Category Archives: Arts

Ridley Theatre presents ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’

ChalkCirclePoster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This past weekend, Ridley Theatre presented The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht. The show included a diverse ensemble of 31 students from nine different countries, who showcased their talents as they acted, sang, and danced to re-tell the ancient Chinese parable of the chalk circle.

DSC_5713  DSC_5641

Writing in the 1930s and 1940s, Brecht developed Epic Theatre, which aimed to illuminate social disease and critique sources of global conflict. Brecht believed that, “art is not a mirror with which to reflect reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” This production adopted Brechtian techniques of staging; for example, song was used to propel the narrative forward, characters were played by multiple actors, and stock gestures, known as gestus, were used to clarify character. Moments of suspense and tension were broken by comedy or das spass. In Brecht’s true form, these techniques allowed the actors to become story-tellers instead of re-livers of the character’s experiences, alienating audiences, and allowing them to think critically about the play’s big questions, while being entertained.

Over the past four months, our student actors trained tirelessly to develop proficiency in Brecht’s techniques. They also worked extensively with Kaeja d’Dance to use movement to illustrate moments within the chalk circle story. The students’ focus and dedication resulted in a performance that was captivating, yet thought-provoking.

DSC_5682

Although the curtain has closed, the skills fortified from day one of rehearsals will remain with the students as they go on to explore the world of theatre and beyond.

Ridley Theatre would like to thank the members of the Ridley community who came out to see the show! It is with great pleasure that we announce that a total of $733.00 was donated by our theatre patrons, all of which will be put toward the Ridley College Team Syria fund: a resource that will be used to sponsor a Syrian refugee family to live in Niagara. We would also like to thank our patrons for their non-perishable food donations for Community Care.

– Ms. Gillian Fournier, Department of English and Dramatic Arts

For a limited time, you can watch the recorded performance on TigerNet Live!

Student design competition produces the newest Ridley accessory

For more than 125 years, Ridleians have displayed their love for our school by wearing items with official embroidered insignia. Whether for music, arts, academics or even the Houses of Ridley (that many come to call ‘home’), a number of motifs have been designed and sported over the years to honour these facets of our school’s culture.

In the fall of 2015, Board of Governors member, Mr. David Carter ‘88, decided that the Board should also sport a custom necktie and scarf of its own. Ridley’s Board of Governors, made up of 14 dedicated members, who ensure that our school continues to grow and flourish, has become an invaluable addition to the Ridley community and thus, were well deserving of this dedicated accessory.

misc_130955
The 2015-2016 Board of Governors

Mr. David Carter requested that a tie and scarf be designed by a current student and that the ultimate pattern only be recognizable and understood by Ridleians. The top three students competed for a chance to make history – with the winning design being made into a tie and a scarf to be worn by the members of the Board– and were also vying for a monetary prize.

This was not only an opportunity for the Board to collaborate with the students, but also a chance for the students to express their creativity. A process such as this one required research, traditional art skills, the use of computer design software and of course, a connection to Ridley and the community.

Fifty students submitted their drawings that symbolically represented life at Ridley College. Of those 50 designs, three were chosen as finalists by Mr. David Carter along with Board Chair, Ms. Georgina Black and Headmaster, Ed Kidd. The designers of these three patterns were brought on stage during assembly to be recognized in front of their peers by Headmaster Kidd.

As each design was projected onto the big screen in the Mandeville Theatre, it was clear that each member of the audience felt a connection to the images and that these three judges had selected designs that truly evoked a sense of pride.

DSC_2615

In third place was Sarah Wang ‘18, with her design depicting the Marriott Gates, an iconic landmark of Ridley College. Sarah explained, “I wanted to draw something that would represent Ridley in the most simple way. The gate may not be the most obvious structure that shows the Ridley campus, but a gate indirectly suggests direction for the future and the welcoming nature of Ridley.”

In second place was Paddy Yang ‘18, with his design depicting a roaring tiger. Paddy says, “You can see the tiger was howling. It shows our bravery. I would like to say thank you to my teacher, Mr. Campbell, I couldn’t have done this without him. He helped me a lot and during the process he gave me many useful suggestions.”

The winner of the Board of Governors insignia design competition was Callum Campbell ‘18. His tie and scarf design depicted the archway that leads into Upper School, “because these gates are so iconic to Ridley, I wanted to do them justice.” – Callum Campbell

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 4.23.14 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-25 at 4.23.24 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 4.22.56 PM

Callum’s winning design will be used on the Board of Governors tie and scarf, being produced in September of 2016. Congratulations to all the participants, with special congratulations to our top three designers.

