitch and Murray Productions and BFA Acting alumnus David Adams was applauded for his work as Tevye in Gateway Theatre's production of Fiddler On The Roof.
Read Jo Ledingham’s entire roundup of Vancouver’s most memorable theatre of 2012 here vancourier.com/entertainment/Year+Theater+Plays
View slideshow. Photos by Gerald Vanderwoude
Congratulations to Theatre Studies PhD student Julia Henderson who was one of eight students (from across North America) to receive a Graduate Scholar Award from the 2nd International Conference of Aging and Society held recently in Vancouver.
For each conference, a small number of Graduate Scholar Awards are given to outstanding graduate students who have an active academic interest in the conference area. Graduate Scholars perform a critical role in the conference by chairing the parallel sessions, providing technical assistance in the sessions, participating in Talking Circles, and presenting their own research papers.
Julia brings to her studies longstanding professional theatre experience as an actor, as well as more recent practical experience as a dramaturgy intern at Vancouver's Arts Club Theatre Company. Julia is also a clinical faculty member in UBC's Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.
As an occupational therapist, Julia has worked with aging populations, especially individuals with dementia. In the context of her PhD research, she is combining her fields of interest to investigate the role of theatre in shaping societal perceptions of aging.
In support of her doctoral research, Julia has been awarded the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canadian Doctoral Scholarship, the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Doctoral Scholarship, The University of British Columbia Four Year Fellowship, and the Bill Millerd Award In Theatre.
Aging and Society is an international forum for building and sharing knowledge through an international conference, a scholarly journal, a book series, and an online knowledge community. Third International Conference on Aging and Society will be held in Chicago, Illinois, November 8 - 9, 2013.
Photo of UBC Scholars honoured at the conference (above): L-R Sarah Metcalfe (Master of Public Health, UBC School of Population and Public Health), Saskia Sivananthan (PhD student Centre for Health Services and Policy Research at UBC), and Julia Henderson (Phd Theatre Studies student, UBC Department of Theatre and Film).
More at http://agingandsociety.com
Check out the Spring 2012 issue of Canadian Theatre Review, entitled “Manifestos: Or Everything You’ve ever Wanted to Say about Theatre but Were Afraid to Put in Print.” In it you’ll find our Ph. D student Alex Lazaridis Ferguson’s provocative article, “Dangers of the Theatrical–Dramaturgical Complex: A Call to Artists to Run Faster and Jump Higher on Their Own Two Feet.” In this forthright piece, Ferguson reflects on the power of the dramaturge in theatre today, and challenges playwrights and directors to question their dependence on dramaturgy. Published quarterly, the Canadian Theatre Review is the major magazine of record for Canadian theatre and can be found online at: http://www.utpjournals.com/Canadian-Theatre-Review
For more great writing on Canadian theatre today, look not further than the newly published volume, New Canadian Realisms: New Essays on Canadian Theatre, edited by Roberta Barker and Kim Solga. It includes our Ph.D. student Parie Leung’s critical essay entitled “Drama as Surgical Act: Operative Realism and the Chinese Canadian Redress.” Published by Playwrights Canada Press, the volume interrogates debates surrounding realism: “Topics range from Hollywood’s influence on the look of the contemporary Canadian ‘real,’ to the power and the pitfalls of a ‘realism of redress’ in intercultural Canadian theatre, to the apparently oxymoronic notion of ‘devised’ realism, to the complexities of Indigenous realism(s). Together, this book’s writers suggest that Canada’s theatrical realisms are fractious, multiple, difficult, yet rife with potential.” (
Congratulations to both Alex Lazaridis Ferguson and Parie Leung on these timely and engaging publications.
(Image courtesy of Nick Harrison)
Nick Harrison had a childhood dream much like many other boys. "When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a Jedi, or Indiana Jone," said Harrison. "It was my kid fantasy."
Fortunately for him, he gets paid to live out those dreams as a fight choreographer for both film and theatre. Harrison is studying for his PhD through the UBC theatre program. Harrison recently choreographed the fight scenes in their production of Macbeth.
