Orion Series presents filmmaker Ali Kazimi

The Orion
Lecture Series in Fine Arts

Through the generous support of the Orion Fund in Fine Arts, the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria, is pleased to present:

Ali Kazimi

Documentary filmmaker

“Documentarian as Witness: The Making of Beyond Extinction

10:30am-noon, Thursday, May 30

Online only via Zoom  Free & open to all

(Meeting ID: 839 7959 0560. Password: 119640)

Presented by UVic’s Department of Art History & Visual Studies

For more information on this lecture please email: arthistory@uvic.ca

About Ali Kazimi

A professor of cinema and media arts at Ontario’s York University, Ali Kazimi is a filmmaker, writer and visual artist whose work deals with race, social justice, migration, history, memory and archive. He was presented with the Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Visual and Media Arts in 2019, as well as a Doctor of Letters honoris causa from UBC. In 2023 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

“My body of work reflects a commitment to storytelling that addresses social issues, cultural complexities, and historical injustices, aiming to provoke thought, inspire change, and foster understanding within diverse communities,” he says.

Kazimi has interwoven themes of place and belonging through many of his works—including Beyond Extinction (2022), which traces three decades of action by the Indigenous matriarchs of the Autonomous Sinixt for recognition of their existence and their claim to their ancestral territories and is an important document of BC history.

About the Orion Fund

Established through the generous gift of an anonymous donor, the Orion Fund in Fine Arts is designed to bring distinguished visitors from other parts of Canada—and the world—to the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and to make their talents and achievements available to faculty, students, staff and the wider Greater Victoria community who might otherwise not be able to experience their work.

The Orion Fund also exists to encourage institutions outside Canada to invite regular faculty members from our Faculty of Fine Arts to be visiting  artists/scholars at their institutions; and to make it possible for Fine Arts faculty members to travel outside Canada to participate in the academic life of foreign institutions and establish connections and relationships with them in order to encourage and foster future exchanges.

Visit our online events calendar at www.events.uvic.ca

Phoenix Theatre launches new season

im:print 2024 

October 3–12, 2024

A special presentation with the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria featuring a creative team of diverse artists and facilitators. im:print 2024 is a diverse performance that skillfully weaves together the personal stories of Indigenous, settler, immigrant and refugee artists. Using spoken word, dance and song, the production delves into the complex web of our connections to place, people and belonging. It boldly challenges prevailing beliefs and sheds light on the real-life impacts of equity, diversity, inclusion, and identity politics.

This project, which spans across cultures and generations, is a community-based effort designed to be a vital creative outlet. These stories centre around themes like place and displacement, belonging and longing, and connection and disconnection, showcasing the diverse voices within our community. 

Art can be a powerful way of healing, raising awareness, and having conversations around difficult subjects. 
—ICA

 

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

November 7-23, 2024

Winner of the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Book of a Musical (Rachel Sheinkin), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee takes audiences on a hilarious and heartwarming journey into the competitive world of spelling bees.

Set in a small town, the story follows an eclectic group of six adolescents as they vie for the coveted title of spelling champion. These quirky characters spell their way through a series of challenging (and possibly made-up) words, hoping to avoid the dreaded “ding” of elimination. Along the way, they share touching and wildly funny stories from their home lives. Thanks to catchy tunes by William Finn (Falsettoland) plus unexpected twists and even some audience participation, this fast-paced gem is a riotous ride that has charmed audiences worldwide.

Guest directed by Jaques Lemay, the musical mastermind behind our previous production of The Drowsy Chaperone.

The Killing Game

February 13–22, 2025

Theatre professor Conrad Alexandrowicz (The Waste Land, Comic Potential) offers this absurdist comedy that transcends the ordinary. Step into the surreal world of Eugène Ionesco’s The Killing Game, a captivating play that immerses audiences in the tale of a town facing a deadly plague. As the body count rises, accusations fly, tensions rise, and the line between reality and absurdity is blurred. Death spares no one, regardless of wealth, age, innocence, or guilt, turning the community into a chaotic mix of paranoia, hypocrisy, and opportunism.

One of Ionesco’s final plays, The Killing Game is filled with humour despite its dark subject matter, and reveals how social connections can become fragile when confronted with an existential threat. With razor-sharp wit and keen satire, Ionesco skillfully allows the audience to engage while maintaining a sense of detachment through laughter.

