PRESENTED BY Studio 180 Theatre, Mark McGrinder and Marissa Orjalo
How can drama education be an empowering and impactful way to engage with our personal, communal and global histories? How can drama classrooms be brave spaces that encourage self-reflection, vulnerability, and ensemble-building? How can we build community through theatre-making, and create spaces in which we truly see one another and are able to encounter lost, stolen, and erased histories with sensitivity, curiosity and empathy? Studio 180 Theatre, celebrating its 20th anniversary season, has been one of Toronto’s leading independent producers of theatre asking provocative questions about our personal and communal histories. Since 2010, the Studio 180 IN CLASS workshop program has provided rich opportunities for students to encounter themes of genocide, homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and the insidious forces of stigma, shame, and erasure, with compassion and humanity. In this hands-on workshop, we draw inspiration from our 2022/23 season to examine the powerful ways that drama and theatre humanize histories and create learning experiences that are impactful, lasting, community-building and empowering for young people. Most specifically, our touchstone will be our upcoming Canadian premiere of The Chinese Lady by Lloyd Suh, for which our ongoing work with producing partners fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company, establishes a valuable framework for investigating questions about the importance of history; the positionality of the storyteller; and what it means to really see one another. Additional inspiration will be drawn from our other season offerings including Indecent by Paula Vogel (touching on themes of genocide, censorship, homophobia, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust) and A Public Display of Affection by Jonathan Wilson (a memoir uncovering personal and 2SLGBTQ+ histories). Activities will include values propositioning, building brave spaces, unique writing prompts and improvisation exercises.
You may be particularly intrigued in this workshop if your focus is: Secondary Drama
A co-founder of Studio 180, Mark McGrinder is an actor, writer, and artist educator who coordinates the Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT program and works as a Studio 180 IN CLASS workshop leader. Select Studio 180 performing credits include: Oslo, The Nether, You Will Remember Me, Clybourne Park and Stuff Happens. Mark adapted and directed, Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, for PANAMANIA, directed Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays and worked as Associate Director for Blackbird (Metcalf Foundation Internship), God of Carnage and our 10th Anniversary reading of The Laramie Project. He has performed in several reviews with The Second City’s National touring company and was a member of the acting company at the Shaw Festival for five seasons. His directing credits include the issue-based comedy Power Play and a workshop production of the musical Parade at the Shaw Festival. He has been head- or co-writer on several collective creations (Single and Sexy, That Artz Show and The Berlin Show) and his play MacHamlet was presented as part of the Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival.
Marissa Orjala is an interdisciplinary Filipina-Canadian actor, writer, composer, and academic based in Toronto. She is currently an M.A. Candidate at the University of Toronto, working with the Centre for Theatre, Drama, and Performance Studies. Her research areas of interest include Asian-Canadian theatre, Filipinx-Canadian theatre, and radical theatre creation through music and technology. Marissa has been fortunate enough to participate in the actor enhancement training program at Factory Theatre as well as Carlos Bulosan Theatre’s joint HASA Initiative with the Stratford Festival in 2019. She holds certificates from the Royal Conservatory of Music for Operatic Voice and Classical Piano Performance. Marissa is currently creating with the Disconnect(ed) Collective at Carlos Bulosan Theatre, developing a new piece entitled Pedestal Pinays. She has performed in several Toronto-based productions including A (Musical) Midsummer Night’s Dream (Driftwood Theatre), and FEARLESS (fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre). Marissa is thrilled to be with the Education Team and looks forward to inspiring the next generation of theatre creators!
PRESENTED BY Connie Walz
This is an active workshop where I will take teachers through how to effectively teach Primary students to dance. This will involve scaffolding how to teach basic dance skills and lead right into the creative process. Participants will be led through the process themselves so that they know what it feels like to be a dance learner.
You may be particularly intrigued in this workshop if your focus is: Beginning with the Basics
Connie Walz has been a Primary Teacher for around 25 years, specializing in teaching the arts for the last decade. She is also the Arts Consultant at WCDSB. Outside of school, Connie is a dancer, an artist and a musician. She also teaches partner dancing to adults for a non-profit Swing Dance company.
PRESENTED BY Dr. Cathy Miyata (she/her); Beth Hudson (she/her); Dr. Sharmistha Bhadra (she/her)
NOTE: This is a Paper Discussion
As we tentatively nudge into a post-COVID environment, educators and community artists continue to seek meaningful and relevant learning engagements to satisfy the needs of disconnected and fearful children and adolescents. Historically, storytelling has been a means for bringing communities together, developing a sense of self, and healing trauma (Coskie et al., 2010; Lopes, 2019; Lucko, 2020; Montero & Al Zouhouri, 2018; Sobol et al., 2004). Using a qualitative grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2006; Creswell & Clark, 2017; Denzin & Lincoln, 2000), we sought to explore the lived practices of educators and narrative artists who engaged children and adolescents (ages 3-17) in meaningful and purposeful oral storytelling experiences (Matias, 2013; Sobol et. al, 2004) during the global pandemic. Our purpose was to examine if the oral storytelling assisted with the children’s ability to cope academically, emotionally, and socially. Underlying our findings are possible connections to neurological processes. Four prominent themes emerged through the analysis of the surveys and interviews: Cognitive Observations; Mental Health Connections, Social Benefits, and Neuroscientific Insights. We are now discovering the necessity of these oral storytelling engagements is the post pandemic era as well. Developing an awareness of these significant themes can contribute to artists’ and educators’ practices and help them to focus on the re-building of strong communities and positive relationships. In this paper presentation, our research team will share the significant insights, quotes, and strategies from the study. We will make this paper presentation interactive and welcome questions and discussion.
