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Extraordinary Lives: Difference and Ability

The Dept. of Theatre Announces the Theme of its 2016-17 Season

Photo by Jeremy Mimnaugh.

Extraordinary Lives: Difference and Ability is the Department of Theatre’s thematic focus for the 2016-17 academic year. From public events like Theatre @ York’s mainstage season, to the Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series hosted by the Graduate Program in Theatre and Performance Studies, to curriculum and classroom dialogue, the department is devoting the upcoming academic year to exploring questions around disability and performance. Inspired by conversations at the local and national level, our goal is to work closely with members of the disability arts community to challenge traditionally “ableist” modes of making theatre and to “crip” our studios, classrooms, and stages. In so doing, we hope to support ongoing efforts to make post-secondary theatre training in Canada more accessible to students of all abilities, building on the important lessons learned during last year’s exploration of Indigenous performance.

We have formed an advisory panel of prominent deaf, “mad,” and “crip” artists to serve as facilitators for the season. We’re excited to announce our distinguished panel and share their bios.

This season, Theatre @ York presents Thomas Bernhard’s A Party for Boris, directed by MFA Directing candidate Matthew Earnest, August Strindberg’s A Dream Play directed by MFA Directing candidate David Di Giovanni, and The Three Sisters, directed by MFA Directing candidate Tanja Jacobs. We will offer “Relaxed Performance” options and signed performances.

York U Theatre Alumni at the Doras

Matjash Mrozewski and Estelle Shook

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts’s Dora Mavor Moore Awards are presented annually to honour outstanding theatre, dance, and opera productions. This year’s gala takes place Monday June 27 at Harbourfront Centre. York University students, faculty and alumni received over 24 nominations, recognizing their remarkable talent and contributions to Toronto’s vibrant arts scene.

The acclaimed double bill Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom, a Canadian Stage production collaboration with the Department of Theatre racked up seven nominations, including Outstanding Production and Outstanding Direction for Matjash Mrozewski and Estelle Shook, who took the helm as part of their MFA in Directing in Collaboration with Canadian Stage.

Professor Teresa Przybylski received two nods – Outstanding Scenic Design for Hedda Gabler with and Outstanding Costume Design for The Death of the King.

Click here for a list of York University connected nominations.

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Spotlight on Alumni: Wesley McKenzie

Wesley McKenzie

Wesley McKenzie graduated from York University in 2014 with a BFA in Theatre Production. Since graduation, he has been designing light, sound and video for theatre and opera in Toronto. He often works with theatre companies such as the red light district (Lulu V2, the marquise of O—, Lulu V4) and Lester Trips (The Misunderstanding, Intangible Trappings). His work has also explored the possibilities of technologies in theatrical situations, such as the advanced video mapping used in the marquise of O—, or the multiple live video feeds in the Howland Company’s take rimbaud.

We catch up with him in this Spotlight on Alumni to get his take on his experience at York, and his advice for new students to York.

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Spotlight

Rallentando—Faculty collaborate to create an immersive experience Faculty members Gwenyth Dobie (Theatre), Don Sinclair (Digital Media) and William Mackwood (Dance) continued their research into “Forest Bathing” with their installation, Rallentando. The piece explores the restorative effects of spending time in a Virtual Nature, and features BFA Acting alumni Ken Northfield and Katelyn McCulloch, and BA Devised Theatre alumna Laurel Brady. Professor Ian Garrett (Theatre) captured the event as 360° photos
and videos for you to explore (works best in Google Chrome browsers.)

Showcase

A curated selection of images of student work.