Orion Series presents Drew Hayden Taylor

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:

Drew Hayden Taylor

Playwright, novelist, filmmaker, journalist

“Canoeing Down the River of Contemporary Storytelling”

12:30 – 1:30 pm (PST) Thursday, April 1, 2021

 

Free & open to the public via Zoom

Presented by UVic’s Department of Theatre
For more information on this lecture please email: theatre@uvic.ca 

The changing face of Indigenous literature 

Drew Hayden Taylor is an award-winning playwright, novelist, filmmaker and journalist. Born on the Curve Lake First Nation, he has done everything from performing stand-up comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. to serving as Artistic Director for Canada’s premiere Indigenous theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts.

Having written 20 plays with over 100 productions, Drew is currently working on the second season of his APTN documentary series, GOING NATIVE, as well as finishing up two plays, a novel, and a book of essays on Indigenous futurisms.

In his lecture, Drew will talk about the changing face of Indigenous literature, its origins, its trajectory, and his unexpected journey through it.

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.

Free and open to the public  |  Seating is limited (500 Zoom connections) |  Visit our online events calendar at www.uvic.ca/events

Distinguished Alumni Talk: Mercedes Bátiz-Benét on supporting IBPoC voices

When it comes to working in the arts and theatre sectors, IBPoC artists (Indigenous, Black, People of Colour) face a number of barriers due to systemic discrimination—yet IBPoC artists have always created innovative and bold new work.

As Puente Theatre’s artistic director, UVic Distinguished Fine Arts Alumna Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (Writing BFA ’02) has a number of IBPoC initiatives underway—including the conVERGE micro-residency with Intrepid Theatre—that will help address the gap in mentorship and support across the industry and in our own community.

Join us from 12 – 1pm Monday, March 29 via Zoom to discover how Mercedes and Puente Theatre supports and amplifies IBPoC voices and perspectives in this important discussion with professor Adam Con, Acting Associate Dean of UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

Register here for the free Zoom webinar.

 

About Mercedes

A multi-disciplinary artist, writer and award-winning director, Mercedes’ direction of Fado, The Saddest Music in the World earned Puente Theatre the $15,000 JAYMAC Outstanding Production Award at the 2020 Greater Victoria Regional Arts Awards.

Born and raised in Mexico, she moved to Canada in 1997 to attend UVic, where she earned both a BFA in Writing and a BA Honours in Philosophy; she also has a diploma in film production from the Pacific Film & New Media Academy. Approaching expression from as many angles as possible, she has worked as writer, dramaturge, theatre director, translator, adapter, actor, puppeteer, multi-media artist, screenwriter, film and video editor, cinematographer, and director.

In addition to her stage work, Mercedes did camera and cinematography for Look At What The Light Did Nowthe 2012 Juno Award-winning feature-length documentary about singer/songwriter Feist. She is also the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction editor at Bayeux Arts. In 2015, she was named a Distinguished Alumni of UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

Learning from other cultures

“I think it’s paramount for local audiences to learn from other cultures, especially in the multicultural experiment that is Canada. We need to learn from each other so we have a greater and better understanding of what it means to be human,” she said in this 2015 interview.

“Every culture experiences life from a different angle, from a different point of view—and, in my experience, the more points of view you have, the more your understanding expands and deepens. I have a Mexican way of understanding and viewing the world, as well as a Canadian one, which enables me to develop a third point of view—a Mexicanadian one, if you like.”

New IBPoC initiatives

With theatres closed due to COVID, Mercedes has been busy this past year putting the JAYMAC Outstanding Production prize to work in developing various local IBPoC initiatives, including:

  • the conVERGE micro-residency with Intrepid, a mentorship program supporting emerging and early-career IBPoC artists to develop work in 2021
  • changing Puente’s WORKPLAY series into an annual playwriting residency for two emerging IBPoC playwrights (6-8 months of biweekly dramaturgical support, $1,500 per playwright, 40 hours of studio space, staged reading of the plays)
  • launching the Victoria Foundation-funded “Bridging the Gap”, a one-time initiative designed to support female IBPoC playwrights in the creation of new work (8 months of biweekly dramaturgical support, $6,000, a one-week workshop + presentation of their play with professional actors)
  • commissioning three IBPOC artists to create a 5 minute video piece each as part of a national project presented by the National Arts Centre
  • launching a Victoria chapter of The 3.7% Initiative, which was created by the Vancouver theatre company Boca del Lupo for the express purpose of helping women who self-identify as ethnically and culturally diverse, of Indigenous or of mixed-racial heritage find greater success in their performing arts practice.