The Ridley String Fling

Last week, on February 18th and 19th, over 50 string students from Ridley College and other local schools gathered together for The Ridley String Fling. This was a day of workshops lead by professional string musicians: Brian Baty on double bass, from the Niagara Symphony Orchestra (NSO), and members of the Penderecki String Quartet (PSQ) – the resident quartet at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University.

24818293240_6a8e8d7873_z

35 students from Ridley and 20 guest students participated in three workshop sessions on Thursday. String students began the day at 10:00a.m. in rehearsal rooms around the campus, divided according their instrument: violin, viola, cello and double bass. After lunch, The Student String Quartet made up of Petrina Mo, Ryan Craig (both from Ridley), Logan Imans (Laura Secord) and Jeremy Tang (Wheatley School) rehearsed the Haydn String Quartet No. 6 in Eb major with Jerzy Kaplanek and Christine Vlajk of the Penderecki Quartet. Back in the Memorial Chapel the majority of String Fling participants rehearsed in full orchestra on four pieces, under the direction of Mr. Hutton and Mr. Vernon, with expert advice from Jeremy Bell, Katie Schlaikjer (PSQ) and Brian Baty (NSO). Many of the student participants had never performed in a large string orchestra such as this, so the experience was enlightening. The sound of the group was quite loud and resonant in the remarkable acoustics of the Memorial Chapel.

24992099102_69bea8f49b_z  24483427643_864053a861_z

On Friday, Lower School students in grades 5 – 8 had the privilege of attending an outreach concert put on by the Niagara Youth Orchestra at Partridge Hall in the new downtown Performing Arts Centre. In the evening, the String Fling participants met again in the Memorial Chapel to perform in concert with the Penderecki String Quartet. The Chapel was packed with performers and supporters. Six years ago, Ridley held a similar string event, which included about 25 participants. This year’s event highlights the growth that has occurred in music and string playing at Ridley. Students are finding more ways to flourish in their artistic pursuits.

– Mr. Scott Vernon, Visual and Performing Arts Subject Coordinator and Lower School Music Teacher

Students elevate to new heights in preparation of winter production

Ridley has always been dedicated to opening as many doors for the students as possible. Faculty members design their courses to offer students the chance to experience in practical ways. Whether it be trips to an art museum, cultural experiences or workshops, our students grow both inside the classroom and out. The Drama Department is no exception.

In preparation for their upcoming winter production, drama teachers and directors of the winter production, Ms. Gillian Fournier and Ms. Anna Blagona, reached out to one of Toronto’s best dance companies, Kaeja d’Dance – a company known for its dance education programs. Kaeja d’Dance was brought in to train the cast, teach them improvisational and movement techniques and to choreograph particular scenes of the play. Mere moments into their introduction to Kaeja, the students were captivated by the technique and style of dance.

During their first workshop students began with an exercise in dance expression. They were asked to remain in constant motion as they travelled around the space, pausing only briefly as they connected with another dancer in the room. Allen Kaeja, co-founder of Kaeja d’Dance, then introduced the students to “elevations”, a movement technique that was developed by him and his wife. Students began to learn and practice anchor positions, which allow them to safely lift their partners into the air, regardless of height, weight or strength. Students ended their first workshop, feeling confident with the basics and excited to learn more.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 9.48.27 AM

The cast met in the Mandeville Theatre for the second afternoon workshop. After their warm-up, Allen and one of the Kaeja dancers, Meredith, demonstrated one of the lifts that the students will be utilizing in their performance. It didn’t take long for the students to anchor and lift their partners into the air. Allen enthusiastically moved from partner to partner, ensuring that they were supporting one another properly, and receiving the praise and motivation that would instill confidence in their every move.

IMG_9754 IMG_9744

The cast is looking forward to pushing their boundaries as performers and taking risks to fully commit to Brechtian techniques.. To see the cast of The Caucasian Chalk Circle demonstrate their newly acquired elevation skills and shine on stage, be sure to come to one of their performances. The dramatic production is running March 3rd – 5th in the Mandeville Theatre.

