What's Happening at Theatre?

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.

Theatre Prof Judith Rudakoff leads The Ashley Plays in Cape Town

Laura Lee Mostert in The Ashley Plays

From August 1-12, 2016, Professor Judith Rudakoff worked with the 3rd Year Acting class at the Drama Department at University of Cape Town, South Africa. Together they created, developed, and performed The Ashley Plays: Blood and Water. This site-specific cycle of 16 short, original performances was non-linear, and focused on the dramatized exploration of personal narratives, voiced through a fictional character called “Ashley.”

The 16 performers had never written or performed their own work before, so Rudakoff initially led them through writing exercises intended to enable the creative telling of one’s own stories.

For The Ashley Plays, the group chose six characteristics that would help inspire their character. Then, the students spent hours engaging with the locations they had selected, which were scattered across the Hiddingh Campus of UCT, figuring out how their character and story connected with their site. For the public performance, four audience pods of 20-25 spectators were each led through the 90 minute cycle in different order.


Spotlight on Alumni: Jennifer Lennon

Jennifer Lennon

Jennifer Lennon graduated from York in 2009, and has worked since then as a Lighting Designer in theatre, dance, and opera. After graduation she kept learning as an Assistant Lighting Designer at the Stratford Festival for three seasons before moving over to the Shaw Festival for another three, which included designing The Twelve-Pound Look with director Lezlie Wade. As a freelance designer she has had the opportunity to work for larger companies such as Factory Theatre and Toronto Dance Theatre, as well as many vibrant indie companies and collectives.



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.)


A curated selection of images of student work.