Rich theatre possibilities on & off campus

Last year’s fall major, Volpone, showcased student talent.
Last year’s fall major, Volpone, showcased student talent.
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Student work is center stage at Vogt.
Student work is center stage at Vogt.
Photo: 

Theatre Guide

Whether you are a performer, dramaturge, backstage hand, or a lover of anything dramatic, you are certainly in for a treat this coming school year. Queen’s University and Kingston are rich in community and semi-professional theatre, with a splash of alternative and progressive theatre that captivates and enlightens participants and audiences alike.

To a student at Queen’s—especially in their first year—our beautiful campus can seem like a bubble: a fully self-sufficient community causing no need cross the campus border. If you are looking for a way to break the monotony of campus life, becoming involved in a theatrical production or simply watching some of the several shows produced on and off campus is a good way to escape the bubble.

Each year the Queen’s Drama Department produces a fall and winter major production. These shows are headed up by the professors and staff in the department, but the performing and technical aspects of the productions are completed by students. This year, Queen’s is welcoming professional director and Queen’s alum Daryl Cloran for the production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters. Cloran is heavily involved in Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company and received the premier Toronto Theatre Emerging Artist Award in recognition of his work as the founder and artistic director of the Theatrefront Company. Following the production of Chekhov’s classic play, the winter term offers Variations on x and why we float (or why love and acting go together) created and directed by professor Michelle Newman. The drama department also boasts the Vogt Studio Series. Presented four times throughout the year, these mini-festivals showcase entirely student talent. The plays are primarily written by students and are staffed completely by student directors, actors and theatre technicians.

Queen’s is also well known for their student-run companies. Queen’s Musical Theatre (QMT) is a Kingston tradition with a yearly blockbuster show at the Grand Theatre. Because of this year’s renovations at the century-old theatre, QMT will find a new home for their production of the award-winning musical and Broadway smash hit Urinetown. Queen’s Student Opera (QSO) is proudly the only totally student-run opera company in Canada, and they offer a professional-style full opera each January. If you prefer a “straight play” to a musical, watch out for other student and community companies like Staged and Confused, Single Thread Theatre, Theatre 5, Domino Theatre, Theatre Kingston (semi-professional and headed up by Queen’s Craig Walker), and many others. In another stream, companies such as Kingston Improv, the Barefoot Players and the newly-formed Kid’s-Play! Musical Theatre offer classes and workshops to children and encourage the growth of young theatre performers and audiences.

So as all of us busy students begin to plan our impossible schedules for the year, keep in mind the wonderful world of theatre. Whether you come out to shows once a term or devote your life to the theatre like many of us do, the Kingston theatre scene is sure to fill some of those voids in the long, cold, Kingston nights.

If you are interested in watching or participating in any of the productions this year, check out the drama department website—queensu.ca/drama—the call-board in the basement of Theological Hall, or the AMS website’s clubs link. As always, the show must go on!

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Jennifer Goodine is a ConEd student and is actively involved in the drama department. Team A&E is thrilled to have her aboard!

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