You may be particularly intrigued in this workshop if your focus is: Drama, K-12
Dr. Cathy Miyata is an Assistant Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has also been a practicing professional storyteller for 35 years. Cathy has performed, conducted workshops, and taught courses in storytelling in Sweden, Greece, Mexico, the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Portugal, Serbia, Egypt, Germany, across Canada, and in many Indigenous Communities in the Yukon. Cathy is also an award-winning author and novelist. She teaches Narrative Inquiry and Qualitative Research in the Master of Education Program and Literacy in the Bachelor of Education Program. Furthermore, she has a background in performance and theatre which ensures her participants of an engaging experience.
Beth Hudson is a Principal with the Halton District School Board and recently completed the Master of Education program with Wilfrid Laurier University. Beth has been an educator for 25 years and focuses her professional energy and leadership on developing and sustaining an engaged, spirited and inclusive school community. Beth currently sits on the Executive for both the Halton Elementary Administrator Association and Halton’s local Ontario Principal Council. Beth continues as a lead educator in the areas of literacy and mental health for her school board and actively advocates for the emotional, social and academic success of all students.
Dr. Sharmistha Bhadra is a Master of Education student and Research Assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University. Earlier, she completed her Ph.D. (Engineering) from the Indian Institute of Science. Currently, she is employed as sessional faculty at Conestoga College. Her research interest is focused on the interdisciplinary aspect of health education, emphasizing public health amid pandemics. Sharmistha is also involved in various volunteering activities, like encouraging girls in STEM education (through YWCA). She derives her academic inspiration from Dewey’s (1899) suggestion that education is not preparation for life but is life itself.
PRESENTED BY Sheri Talosi (she/her)
Continuing from her workshop in 2021, Sheri will share more compositional tools she developed while teaching Dance in the Toronto District School Board’s Virtual Secondary School. Her classes focus mainly on the individual creative process using a variety of compositional tools and techniques to create movement. She will actively lead participants through three different compositional experiences (Shape Composition, Poetry Composition, Prepositions of Movement) and talk about creative assignment ideas that have been successful in this virtual world. These techniques can also be used in the non-virtual world, in Drama classes. Come prepared to create and move!
You may be particularly intrigued in this workshop if your focus is: Secondary Dance and Drama
Sheri Talosi hails from Fonthill—a tiny town in the Niagara Region—and has been involved in the Canadian dance world for over thirty years. She came out of her first dance class at age three and told her mom that she was going to be a dance teacher when she grew up.
Sheri shares her passion for the arts as a secondary teacher in the Toronto District School Board teaching creative-based Dance and Drama courses, and sometimes Math. As an ambassador for the arts, she thrives on the creation and delivery of dance and drama education programs. She has facilitated Professional Learning Communities for dance and drama educators, written for curriculum projects through both CODE and the TDSB, and has been a part of the Pulse Dance Conference Executive Committee. Prior to her BEd, Sheri completed her MA, focusing on Dance Education and Feminist Pedagogy, and a BFA in Dance, both from York University.
PRESENTED BY Carmelina Martin (she/her)
The workshop will unpack a new unit/resource recently developed for the Grade 11 Contemporary dance course for CODE. The unit explores and models decolonizing practices in dance education. Using generative and body-led inquiry processes, the workshop will engage in frameworks and strategies that situate bodies in the built environment as well as natural spaces so that participants can interrogate and derive meaning from their positionality. The goals of the workshop are to: explore ideas and concepts relating to what and who influences, informs and governs how they move in a dance class and by extension how they move in the world and interrogate and question those influences and what/who becomes valued in dance.
You may be particularly intrigued in this workshop if your focus is: Secondary Dance
In the last three decades my professional, creative and pedagogical activities have mostly taken place in education contexts. My education activities include working with children, youth, educators and artists from diverse populations and communities. I have presented at provincial, national and international conferences, where I advocate and model innovative pedagogical practices in dance education. I have contributed in various capacities in the development of dance curriculum policy, guidelines and resources for Ontario teachers. I am the founder of Pulse Ontario Dance Conference that hosts a 3-day provincial gathering for dance educators, youth, emerging and established dance artists. My artistic activities include creating, producing and performing for the stage, single channel, 360 degree video and site-based immersive events. My recent activities as an embodied scholar engages in research activities that centralizes the body in research endeavors.
PRESENTED BY Deborah Nyman and Larry Swartz
In the past two years our students have witnessed and experienced "Tough Topics". They have witnessed or experienced the pain and and loss and isolation associated with Covid. They have witnessed or experienced increased examples of anti black racism, anti-semitism, islamophobia in their communities. We need to help our students make sense of this moment. This workshop will provide drama strategies to invite, include and engage all students in the exploration of "tough topics".
These strategies will invite students to bring their stories and experiences into the circle, to give them a voice as they share, explore, communicate, wrestle with and deepen understanding of these challenging topics. These strategies will include role play, storytelling, teacher in role, interacting with text and writing. Through the workshop teachers will experience a model to take back to the classroom to engage students with topics challenging to teach, yet key to building a better understanding of social justice, diversity and equity.
You may be particularly intrigued in this workshop if your focus is: Beginning with the Basics
Debbie Nyman is an arts educator, presenter and author. A long time classroom teacher and instructor at OISE, Debbie works with teachers to develop and implement experiential strategies to deepen and enrich student learning.
Larry Swartz is an instructor at OISE -University of Toronto and a popular international presenter and author. His work centers on using children's books to deepen social justice, diversity, and equity understanding.