The human drama is as absurd as it is painful.
—Eugène Ionesco.

 

Twelfth Night


March 13-22, 2025

In the magical realm of Shakespeare’s Illyria, director and Theatre professor Fran Gebhard (Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Problem Child) offers a fresh interpretation of the timeless comedy Twelfth Night. Shipwrecked and separated from her twin brother Sebastian, Viola disguises herself as a young man to serve Duke Orsino. What follows is a whirlwind of romantic entanglements, mischievous pranks, mistaken identity and hilarious misunderstandings.

Gebhard’s vision transports the audience to a future era, post-climate change, where traditional gender roles blur. Amidst wit, humour, and poetic language, the play explores love’s transformative power and the delightful chaos of reality and illusion.

If music be the food of love, play on. 
— William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

After a strong 23/24 season that saw the majority of performances play to sold-out audiences, the Department of Theatre‘s 24/25 mainstage season promises an equally exciting year to come—from community impact stories and a Tony-winning musical to an absurdist comedy and a much-loved classic! 

Orion Series presents Randi Edmundson & Shizuka Kai

The Orion
Lecture Series in Fine Arts

Through the generous support of the Orion Fund in Fine Arts, the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria, is pleased to present:

Randi Edmundson

& Shizuka Kai 

 

Visiting artists & puppeteers, offering a pair of public workshops:

 

  • “That Elusive Life: Searching for ‘Canadian’ Puppetry” 

    9:30-10:30am Wed, March 20

     

  • “The Making of Otosan: Snapshots of a Japanese-Canadian Puppet Show”:

    9-10am Thur, March 21

UVic’s Roger Bishop Theatre (Phoenix Building)

 Free & open to all

Presented by UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts

For more information on this lecture please email: theatre@uvic.ca

About Randi Edmundson

Driven by curiosity, UVic alumna Randi Edmundson wears many hats in the world of theatre, including producing, directing, performance, and design. Her passion for puppetry has taken her across the country and the globe, including recent research with Papermoon Puppet Theatre in Indonesia.

She has a background in devising new works for a wide range of audiences and has worked as a puppeteer and puppet creator with Chemainus Theatre Festival, Neworld Theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre, the Canadian Academy of Mask and Puppetry, the National Arts Centre, Lunchbox Theatre, and Western Canada Theatre. She has studied under puppet thinkers Peter Balkwill, David Lane, Ronnie Burkett, Mervyn Millar, Clea Minaker, Jeny Cassady, and Ingrid Hansen.

With her Jessie Richardson Award-winning company Little Onion Puppet Co., Randi has toured several original puppet works across Western Canada. She holds a BFA in Performance from UVic and an MFA in Directing from the University of Calgary.

Randi is grateful to create as a freelance artist and as Interim Artistic Producer of Carousel Theatre for Young People on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territory in Vancouver and as the Artistic Producer of Project X Theatre in unceded Secwepeme territory in Kamloops.

About Shizuka Kai

Shizuka is a multidisciplinary artist who has been working professionally in puppetry and set design for over 12 years. She also delves in TV/film puppetry, extends her design into illustration and graphics, and is  emerging in directing. Shiz is a five-time Jessie Richardson Award winner with multiple nominations; an Ovation Award winner; the recipient of the Earl Klein Memorial Scholarship and Steven B Jung Award; and a graduate of Studio 58.

She has trained with many incredible artists such as Wendy Gorling, Jeny Cassady, Peter Balkwill, Clea Minaker, Juanita Dawn, and the folks at Marionetas de la Esquina. Recent puppetry credits in theatre: Division Infinity Saves the World! (Neworld), Le merveilleux voyage d’Ines de l’Ouest (Théâtre la Seizième), and Yellow Objects (rice & beans). Recent TV/Film: London Drugs – To Do Hissss (Rethink), FortisBC – Energy is Awesome (Media Button), and Lost Ollie (Netflix). Next up for Shiz: Otosan (Little Onion Puppet Co), a table-top puppet show based on her childhood growing up with a wildlife cinematographer father.

She is also currently working as a set design instructor and (newly appointed) production program coordinator at Vancouver’s Studio 58.

