Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award

In the interest of supporting and advancing the field of Drama in Education, YPT is excited to announce the Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award. This $10,000 prize has been made possible through a generous donation by The Slaight Family Foundation, which led to the establishment of The Ada Slaight Education Centre at YPT, celebrating Mrs. Slaight’s inspiring commitment to young artists and audiences.

The Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award was initially awarded in YPT’s 2016/17 Season to Rachel Rhoades, a Ph.D. Candidate studying at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Rhoades used the award to engage youth participants in Toronto and Boston  in Youth Artists for Justice, applying theatre creation techniques to respond to the question, “What do you wish you had more influence over in society?”

In 2017/18, the prize has been awarded to Dennis Gupa, a Ph.D. Candidate studying Sea Rituals, Climate Change and Applied Theatre (see more info below) at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. He will use it to craft a performance that will involve artists from the Philippines and Canada, as well as Indigenous elders and their seacoast communities, who together will build an ecological framework to understand the relationships between human beings, the ocean and the earth. In this study, Gupa aims to respond to this question specifically: To what extent can applied theatre as an art facilitate the articulation of indigenous ways of knowing about ecological sustainability and climate change?

YPT will begin seeking applications for the 2018/19 edition of the Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award in the spring of 2018. The successful candidate will be pursuing graduate research work with a specific focus on Theatre for Young Audiences in the following fields: Drama in Education, Applied Theatre, Theatre and Performance Studies or Acting, Directing or Playwriting (MFA). Exceptional Masters candidate applications will be considered but preference will be given to PhD level applicants.

Please forward any questions about the Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award to:

Karen Gilodo
Associate Artistic Director, Education
kgilodo@youngpeoplestheatre.ca.

high school students perform piece on climate refugees
In the Philippines, Cope/with/Land Theatre Co. and The ASEAN Center for Biodiversity collaborated with high school science students to devise a performance on stories about climate refugees.

Sea Rituals, Climate Change and Applied Theatre Research
By Dennis Gupa

I was a first year MFA Directing student at the University of British Columbia when super typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines in 2013. As the typhoon’s rage decimated an entire city, leaving the whole Visayan region traumatized due to the magnitude of its destruction, I began to re-think my own work as a diasporic artist. I was homesick and removed from the suffering of my country. Then I met a Filipina scholar in Vancouver who worked directly from the grounds of the destruction. Her stories moved me. I realized that pursuing doctoral work in applied theatre focused on this subject would be a necessary step not only for me to understand the effects of climate change on my home country, but also to make a contribution toward global climate justice.

The title of my doctoral project is, Sea Rituals, Climate Change and Applied Theatre: Indigenous Elders’ Perspectives on Traditional and Sustainable Ecology. In this study, I am curious about examining the links between indigenous epistemology, climate justice and performance. I am interested specifically in this question: “To what extent can applied theatre as an art facilitate articulating indigenous ways of knowing on ecological sustainability and climate change?” In this study, I aim to craft a performance that will involve artists from the Philippines and Canada, as well as Indigenous elders and their seacoast communities, who together will build an ecological framework to understand the relationships between human beings, the ocean and the earth.

About Dennis Gupa

Dennis GupaThe storms that emanated from the oceans of the Pacific are the current metaphor and image that form Dennis’s academic inquiry and creative exploration on climate change, environmental destruction and indigenous ways of knowing. As a theatre director, his theatrical works investigate human-ocean relationship, the onslaught of modernity to indigenous culture, and the history of human struggles and oppression to post-colonial societies. These theatrical projects are contemporary renditions of Western dramatic texts of Aristophanes, Euripides, August Strindberg, Frank Wedekind, John Millington Synge and George Orwell as well as works of Filipino writers like Jose Rizal and Aurelio Tolentino. He rendered his theatre works with contemporary use of multimedia and intercultural aesthetics, which were performed in The Philippines, USA, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia. He received his MA Theatre degree from University of the Philippines under the guidance of Josefina Estrella, Anton Juan, Tony Mabesa, Jina Umali, Belen Calingacion and Apo Chua. In 2015, he finished his MFA Directing (Theatre) from University of British Columbia where he presented his thesis The Bacchae 2.1 by Charles Mee through the mentorship of Stephen Malloy. During his time at UBC he also worked with Stephen Heatley and Tom Scholte. He studied seni tari (traditional mask dance) at Sekolah Tenggi Seni Indonesia as a Dharmasiswa scholar of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Government of Indonesia and for his final creative project he was mentored by Mas Rachman Sabur. For ten years, he served as an assistant professor of theatre arts at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He was a theatre grantee of Asian Cultural Council in 2011 where he worked and observed contemporary theatre works in New York City for six months and was director in residence for Ma-Yi Theatre Co. The Performance Studies international (PSi) awarded him the 2016 Dwight Conqueergood Award. Currently he is a PhD Candidate at the University of Victoria’s applied theatre program. Dennis is a Vanier scholar.