On Friday, January 27, 2017, two buses full of Fanshawe College Theatre Arts students will travel from downtown London to the Old Town Hall in Waterford, Ontario, to attend a performance of the play Elle. This unique learning experience will provide 60 students the opportunity to witness an innovative piece of Canadian theatre, as well as meet and ask questions of playwright and performer Severn Thompson before and after the show.
Elle tells the story of a headstrong girl, Marguerite de Roberval, who is abandoned on an island off the coast of Labrador in 1592 during France's ill-fated third attempt to colonize Canada. The play is a production of Theatre Passe Muraille, a leading new-works theatre in Toronto. Debuting to excellent reviews in 2016, the production will make stops this year in Vancouver and Winnipeg for extended runs. Staging the play in Waterford is significant: Elle originated as a novel by Douglas Glover, who grew up in the town of approximately 3,200, and the book won the prestigious Governor General's Award for Fiction in 1992.
Bringing the play to Waterford has been a labour of love for Claire Senko, Artistic Producer at the Old Town Hall.
"Over the years, we have become more confident in our ability to deliver compelling, complex productions to our audiences," Senko comments. "This is a wonderful opportunity for students to see how professional theatre can be delivered in rural Ontario. We are very much looking forward to welcoming Fanshawe students to see Elle on January 27th!"
For Fanshawe, the occasion marks a special opportunity to connect different campus communities.
"Our Theatre Arts program has become deeply rooted in downtown London at the Centre for Digital and Performance Arts," notes program coordinator Karen Harley. "At the same time, our students come from across southwestern Ontario and beyond, and we have a vibrant Fanshawe campus in Norfolk County. We are excited to bring all our first- and second-year Theatre Arts students to meet the playwright, Severn Thompson, and to see a great example of leading-edge Canadian theatre on stage in Waterford."
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