 

About the Orion Fund

Established through the generous gift of an anonymous donor, the Orion Fund in Fine Arts is designed to bring distinguished visitors from other parts of Canada—and the world—to the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and to make their talents and achievements available to faculty, students, staff and the wider Greater Victoria community who might otherwise not be able to experience their work.

The Orion Fund also exists to encourage institutions outside Canada to invite regular faculty members from our Faculty of Fine Arts to be visiting  artists/scholars at their institutions; and to make it possible for Fine Arts faculty members to travel outside Canada to participate in the academic life of foreign institutions and establish connections and relationships with them in order to encourage and foster future exchanges.

Visit our online events calendar at www.events.uvic.ca

Comics as a path to resistance

Kwakwaka’wakw author, artist & activist Gord Hill is the 2024 Lehan Lecturer with UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts. His free public talk ran on Thursday, March 7 in room A110 of UVic’s Turpin building. You can watch his talk in this video: 

An artist, author, political activist & member of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation, Hill is the author of The 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance Comic Book, The Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book and The Antifa Comic Book and has been involved in Indigenous peoples’ and anti-globalization movements since 1990.

The annual Lehan Family Activism & the Arts Lecture Series features a distinguished guest presenting ideas on how the arts are a catalyst for change in advancing the understanding and goals of various social justice topics.

And that’s certainly how it worked for Gord Hill, who combined a passion for social justice with his artistic interests to create an accessible learning tool rooted in his own cultural traditions.

“The arts have always been a highly respected craft on the West Coast,” he explains. “Artists were tasked with recreating ancestors in a graphic form — like carvings and paintings in the big houses — so in our culture, there’s a lot of visual reaffirmation of our ancestors in everyday life. For me as an artist, graphic novels are a way of maintaining our history and making it accessible to people.”

From comics to ’zines

Like many of us, Hill says he read comics as a kid — mostly Marvel, but also surprisingly Conan (“I actually thought he was like a native, because he was a nomadic Sumerian warrior with long black hair who was always engaging with different people”) — but it was his teenage involvement in political social movements and the ‘zine culture of the ’90s that really sparked his interest in becoming a comic artist and author himself.

“As an artist, I always wanted to draw comics . . . but I’m not really into making up fictional characters and developing their background and all that,” he explains. “So when I was working with the native youth movement in the late ’90s, I decided I was going to try doing some historical comics — because the story is already kind of written, right? I just had to reinterpret it for a graphic format.”

Given his own activity, some of Hill’s early work focused on crises of the day. “I found that even with our most recent acts of resistance — like the 1990 Oka crisis — there wasn’t really that much information out there, as this was before the Internet was really widespread. So one of the first comics I did was an eight-page comic about Oka, and then I did one about the 1995 Ts’Peten [Gustafsen Lake] standoff in the interior of BC.”

Learning from history

Before long he had created a number of these short educational comics, and a friend suggested doing a larger work looking at 500 years of Indigenous resistance — which, an assist from friend and Art History & Visual Studies professor Alan Antliff, was then published by Vancouver’s Arsenal Pulp Press.

Three books later, Hill’s work is just as relevant today as when he started. “Graphic novels are really accessible, especially today in our era of memes and videos on Facebook and TikTok,” he says.

He also feels historically-based comic books can be a great teaching tool.

“History can help you understand your present situation: you can learn from what resistance movements have done in the past and apply that to today,” he says.

“Historically, we’re taught that Indigenous peoples were just helpless victims while European colonizers conquered the land and committed genocide. But if you actually look into it, there’s a really strong history of resistance — there are areas where it took Europeans centuries to conquer Indigenous peoples — and I think that’s really inspiring.”

“Resistance movements can inspire and empower us, show us that we’re not helpless victims,” he continues. “It can contribute to a fighting spirit to know the oppressor isn’t omnipotent, that they have actually suffered defeat. I hope my work contributes to resistance movements today, so they’re able to learn from the history of resistance, which is an important part of maintaining a culture of resistance.”

