It’s always refreshing to see young people take matters into their own hands when they’re not happy with the way they’re represented. The fact of the matter is that if you don’t like something, the easiest thing to do is fix it, and that’s exactly what the Brock University theatre club All the King’s Men has done. The executive staff, comprised in part of Ian Beaumont, Kristen Smyth, and Sydney Francolini, realized in their first year at Brock that it was difficult for first-year students to get involved in theatre. They wanted to create something that was fun and accessible for all university students. In only their second year at Brock, they have created a professional theatre company that’s easier for everyone to be a part of.
“I remember what we had problems with as first year students,” said Beaumont, “so we wanted to create a company where more people had the chance to come out and be a part of it.” Their upcoming performance will be a shortlist festival where two one-act plays are performed. The first is Daniel MacIvor’s Never Swim Alone, directed by Francolini, and the second is Damien Trasler’s The Red Balloon, directed by Beaumont. Beaumont’s performance is a very different piece with no strong plot which he describes it as more of a psychological play. Francolini says her play is about two men who have repressed a childhood trauma. It deals with the hegemonic male experience and how people cope with tragedy.
“We’re not exclusive to any particular genre,” said Beaumont. “We stick to what interests us and a lot of times that’s something that’s a little more obscure.
Having only become an official club within the last year, the executives note that they’ve changed quite a bit in that amount of time.
“At first we were really trying to build from the ground up and do everything organically,” said Francolini. “We shifted from that to become much more of a professional theatre company.” It was due to this major shift in thinking that the club decided not to put on any performances last year, leaving the anticipation for their upcoming shows that much greater. Aside from the performances in November and again in the spring, All the King’s Men also run an education team that goes around to various elementary schools to teach students about theatre.
Smyth is the co-head of the education team and says that their goal with providing education is to provide good theatre to everyone. Depending on what the school wants, they will do improv-based workshops or more structured theatre workshops. This contributes to the company’s goal of remaining as inclusive as possible and hopefully sparking interest in theatre at a younger level.
“We think it’s so important to provide young people with these opportunities because even though we were in Dramatic Arts, we didn’t really have the same experience,” said Smyth. For anyone still interested in becoming a member of the club or wish to help, the company is currently looking for stage hands and ushers to help with their November shows.
Their first performance is fast approaching, taking place On Nov. 14 at 7:00 p.m. and Nov. 15 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the Brock University Studio Theatre 107. Tickets can be purchased on kingsmentc.com. For more information visit them on Facebook.