A troupe of Brock University students is putting their dramatic arts talents to work this summer.Tottering Biped Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – on now at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton – features a number of familiar Brock faces.The production, held at the newly opened David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden, has been three years in the making. Director and Brock drama instructor Todd Copp says his goal is to offer local opportunities to recent theatre grads.“We’ve noticed the difficulty emerging artists have here in getting off the ground and we lose artistic talent to Toronto and further cities every year as a result,” he says on the production’s Facebook page. “In casting this piece, we searched this area’s post secondary theatre programs for the most talented senior students/recent graduates – and offered them paid theatre work. It’s unprecedented in our area.”The production links young actors with more experienced ones, teaching the next generation of actors that they don’t need to move away to pursue their passion.A number of recent and current Brock drama students are involved on the stage and behind the scenes including Sean McClelland, Sean Rintoul, Caitlin Popek, Nicole James and Dana Morin.Nicole James, who is pursuing her BA in dramatic arts with a concentration in production and design, is the production’s stage manager and embraces the challenge of managing a nine-person cast. She works with assistant stage manager and fellow Brock student, Dana Morin.James credits Carolyn Mackenzie’s stage management course for giving her the skills she needs for the job.“I have the privilege to work professionally in the theatre,” she says. “It’s so obvious that the instructors at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Dramatic Arts department actually care and are invested in the education of every single student.”Copp was an instructor with Brock’s Dramatic Arts program in 2016 and is the artistic director of Burlington’s Tottering Biped Theatre. Founded in 2009, the company is inspired by social justice. They have toured regionally and internationally.“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” runs August 10-14 and 17-21 at RBG Rock Garden 1185 York Blvd, Hamilton. Performances start at 7 p.m.; tickets are available at http://tickets.rbg.ca/PEO/default.asp.
The union’s Vice President for Welfare Denise McCarthy said that the USI wanted to ensure that “students’ health is at the forefront of any campaigns we run/support… we are not best served doing that in partnership with Drinkaware”.A booklet produced by USI and drinkaware.ie. (Image Credit: drinkaware.ie)Reacting to the USI statement, CEO of MEAS and drinkaware.ie Fionnuala Sheehan said her organisation “does not encourage anyone to drink”.“Indeed it advises there are circumstances where people should not drink alcohol,” she continued, “but we seek to address the realities of alcohol in Irish society as they have developed over time.”Research into the drinkaware.ie brand has shown that 85 per cent of over-18s are aware of the organisation, and that 90 per cent of people believe the brand should be used more widely, she noted.Read the full letter from the USI to MEAS here >Read: Why are people saying ‘Down with Arthur’s Day’? Encouraging students to drink responsibly is still an encouragement for students to drink- regardless of how it’s qualified. THE UNION OF Students in Ireland (USI) is to distance itself from drinkaware.ie, an organisation which promotes responsible drinking.The national students’ union had worked in partnership with the organisation, which is part of MEAS, to promote the responsible consumption of alcohol among students.However, they will now seek to develop an independent campaign while working with “other bodies not funded by a self-regulating drinks industry”.The proposal to the end the partnership was passed without objection at USI National Council earlier this month.In a statement, USI President Joe O’Connor said drinkaware.ie’s support for the Arthur’s Day festival raised concerns within the union regarding the body’s “credibility”.