Photo Credit: Changbok Ko via Unsplash

The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) in collaboration with Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) will be hosting a series of online events as part of the Walker Cultural Leaders (WCL) Series.


Beginning in 2011, the academic programs of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts have celebrated the legacy of Walker by hosting the WCL Series. The ongoing WCL program facilitates invitations to recognized cultural leaders, researchers, visiting artists, scholars, professionals and others to contribute to the intellectual and creative life of the school and Niagara Region at-large.


In addition to improving the creative, scholarly and teaching cultures of the school, emphasis is put on developing knowledge and familiarity of the Marilyn I. Walker school in the arts and culture sector of Niagara.


The event, titled Theatre in the era of climate crisis: a weekend of performances and discussion of the intersections between climate change, performing arts and activism, will take place starting on Friday, February 12 and will run until Sunday, Feb. 14. This part of the series will be hosted by DART Professors David Fancy and Karen Fricker and is a continuation of the events presented in November of last year.


“Following the success of our first round of collaborative events with the PAC last fall, we are looking forward to this continued focus on the relationship between performance and climate crisis,” said Fricker.


The second part of the series includes three commissioned performances meant to facilitate a conversation about the climate crisis; a live-streamed sharing by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Santee Smith of the company’s new work in development called Skén:nen and a panel discussion entitled Honouring Balance in Times of Crisis and Change: Strength in Indigenous Women’s Perspectives. Those participating in the panel discussion include local artists Audra Maloney, Diane Simon and Santee Smith.


“We are enthusiastic about the intersections between the Indigenous women’s panel, responses to the climate crisis and the moves towards Indigenization and decolonization at Brock,” said Fancy.


As part of the Walker Cultural Leaders Series in 2020, Brock commissioned 10 regional theatre artists to create short online presentations exploring the climate crisis in relation to any area of their interest. In this part of the series, commissioned artists explored a multitude of themes in relation to climate change including capitalism, consumerism, mental health and more. Excerpts of these works will be shown in the upcoming continuation of the series.


“Between the commissioned performances from local artists, nearly all of whom are DART graduates, as well as the focus on Indigenous women’s perspectives and creativity, this is going to be a memorable weekend,” said Fricker.


Annie Wilson, PAC’s programming supervisor, is confident that this year’s continuation of the lecture series will do much to advance the discussion around the global climate crisis and the necessary steps to take towards recovery.


“Renowned Indigenous scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer recently said, ‘People cannot see the world as a gift unless someone shows them how.’ Throughout history, artists have often been beacons to new ways of being,” said Wilson. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to continue our collaboration with Brock DART to share emerging and established artistic works that centralize the climate crisis and imagine new ways forward.”


Brock DART is continually seeking feedback from students and members of the local community to inform future events and other programming. Contributors are encouraged to engage with the department through their website.


Interested individuals who desire to access the digital events being hosted by Brock DART and FirstOntario PAC are able to do so on Facebook and YouTube until Feb. 28. Brock DART’s Facebook page can be found by clicking here, while FirstOntario PAC’s Youtube channel can be found here. Brock DART’s website is