A play by a University of Guelph professor that draws the audience into the lives of people with Down syndrome opens tonight in Toronto. Judith Thompson’s docudrama Rare will be at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts until Feb. 7.
The play features nine cast members aged 22 to 37, all with Down syndrome. They vary from experienced to novice actors.
Rare was the biggest hit at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival last summer, and was the "Best of Fringe" winner.
Written and directed by Thompson, the play has received rave reviews and was featured recently in the Toronto Star . It's the first of a series of plays Thompson is creating on the issue of people living with disabilities.
The play’s assistant director and associate producer is Nicholas Hutcheson, a U of G alumnus, and the music was composed and is performed by another Guelph graduate, Victoria Carr. Several students and graduates in U of G theatre studies also worked on the production.
A respected playwright, director, screenwriter, actor and producer, Thompson writes complex and sometimes disturbing plays that give voice to human failings and accomplishments.
A faculty member in U of G’s School of English and Theatre Studies since 1992, Thompson won the 2009 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. In 2008, she was the first Canadian to win the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She has been nominated twice for a Genie Award and for the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, was a finalist for the inaugural Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and won the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award.
In 2011, Thompson, a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, was featured in a CBC Radio series called “Winter Tales” for the 75th anniversary of the Governor General’s Awards and the CBC.
She was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for outstanding contributions in arts and writing in 2005.
She was also the subject of a book, The Masks of Judith Thompson, by U of G theatre studies professor Ric Knowles. Published by Playwrights Canada Press, the book contains articles and interviews offering insight into Thompson’s plays and her life as a playwright and professor.
Prof. Bruce McAdams, Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM), was on the popular CBC radio program Q this morning, taking part in a live debate on tipping and the effect on the hospitality industry. He discussed the issue with host Jian Gomeshi and Steve Dublanica, the author of Waiter Rant and Keep The Change, who participated from a studio in New York City.
The debate aired live in Atlantic Canada and was broadcast at 10:30 a.m. in Guelph. Q, a national daily talk program on CBC Radio One and CBC-TV, airs on CBC Radio One weekdays at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Since it launched in 2007, Q has become the highest-rated show in its morning time slot in CBC history.
McAdams studied how gratuities affect restaurant operations as part of a larger project on issues affecting restaurant sustainability. Some of his preliminary findings were released last summer in a discussion paper called “The Tipping Point: Is There a Fair Share?”
He worked in the hospitality industry for close to 30 years before coming to Guelph in 2009. Prior to joining the U of G faculty, he was vice-president of operations with Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants. He is also founder and co-chair of the Ontario Hostelry Institute’s “Top 30 Under 30” recognition program and believes in mentoring and recognizing students who aspire to be industry leaders. A two-time Guelph graduate; he earned an undergraduate degree in hotel and food administration in 1989 and a master’s degree in leadership studies in 2009.
Prof. Andrew McAdam, Integrative Biology, was featured in the Toronto Star Sunday as part of the ongoing series, Wild in the City. In the article, McAdam spoke on the differences between red squirrels and grey squirrels, and how the grey squirrels come to be more prominent in Toronto parks.
He went on to say that the squirrels will be eating food that they have stored up through the fall. When that food supply ends, the red squirrels will eat "fungus, berries, buds and sometimes even insects or sap from trees or even animal material (songbird eggs, young birds or even young mammals).”
McAdam is an evolutionary ecologist interested in the ecological mechanisms of short-term evolutionary change in natural populations. Research in my lab investigates the biotic and abiotic factors influencing the strength and mode of selection and genetic and environmental constraints on adaptation. These include interactions between closely associated species, the effects of food and climate on adaptation, as well as the unique role that human activities play as a contemporary evolutionary force.
The search for a new dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS) will be delayed for one year, Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president (academic), announced today. The search will begin after the college completes the Prioritization and Planning Process (PPP).
Prof. Kerry Daly's term as CSAHS dean will end July 1. Prof. John Smithers, chair of the Department of Geography, will serve as interim dean for one year beginning in July. Geography professor Alice Hovorka will be acting department chair during Smithers's secondment.
“We determined it was not optimal to start the search for a new dean while in the middle of the PPP,” Mancuso says.
“I am grateful to John for agreeing to help us during this time of transition and for working with faculty and staff to complete the college’s review.”
The PPP is part of the assessment component of the University’s Integrated Plan. The review of all academic and non-academic programs and services is intended to identify and focus on U of G’s strengths and to direct the University's limited resources to mission-critical services and programs.
A U of G professor since 1995, Smithers was named department chair in 2009. He studies rural change and sustainability, including local and alternative food systems. Earlier, he worked with conservation authorities and the provincial government and in environmental consulting.