The Department of Communication Arts produces a series of performances each year created by faculty, students, and visiting artists. Performances are open to the public. Please join us!

For media information, contact Janelle Rainville

The Seagull  |  UpStart 20  |  welcome to the tree museum

The Seagull

poster graphic of white seagull on yellow background

Written by: Anton Chekhov

Translated by: Tom Stoppard

Directed by: Matt White

Associate Director: Joanna Cleary

Performances: November 13 - 16, 2019

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Matinees: November 13 & 14 at 12 p.m.

Venue: Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages Building

Tickets: $15 General  / $10 Students & Seniors / $5 eyeGO

Box Office: 519-888-4908 or purchase at the door 

Anton Chekhov’s classic play, The Seagull, is often described as a tragic play about eternally unhappy people. The play centres on Konstantin, an aspiring theatre creator – whose relationship with the love of his life, Nina, his mother Arkadina, and her lover, the famous writer, Trigorin, echoes that of Shakespeare’s tragic Hamlet. While Konstantin doesn’t have a kingdom or a murder to uncover, he has enough ennui to fill several John Hughes films. Tom Stoppard’s translation remains true to Chekhov’s original: Konstantin rails against Arkadina’s generation of theatre-making while Nina eventually leaves him for the famous writer (and Arkadina’s lover) Trigorin. New theatre forms are explored, a bird is shot, and Nina endures.

Chekhov insisted the play is a comedy and Director Matt White wants to bring out the comedic, almost absurdist, elements of the script by amplifying the absurdity of a world where the grown-ups act largely like children and the next generation grows up having to find their own way. The emotional grounding of our production is found in Nina. As she explains in her final speech, “she is the seagull” – as in the bird Konstantin shot and gave to her as a present years before.

While this speech can often reveal a tragic character falling apart, Matt hopes this will be a fortifying speech enabling Nina to show audiences and Konstantin that she is going to be fine. That while her life did not end up how she envisioned, she will survive and not end up as Hamlet’s love, Ophelia, did -  drowned by an unfair world.  This is resiliency.

UpStart 20

poster graphic for UpStart performances

The Upstart Festival is a juried student performance festival produced by the Theatre and Performance program in the Theatre of the Arts.  We welcome applications from students in any program as well as from Alumni. Performance projects must be original and may take any form including but not limited to theatre, performance art, film, installations, and augmented reality experiences.  Time-based projects are limited to 40 minutes in length. 

Successful student applicants will earn one (1) or two (2) DRAMA course credits (0.5 or 1.0 course units) for their participation in the festival. 

Successful Alumni applicants will give their script over to the program to produce.  Ongoing involvement is not required.  If you wish to continue with the script as writer, that must be negotiated with the program.

Please note that the Jury will give current students proposals priority above Alumni submissions.

Application Process

Students are invited to apply as individuals or in groups.  Group applications should clearly indicate the role of each member in the project.

Applications are due Friday, September 27 before 5 p.m.  to Janelle Rainville:

The results of the application process will be announced on October 25.

Download Submission information

Download Application form

welcome to the tree museum

construction paper cut outs of a family eating a picnic surrounded by lumberjacks cuting down trees

Written by: Robert Plowman

Directed & Devised by: Andy Houston

Associate Director: Brooke Barnes

Performances: March 18 - 23, 2019

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Matinees: March 20 & 22 at 12 p.m.

Venue: Hagey Hall Studio 180

Tickets: $12 General  / $8 Students & Seniors / $5 eyeGO

Box Office: 519-888-4908 or purchase at the door 

But… what happens then? When all the trees are gone?

welcome to the tree museum is a multimedia performance, featuring a lumberjack choir, set in a world (much like our own) that is racing towards ecological disaster.  The always-exceptional Brash children – Hazy, Queenie, Thunder and Toot - grew up knowing they were the generation that would save the world. In fact, the first time Hazy saved the world she was 13 — and that was the start of all her misfortunes. Years later, when the siblings are brought together by a wedding and illness, they are forced to confront the impending death of the woodland where they spent their childhood. How do we mend the severed connection to family and the environment?

Written by Robert Plowman, welcome to the tree museum was developed in part from a research and creation process undertaken by UWaterloo students last winter. In this process, students learned the meaning of ecology, and their agency in relation to this concept, through performance techniques and extensive research of the subject. The play addresses the disregard humanity holds toward the well-being of our environment, further asking of its audience to revive its once thriving relationship with nature, reintroducing us to our once childlike approach of wonder to the great outdoors.

Can we fall in love with nature, again? Andy Houston, director and professor at UWaterloo, believes we can. Working in collaboration with his design team, several of whom are alumni of the program: Brooke Barnes (student associate director), Kaylee Lock O’Connor (Installation Design), Paul Cegys (video design), Chelsea Vanoverbeke (lighting design), Colin Labadie (music composition, sound design), and Sharon E. Secord (costume design).

With an engagement space open 30 minutes before the performance begins, audience members are given an opportunity to immerse themselves into the world of the performance. Talkbacks with the cast, director, and dramaturgy team, are offered post-production to open the floor to questions and comments from the audience about the performance, as well as the pressing problem of ecological crisis explored in the play.

Please join the Theatre and Performance program in exploring a problem that is getting harder to ignore. Seating is limited.  Purchase tickets from our box-office or online in advance to not miss this world premiere.

Box office

Hagey Hall 161
Tel 519 888-4908
Hours: Monday - Friday, Noon - 5pm

Detailed box office information

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