NEW DATE & TIME: Due to a weather-related incident, we have now rescheduled this talk. All are welcome to hear Gord Hill’s free public talk as the 2024 Lehan Family Activism & the Arts guest lecturer, from 5-6:30pm Thursday, March 7, in room A110 of UVic’s Turpin building

100 Years of Broadway takes centre stage

For their second mainstage show of the 2023/24 season, UVic’s Phoenix Theatre offers an epic journey through the most iconic and beloved musicals of our time as 100 Years of Broadway dances into the spotlight. Whether you’re a seasoned theatregoer or new to the magic of the stage, 100 Years of Broadway promises an experience that will leave you with a song in your heart.

Created by noted arranger and composer Mac Huff, this revue seamlessly weaves together medleys and full-song performances, capturing the essence of each era and showcasing the evolution of musical theatre — so expect delightful nuggets of history and fun facts to spice up this musical adventure.

Light the lights

It all begins in the early 20th century at the historic hotspot Tin Pan Alley, the epicentre of American musical genius. Imagine a bustling hive where songwriters, composers and publishers wove the very fabric of popular music with unforgettable music and timeless melodies by the likes of Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers — timeless creators who etched their names into the musical legacy that gave rise to today’s Broadway productions.

From there, you’ll be transported to the golden era of the ’50s and ’60s with iconic scores from Cabaret, Guys and Dolls, Hello Dolly! and Oliver. Then it’s a quick fast-forward through the groundbreaking ’70s and ’80s and the works of modern titans Andrew Lloyd Webber (Phantom of The Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, CATS) and Stephen Sondheim (A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Company). After that, we shift into the contemporary, with the likes of Wicked, Something Rotten, Waitress, Come From Away, Rent and The Last Five Years, among many others. 100 Years of Broadway celebrates the past, present and lasting joy that only Broadway can deliver.

A night of nights

It’s all directed by guest director and Phoenix alum Pia Wyatt, who received her master’s degree in directing from UVic in 1994. A professional educator, director and choreographer who has worked throughout the country and internationally, she now shares her talents as a professor of theatre and dance, and head of directing and performance at Louisiana’s Northwestern State University.

“I look forward to breathing new life into each theatrical production, helping create a masterpiece that entices the hearts and minds of the audience,” says Wyatt. “Theatre and dance provide freedom of expression and the power to communicate, to educate and to entertain — this outreach is what makes it exciting for me to create theatre.”

Indeed, Wyatt’s students and graduates are currently performing on Broadway, cruise lines, regional theatres and amusement parks worldwide. Under her direction and featuring an all-student design team, 100 Years of Broadway speaks to the legacy of the Phoenix theatre program — which continues to nurture top talent who contribute to the cultural landscape at home and abroad.

Alumni director Pia Wyatt

Building the student-designed set for 100 Years of Broadway

On with the show

The stage is set and the legacy of more than a century of beautiful music awaits you with 100 Years of Broadway. Inspiring, entertaining and uniquely able to connect people across generations, 100 Years of Broadway offers a night that will leave you singing and dancing long after the curtain falls.

Don’t miss this unforgettable evening as we celebrate Broadway’s extraordinary legacy! Book your tickets now, as they are already going fast!

100 Years of Broadway runs February 14-17 & 20-24, with 2pm matinees on Feb 17 & 24. Tickets are $11-$32, by phone at 250-721-8000 or in-person at the Phoenix Theatre box office.

There will also be a public pre-show lecture with Department of Theatre chair and Broadway historian Tony Vickery at 7pm Friday, February 16.

 

Join the Fine Arts e-news

Did you know that we offer over 150 events a year here in UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts? From concerts, exhibits and plays to readings, artist talks, guest lectures, film screenings and more, all our events are open to the public — and many are free!

But how can you find out about what we’re offering? It’s simple! Just sign up for our monthly Coming Up in Fine Arts email and we’ll keep you in the loop. (And it is just an easily-skimmed email — no pics or ads included.)

Usually sent out on the first of each month, Coming up in Fine Arts offers quick summaries of upcoming event highlights in Art History, Theatre, Visual Arts, Writing and the School of Music — complete with dates, times, locations and relevant links. (Sometimes we’ll send out two CUFAs a month, depending how much activity is going on.) We also include a short media roundup, as well as news about student and alumni activity too.

Don’t miss out on what may well be your favourite event of the year—join the hundreds of other who are already know what’s Coming Up in Fine Arts.

But if you’re looking for something more specific, we also offer separate e-news mailings for both Theatre (Backstage Pass) and the School of Music (E-Pulse).