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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: Sheri Godda

Sheri Godda is a graduate of York University’s Dept of Theatre (BFA Acting 2013) and most recently a graduate of The Second City Conservatory (2016). She won a MyTheatre ‘Best Supporting Actress’ award for her work in Brecht’s, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui where she played 8 characters spanning various ages and genders. She was nominated for the Tim Sims Encouragement Fund comedy award for her work in the Second City Conservatory. Sheri is the other half of the improv comedy duo GoddaKuch. She is apart of an all female improv troupe called WWF. She co-created and produces Roast Beats, a monthly musical improv show. Since graduation, she has performed in multiple shows with indie theatre company Echo Productions. She is starring in a web series titled, At Sea which is to be released in 2017. You can also catch her in her first principle role in the Murdoch Mysteries season 10 finale. Sheri has been accepted into The Second City House Company Ensemble (currently featuring York Acting alum Christian Smith) where she will perform every Friday at The Second City John Candy Box Theatre.

In this Spotlight story, Sheri shares her experience working in the Comedy and Improv world, how she initially found her way to train at York, and the impact that training has had on her work since graduation.


Spotlight on Alumni: Andrew Cleveland

Andrew Cleveland

Andrew Cleveland (BFA Spec. Hons. 2013) is a Toronto-based sewer, dresser, and costume designer. Born and raised in Orangeville, Ontario, Andrew has a background in Costume Design including a bachelor’s degree in Production and Design from the Department of Theatre. For the last 3 years, Andrew has built costumes for theatre, opera, and ballet, locally, nationally, and internationally. Working primarily as a freelance costumer, his work can be seen on Broadway, in Toronto, London’s West End, Paris, Sydney, Shanghai, and on tour across North America.

Andrew discusses his work in theatre, opera and musical theatre, working as a costumer, dresser and costume designer, but also his experience as a student at York, where he found his niche in the costume shop, in spite of never having used a sewing machine prior to coming to 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.)