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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.

Spotlight on Alumni: Kelly Anderson

Kelly Anderson (BA Hons Theatre Studies) graduated from York in 2015 with a specialization in Set and Costume Design, Devised Theatre, and Playwriting. Since then she has worked on twenty productions as a set, costume, lighting, and/or sound designer, and playwright. Highlights include costume design for Theatre By The Bay (Faust); a mixture of set, costume and lighting design for Theatre By Committee (Lion in the Streets, The Winter Play Project, Faith); sound design for theatre company Pearle Harbour Presents (Rebel Without A Cause, Canadian Content-ed, Pearle Harbour’s Sunday School); costume design for webseries pilot Jib & Jab (Kurt Ogilvie); and sound design and composition for Little Black Afro (Carbon: A Workshop Performance). Kelly’s debut play Family Debts was produced as part of Theatre By Committee’s inaugural Winter Play Project.

Kelly tells us about how she manages to juggle her busy schedule, which includes writing, designing and tin-smithing! She shares her take on life after York, and what made her experience in the Theatre Dept. special for her.


Spotlight on Alumni: Rachel Kennedy

Rachel Kennedy

Rachel Kennedy graduated from York University (BA Hons Devised theatre) in 2014. During her time at York, she also took 2-year courses in both Directing and Playwriting. In the summer after graduation Rachel began volunteering for Playwrights Guild of Canada, where she has since been hired as their permanent Outreach & Development Coordinator and is working to help create new opportunities for playwrights across the country. She also recently accepted the position of Professional Theatre & Education Manager at Theatre Ontario, where she oversees their Summer Intensive, Next Generation Showcase, Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) and Youth Theatre Training Program (YTTP). Outside of the office, Rachel has had the pleasure of working with many great local theatre companies including House of Rebels Theatre (producer/co-founder), Deadman’s Tale Productions (director), Little Black Afro (actor), Breakin’ Ground Productions (stage manager) and Theatre Direct (venue supervisor).

Rachel joins us to share her experience as a student in York’s Devised Theatre and Playwriting series of courses. She also gets to offer advice on life beyond York, and the process of setting off on the adventure of the first couple of years after York.



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.)