Harrison's career with fight choreography has violent origins. "A long time ago, I was brutally attacked as a child by another kid, who ended up stabbing me," Harrison said. "When I recovered, my parents put me into martial arts from fourth grade onwards," and it took off from there.
While attending drama school in England, he was also a member of the British Kendo Team, a Japanese martial art‹and ended up taking stage combat as a part of his drama school training. Since graduating, Harrison has worked primarily in fight choreography. He's worked with Sarah Michelle Gellar in Scooby Doo 2 for a fight scene in which he played a possessed suit of armour‹as well as the late Bob Anderson, who did fight choreography for blockbuster films like Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean.
"Some of my best moments have been wearing armour on Stargate in three feet of mud and working nine hours on one fight, slipping, sweating, exhausted, And it's wonderful," Harrison said. "And when I was working on Scooby Doo 2 as the Black Knight, holding a fourteen pound broad sword in a nine foot suit of armour in a fight that took three months to work on. It's amazing."
With two full suits of armour and three hundred different types of weapons in his own personal armoury, there's not much for him to complain about. But the most obvious question is what the price paid is for using dangerous weapons on a daily basis.
"Safety is always the first consideration," Harrison says. "Actors know that they are responsible and have to maintain the integrity of that safety."
Harrison himself has only suffered one major setback as a result of stunt work. He recalls doing a stunt three years ago‹an eighteen foot fall, which pulled his right foot entirely out of its socket.
"You take your mobility for granted," he said. "I had to say no to a call from Pirates of the Caribbean asking me to come choreograph a fight for them and work in Hawaii for four months. I'm better now but I'll never be a hundred per cent."
The accident hasn't stopped him, though. Harrison is still an actor, teacher, stunt performer, fight choreographer, performs improv and has recently ventured into the field of directing.
Harrison's PhD work focuses on the origins of fight choreography in history. "I've managed to turn my practical skills set in doing this into an academic skill set of teaching the methodology and history of stage fights," he says.
His career is by no means approaching a standstill any time soon. "Basically, I have a Peter Pan job I get paid to play, and I get paid to let other people play. To me, that¹s the best job you could ever have."
~ reprinted courtesy of The Ubyssey 03/25/2012
Amanda Konkin, MA Theatre, Brian Cochrane, MFA Theatre Directing, Mandi Lau, MFA Theatre, Design/Production, Isabelle Lau, BA FIST, Christopher Spencer, BA FIST, Vanessa Bliss, BA Theatre, Sophie Collins, BA THeatre, Suzanna Lonsdale, BA Theatre, Justina Vanovcan, BA Theatre, Claire Hesselgrave, BFA Theatre, Acting Andrew Lynch, BFA Theatre Acting Jameson Parker, BFA Theatre Acting, Collin Morrison, BFA FIPR, Elad Tzadok, BFA FIPR, A great class of 2011!
Congratulations to current Theatre at UBC BFA Acting student Scott Button, a recipient of one of this year’s David and Manjy Sidoo Family Scholarships!
Congratulations to first-year Theatre Studies doctoral student Julia Henderson who is one of six UBC students recently awarded a UBC Killam Doctoral Scholarship. These scholarships are provided annually from the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Fund for Advanced Studies. They are the most prestigious awards available to graduate students at UBC, and are awarded to the top doctoral candidates in the Affiliated Fellowships competition.
Julia is a graduate of Circle In The Square Theatre School in New York. She also has a B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy and a M.Sc. in Rehabilitation from Queenʼs University. A professional actor for the past 12 years, she is also a registered occupational therapist, and a clinical faculty member of the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at UBC where she has held numerous instructing, teaching assistant and research positions since 2004.
In her doctorate she combines her professional experiences and training to approach arts-based research as both an artist and a scientist, exploring in particular how narratives of aging can inﬂuence performance.
Killam Scholarships video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2egGUp9K3I
More at: http://osot.ubc.ca/
Watch this and raise money for charity!
On Saturday March 26, 2011, over one thousand university, high school students, community members and a hellicopter came together to rock out and show off their special skills; all while lip-synching the words to Pink's Raise Your Glass and Marianas Trench's* Celebrity Status.
