On September 30, Riverside Secondary School’s drama department, went on two separate field trips. Half of the students went to Gastown in Vancouver and saw the Simon Fraser University School of Contemporary Arts. The other half went on a tour of the festival of immersive arts; a festival of new media digitized theatre and other innovations.
Mrs. Roberge, Riversides drama teacher, is a colleague and friend of Steven Hill, who runs the acting department at the SFU School of Contemporary Arts. Hill had suggested to Roberge to bring the students to see the school. The students toured around the school with Hill, who helped them understand that S.F.U is very keen on creating their own art as it either multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary art. The students realized that at this school they don’t just study theatre, but they study a broad range of subjects. Jacques Grimbeek, a grade 12 acting student said, “The trip really opened my eyes to how intriguing the drama department truly is. I feel as a performer that the SFU School of Contemporary Arts would help me find my full potential; as an actor it would expose me to fields of art that I would have never thought of learning.” Milton Lim, a 24 year old SFU graduate and a former Riverside student, helped Hill on the tour. Lim has become very successful and has even opened his own theatre company called Hong Kong Exile. At first Lim, didn’t know that Riverside would be visiting S.F.U, and as a former student of Riverside he was very happy to see them. The students reminded Lim of his teenage self as he sees them pursuing a similar career choice as him in the near future, which was very humbling.
The other half of the class went to the Festival of Immersive Arts tour by Suzan Bertoya, a recognized physical theatre artist around Vancouver. This half had a very different experience compared to the other. At the festival, the students saw completely brand new art techniques using digital devices, Ms. Roberge said “This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity as the students there were able to see technology that no one in the world has seen before which I find is really important as technology is the wave of the future”. After the festival, the class went to the York Theatre in East Vancouver, and saw a brand new musical created and developed by Vancouver theatre makers called Best Laid Plans about Canadian Politics. “The students were worried the musical would be boring due to its subject, but it had a bit of everything and was executed beautifully,” said Ms. Roberge. The play was cutting, thoughtful, hilarious and it was the perfect thing in a federal election year.
Drama is a great way to express yourself and get a message across. This is shown a lot in several plays and musicals. Currently musical theatre is becoming big in Canadian theatre history because musical theatre is so popular and palatable, and lately musical theatre has been the deliverer for getting some very strong messages across. Riversides musical theatre class has been able to produce plays that were able to get some very important messages across like the very memorable and notable play “In the Heights”.