Don’t miss the chance to hear her speak about the impact these various initiatives will have on Victoria’s arts community.

Susie Winter’s feature film screenplay started as student project

It all started with an empty boat floating on a lake. Screenwriter Susie Winters (BFA ’16) recalls driving alongside the vast expanse of Cameron Lake just east of Port Alberni when the image first drifted into her mind, inspiring what would become the screenplay for her first feature film, All-in Madonna.

Susie Winters (BFA ’16) wrote the initial screenplay for the film All-in Madonna while attending UVic’s Creative Writing program

Finding inspiration

“I feel like it’s a prompt you might find in one of those books 500 Writing Prompts or something. But that’s what came into my head,” Winters says from her home in Edmonton where that day it’s a bone-chilling -25 degrees Celsius.

As is often the case with inspiration, the empty boat on the lake is nowhere to be found in the final draft of Winters’ script, although there is a lake and there is a boat. But that sense of mystery and menace lurks beneath the surface of the story centring on 17-year-old Maddie. The teen attends public school for the first time, where she learns dark secrets about her father and must reconcile herself with the man she thought she knew and the things he may or may not have done. 

Melanie Rose Wilson plays a teenager in a small Vancouver Island town forced to reconcile with her family’s dark past in the feature film All-in Madonna

Facts into fiction

Set in the fictional Vancouver Island town of Blue Lake, the film is as much about small town life as it is navigating the social dynamics of being an outsider despite everyone knowing, or thinking they know, your history.

“I moved around a lot growing up… so I drew from being a teenager going into a new place,” says Winters, who grew up in northern Alberta. “I think it’s so interesting the first friends you make in a new place and how that comes with no context or politics… But what if that’s different when you go to a new place and everyone knows who you are, but you don’t know who anyone else is.”

Winters completed the initial script for her fourth-year screenwriting class at UVic as part of her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. From there she was introduced to director Arnold Lim and producer Ana de Lara. The team received a BravoFact grant (worth $32,500) to create a short film of All-In Madonna, which served as a calling card to secure a $125,000 Telefilm Canada Talent Fund grant and a $25,000 BC Arts Council grant for the feature.

Arnold Lim (centre) directs a scene in the feature film All-in Madonna

Local film, local filmmaking

Lim, who grew up in the small community of Blue River, BC, says he felt an instant connection to Winters’ script. “She really has a strong understanding of people and personality that goes way beyond the surface,” Lim says, adding, “Her understanding of human dialogue, human nature and her understanding of how the structure of a small town works—those were the things that really attracted me to the story.”

The independent film, which was shot in Victoria and around Vancouver Island, has started making the festival circuit, with screenings at the Whistler Film Festival and the Victoria Film Festival. While Winters acknowledges the finished product deviates slightly from the source material—there was a magical- realism element in the original script, new characters were added and others cut—along with the empty boat floating on a lake—she enjoyed watching her script move from page to screen.    

“It’s exciting to see what it gets transformed into,” says Winters, who currently works in the field of public art administration. “What drew me to screenwriting was the collaborative nature. And it was a good challenge to drop the ego a bit knowing there are three different people with a major creative hold on what happens. So I was prepared to let go, and I think what Arnold did was beautiful. It’s a beautiful film.”

—Story contributed by Michael Kissinger (BEd ’94) and originally published on UVic’s Alumni Relations website  

Orion Series presents director & writer Soheil Parsa

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:

Soheil Parsa

Artistic director, Modern Times Stage Company

“Transcending Cultural and
Political Borders in Theatre”

12:30 – 1:30 pm (PST) Thursday, March 18 2021

 

Free & open to the public via Zoom

Presented by UVic’s Department of Theatre
For more information on this lecture please email: theatre@uvic.ca 

Theatre for modern times 

Soheil Parsa is an award-winning director, writer, dramaturg and teacher, whose professional theatre career spans 30 years and two continents. In his native Iran, Soheil completed studies in theatre performance at the University of Tehran. Arriving in Canada with his family in 1984, Soheil completed a second Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies at York University, and then went on to establish Modern Times Stage Company, one of the most innovative theatre companies in Canada.

Soheil’s own work at Modern Times has been recognized with six Dora Mavor Moore Awards and a number of international prizes and master-class requests. In 2007 and 2010, he was shortlisted for the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre. In 2013, Soheil was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contribution as a theatre artist to Canadian society. In 2015, he was named as the best director at the Toronto Theatre Critics awards.   

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.

 

Free and open to the public  |  Seating is limited (500 Zoom connections) |  Visit our online events calendar at www.uvic.ca/events

Zoom into our spring Fine Arts open house on March 9

Already enrolled in UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts for the 2021/22 academic year? Still thinking about it? Either way, bring your questions to our free Fine Arts online open house, running 6-7pm Tuesday, March 9 via Zoom.

