Finding a sense of community and connection has proven itself to be challenging during the pandemic, but this year’s Drama Studies Society (DSS) aims to bring students together through their shared love of theatre.
The goals of the DSS are simple and important: introducing Mount Allison students to the drama studies program, hosting social events and creating a safe, inclusive and joyful space for the thespians on campus. This year, this enthusiasm is needed more than ever.
“In a world where the arts really helps so many of us to get through rough times including the uncertainty of COVID-19, being able to connect with other people with even just a spark of interest in theatre and putting the world to the side for a moment focusing just on the theatre atmosphere is such an important thing that the DSS and the theatre program help to bring to students,” said vice-president Molly Stott.
The small-yet-mighty executive team on the DSS consists of a wide range of academic years, majors, specialties and theatre experience. The executive includes the president, (third-year drama studies student Hannah Lucas) vice president, (fifth-year English student Molly Stott) social chair, (third-year Drama Studies student Faith Higgins) communications coordinator, (fourth-year drama studies student Georgia Forsyth) and treasurer (third-year drama studies student Nathan Smith)
Joining them is the newly-appointed first year representative, arts student Quinn WayLaing, who fell in love with the program as soon as she stepped onto the stage.
“From the moment I walked into the Purdy Crawford center, I knew it was a special place,” said WayLaing. “I look forward to becoming more involved in the program and meeting new students with a passion for the arts like myself.”
Although in-person performances have come to a temporary halt, the DSS is aiming to host as many in-person events as possible. They have hosted two events since the beginning of the semester: a virtual social night via Zoom and a socially-distanced viewing of cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, inside of the Motyer-Fancy Theatre. Both events have drawn quite the crowd (or as big of a crowd as you can have amidst a pandemic), but there is a common theme within these new audiences— they have not seen many new faces. The first event they hosted brought alumni from across Canada (including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario) to catch up, relax, and play online games. There was a surprising twist within the event, though; the games were not played, and instead, the conversation of inside jokes and fond memories went at least forty-five minutes longer than scheduled. This was not a social event, this was a family reunion.
Although the crowds have been plentiful (or, as plentiful as they can be during a pandemic) the DSS, and the Drama Studies program in general, are always looking for new members to learn about the craft and participate in shows. This year, one of their goals is to reach out to new students to help them join the community and become involved with the loveable craft of theatre,whether it’s their field of study or their favorite hobby.
“The DSS and the theatre itself is a really welcoming space for even those of us who have never taken a Drama Studies course,” said Stott.
The DSS aims to host at least one more event within the fall semester, and will have more to come in the winter semester. Any (and all!) members of the Mount Allison community are welcome to attend. Although the future of theatre is a bit uncertain at the moment, one thing about it will never change— the strength and perseverance of the people within it.