 

Ridley’s thespians shine bright at Michigan’s largest theatre festival

During the first weekend of December, Ridley’s theatre troupe travelled to Saginaw Valley University to compete in the Michigan Thespians Festival. As Michigan’s largest theatre event, students had the opportunity to attend workshops, compete in individual events, attend shows and socialize with other students, who share a passion for the dramatic arts.

As honorary state members, Ridleians joined students from all over Michigan in the qualifying round, which would earn them a ticket to the National Thespians Festival in the spring of 2016. All of our students who performed in individual events received excellent standing or higher. This is impressive, as they were adjudicated alongside students from art schools and students who have professional theatre experience.

A major highlight of the festival was the awards ceremony in Saginaw’s Temple Theatre, wherein Cassandra Mitchell and Monica Morcous performed their scene from the opening act of Ridley’s fall play, The Burial at Thebes, for an audience of 1,900 people.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 4.35.34 PM

Our troupe members were also awarded the following standings at the awards ceremony:

Padraic Odesse – Excellent (monologues from The Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Burial at Thebes)

Irys-Amelie Nadeau – Superior (monologues from Henry VIII and The Burial at Thebes)

Cassandra Mitchell and Monica Morcous – Superior (scene from The Burial at Thebes)

Cameron Reeves and Jesse Wydman – Superior (scene from The Burial at Thebes)

Each student with a superior standing has qualified to compete at the National Thespians Festival at the University of Nebraska in the spring.

Congratulations to all the Ridleians who represented our school with pride and passion this weekend.

– Ms. Gillian Fournier, Department of English and Dramatic Arts

Lights, camera, action! Ridley’s Film Crew releases “Piece of Mind”

Sometimes two heads are not better than one.

During the school assembly on November 26th, the Film Club will dim the lights in the Mandeville Theatre and present, this year’s dark humour film, Piece of Mind; the story of a regular boy, living his routine life, when one day the mundane is disrupted and everything changes. He soon finds himself at war with everything around him.

4ef36d_9f4075eb957e4750986119f426206e82

Members of the Film Club, better known as the “Film Crew”, have spent the last two months bringing this film from inception through to completion – from developing the film’s concept, writing the script, filming the scenes, and finally producing the final edit.

Check out the Film Crew’s website to view the Piece of Mind teaser and trailer and to get a glimpse into the making of this short film.

The Film Club is in it’s fifth year at Ridley College. What began as merely an interest group, has evolved into an official sport alternative programme. This club provides media arts enthusiasts with a creative outlet that they may not have otherwise had within the classroom setting. This club has been especially enticing for our International Baccalaureate (IB) students, who have contributed to the short film as a component of their IB programme.

Ms. Danielle Barranca, from the Visual and Performing Arts department encourages the students to work together and overcome the challenges that often accompany the development of a film. With first-hand experience working in the film industry, she has proven to be a great resource and a great motivator for the Film Crew.

“Every year we get to premiere our film to the whole school during Assembly. It’s our big moment, our playoff game, our time where we can show off the talents that we have learned throughout the term.”

– Danielle Barranca, Visual and Performing Arts

Here’s a little sneak peak at Piece of Mind. We look forward to seeing the motion picture when it hits the big screen in Mandeville Theatre next week.

Art Toronto Inspires Our Young Artists

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.48.43 AM

On Friday, October 23rd, the senior Visual Art students visited Art Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This event is Canada’s largest exhibition of contemporary visual art. For the past 16 years, this event has drawn art dealers from Canadian and International galleries to exhibit some of their best pieces. It offers a chance for galleries to make connections to collectors or cultural institutions; but for students, it offers a glimpse into the world of contemporary art.

“The primary point of the visit was to allow students the opportunity to see first-hand artworks by professional practicing artists working in an enormous array of styles and media.”

– Mr. Duane Nickerson, Department of Visual and Performing Arts

With wall-to-wall art and 62 gallery exhibits, every student was able to discover an artist or style that spoke to them.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.49.13 AM  Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.47.59 AM

This year, our Ridleians dove into the experience. As they made their way through the exhibition, our captivated students asked questions about the art market and the work that surrounded them. The art dealers and agents were happy to share their knowledge and passion with the students.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.47.50 AM

It was apparent that the exhibit had an obvious and positive impact on our receptive young Ridleians. These students will be able to take their experience and the inspiration they absorbed from Art Toronto and carry it with them as they explore visual arts in the coming terms here at Ridley College. With access to a wide array of brushes, paints, canvases and more, these students will be able to channel their new favourite artists and their creativity into every project they complete.