Register for the open house here. Registration closes two hours before the event.

School of Music student Lea Fetterman in February 2021 (photo: Dani Neira)

Your future in the arts

At the March 9 open house, you can talk frankly with faculty members from each of our departments, as well as co-op & career and our student advisor, to learn how our programs can help you achieve your creative future. 

From Art History & Visual Studies to Theatre, Visual Arts, Writing and our School of Music, we offer BC’s only dedicated fine arts faculty—which means you’ll be creating and learning in a like-minded community!

Whatever your creative path, UVic’s Fine Arts faculty offers a dynamic community where curiosity, experimentation and exploration are the cornerstones of the learning environment.

Our focus on dynamic, hands-on learning—anchored by state-of-the-art, purpose-built facilities—offers an extraordinary environment for artistic expression and the integration of research and education.

Fine Arts will help you develop the critical thinking and communications skills necessary to navigate and succeed in our rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected society. With us, you’ll make ideas come to life, develop and hone your abilities, all while collaborating with peers from various disciplines. 

Visual Arts student Rudra Manani’s “Get Your Om On” (2020, digital photograph)

Everything connects

As part of our open house, you can also sit in on the sample Zoom lecture “Everything connects: ways of thinking, the Internet and addressing climate change” presented by Art History & Visual Studies professor Victoria Wyatt from 6-7pm Thursday, March 11. An award-winning teacher, Wyatt will discuss how we can’t solve today’s complex problems—such as climate change—using the same way of thinking that allowed them to develop.

Instead, the global challenges we face require us to consider invisible interconnections and complicated relationships, and to understand how everything connects. As an interactive information web, the Internet encourages us to explore the relationships between ideas and to actively engage in navigating those connections.

Discover how the Internet may help our society shift to an “ecosystems” way of thinking emphasizing relationships and interconnections—and how vital this approach is when it comes to addressing the problems the world faces today. You’ll also explore the surprising ways that Fine Arts courses will help you use this type of thinking to benefit yourself, your career and your communities. 

This event will be held on Zoom. Registration closes two hours in advance.

AHVS professor Victoria Wyatt

Victoria Wyatt (UVic Photo Services)

Orion Series presents poet Louise Halfe

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:

Louise Bernice Halfe

Parliamentary Poet Laureate

 

3:30 – 5:00 pm (PST)
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 

Free & open to the public
Register at writingevents@uvic.ca  

Presented by UVic’s Department of Writing
For more information on this lecture please email: writing@uvic.ca 

 

A process of reconciliation 

Louise Bernice Halfe was born in Two Hills, Alberta. Her Cree name is Sky Dancer. She was raised on the Saddle Lake Indian Reserve and attended Blue Quills Residential School. In February 2021, she became Canada’s first Parliamentary Poet Laureate to come from an Indigenous community. “Being selected as the poet for Parliament is, in fact, a process of reconciliation,” Halfe said in an interview on CBC Radio’s The House. “It’s a step forward for sure. There is no doubt about that.”

Earning acclaim 

Halfe’s first published poetry appeared in Writing the Circle: Women of Western Canada and she has since published five collections: 1994’s Bear Bones & Feathers received the Canadian People’s Poet Award and was a finalist for the Spirit of Saskatchewan Award; 1998’s Blue Marrow was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, Pat Lowther Award and Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award. The Crooked Good was published in 2007.

Her most recent collection, Burning in this Midnight Dream (2016) details Halfe’s personal response to the Truth and Reconciliation process, how the experiences of residential school children continue to haunt those who survive and how the effects are passed down for generations. The book won three Saskatchewan Book Awards and the League of Canadian Poets Raymond Souster Award. 

Her latest poetry collection, awâsis – kinky and dishevelled, is forthcoming from Brick Books in April 2021. 

Sharing her teachings

Halfe has served as poet laureate of Saskatchewan, the Elder of the University of Saskatchewan and is widely recognized for weaving Cree language and teachings into her works. A collection of Halfe’s work, Sohkeyihta, containing poems written across the expanse of her career, was published by Wilfrid Laurier Press in 2018.

Halfe has a Bachelor of Social Work, and received a Honorary Degree of Letters from Wilfrid Laurier University. She currently works with Elders in an organization called Opikinawasowin (“raising our children”). Halfe lives outside of Saskatoon with her husband. 

 

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.

Free and open to the public  |  Seating is limited (500 Zoom connections) |  Visit our online events calendar at www.uvic.ca/events