UBC made a massive LipDub, that’s a single-shot singing and dancing phenomenon which has become hugely popular on YouTube.
Executive Producer [and Theatre at UBC BFA student] Andrew Cohen put the undertaking in motion. Fellow students Jaclyn Buck stage managed and Ryan Warden was behind the camera – we couldn’t be more proud of them and everyone who took part.
Marshall McMahen and current Theatre at UBC BFA Design and Production student Amanda Larder recently tied for the win of Outstanding Set Design in the Ovation awards!
Outstanding Set Design (tie):
- Amanda Larder - Sweeney Todd, Fighting Chance Productions (BFA)
- Marshall McMahen - The Sound of Music, Footlight Theatre (BA)
7th Annual Ovation Award Nominations Announced!
Congratulations to our students and alumni who have been recognised with Ovation Nominations this year:
BFA student Amanda Larder (Outstanding Set Design - Fighting Chance Productions) and alumnus Alex McMorran (Outstanding Lead Performance - Fighting Chance Productions) have both been nominated for their work in Sweeney Todd. More nominations went out to alumni Sarah Rogers (Best Direction - Godspell, Pacific Theatre) and Yulia Shtern (Outstanding Costume Design - A Year With Frog and Toad, Carousel Theatre). Also nominated in the category of “Outstanding Gypsy – Female” for a “chorus/ensemble member who demonstrated exceptional performance, enthusiasm, and team spirit” is BFA Acting student Christine Quintana (Seussical The Musical, Carousel Theatre).
The 7th Annual OVATION Awards - Celebrating the musicals of 2010!
Awards Ceremony: Sunday January 30, 2011
PAL Studio Theatre - 7PM
Doors open at 6:30 followed at 7PM by a revue including performances from various productions and special guest presenters.
Cash bar, before and after show.
Tickets $25 (includes a $20 tax receipt)
Available online: www.applausemusicals.com
BFA Acting Candidate Barbara Kozicki has earned the prestigious Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Developing Artist Award for English Language Theatre. Barbara has just completed the Intermediate Year of our three-year Bachelor of Fine Arts Conservatory-style Acting Program.
During her Intermediate Year, which focuses on translating the fundamentals of acting into heightened language and styles, Barbara was involved in three publicly presented productions, as well as several classroom projects. These endeavours included a wildly divergent range of performance styles, all of which Barbara met with her typical engagement, attention to detail and passion; Moises Kaufman’s The Laramie Project in which she played, among other roles, Reggie Fluty, the police office who found Matthew and subsequently had to deal with possible HIV exposure; an acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in which she played both a fire-spinning entertainer at the Capulet’s party and “Sister” Lawrence; and to finish the year, Catherine Petkoff in Shaw’s Arms and the Man. Her classroom work included scene studies in works by Chekhov, Shakespeare, and Congreve as well as training in commedia dell’arte. Barbara devoured all of these projects with her typical voracious theatrical appetite. Barbara is well known for her work ethic, her generosity, her grace, her heart and her talent. We heartily congratulate her on this well deserved recognition from the Hnatyshyn Foundation.
About the Hnatyshyn Foundation: In an effort to foster excellence in new talent, the Foundation assists the most promising young Canadian performing artists enrolled in post-secondary educational or training institutions. Eight grants of $10,000 are awarded annually, one in each of the following performing arts disciplines: classical music (orchestral instrument), classical music (piano), classical vocal performance, classical ballet, contemporary dance, jazz performance, acting (English theatre) and acting (French theatre). More: www.rjhf.com
The Hnatyshyn Foundation seeks to enrich the legacy of Canadian art by directly aiding exceptionally gifted individuals working in all disciplines – fully reflecting Canada’s linguistic and cultural diversity – while heightening public awareness of the role of private benefactors in nurturing talent and strengthening the bonds which unite us as a nation.” - The Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn (1934-2002)
Conor Moore earns 2010 Larisa Fayad Memorial Award
The Larisa Fayad Memorial Award is a biennial award is presented by the Vancouver International Dance Festival to a student pursuing lighting design or to an emerging lighting designer. Congratulations to this year's recipient, UBC BFA Design Candidate Conor Moore!