Experiential Learning at Bishop’s University Drama

Theatre doesn’t only happen in the rehearsal room and on the stage. Among the many experiential learning opportunities, we are proud to offer:

Festival Coordinator

Once a year, the Drama Department organizes a student led festival new plays – an exciting multiday event that attracts students and faculty from across the university as well members of the Lennoxville community. Each festival is managed by a team of two to three coordinators.  By being a theatre festival coordinator, not only will you learn a number of management skills, such as scheduling, communication with participating artists, promotion and advertising techniques but also, get a full course credit for the work.

Assistantship in the Costume Shop and/or Set Workshop

The Costume Shop and the Set Workshop are hub bubs of hands-on creativity: designers are coming and going, shop staff are building costumes, reserving and decorating existing costumes and making crafts, constructing sets, and creating accessories of all kinds. Anything from, 12-foot-high creatures, giant Bugbears, to Early Modern attire can be envisioned and created at the professional and largest in the Eastern Townships costume shop. Everyone is sewing, building claws and fingernails and learning to work with wood, metal, fabrics, leather and fur.

Students participate in every aspect of this creativity. We have two Independent study students in DRA 365 who are working on projects in the shop and their own projects. Also, we have a Tomlinson Grant student who works in the shop for an hourly wage, five hours per week. Along with this we have numerous students putting in hours learning about technical theater as part of their Production classes, and a number of people who come in and volunteer. 

It is Experiential Learning at its finest!

Publicity and Community Outreach

The Drama Centre produces a season of 4-6 productions a year including a large scale Broadway style musical. By being part of the Publicity and Community Outreach team, students get an hands-on experience of creating publicity materials for various target audiences, reaching out to schools, CEGEPs and community organizations to promote ticket sales, organizing the pre-show guided visits to the theatre facilities of the university, and arranging post-show talkbacks and other audience engagement events.

Professional Internships and Summer Work Opportunities

The region of L’Estrie is home to a number of professional theatre companies, most of which are located in at the Centre des arts de la scène Jean Besré (CASJB), located in downtown Sherbrooke, only 10 min away from Bishop’s campus by public transit. CASJB is the largest professional space for performing artist to develop their work in the region. The Drama Department is working with CASJB on developing various opportunies for experiential learning and professionalization. For instance, in 2022 a number of students received a professional contract opportunity working with the company Les Productions Traces et Souvenances located at CASJB.

Production and Direction

Almost every year, a number of students get an opportunity to produce and direct a short play, which is the best hands-on experience of creating theatre from scratch that one can receive. The play can be presented in one of the performance venues of the Drama Department or anywhere else on campus, including outdoor spaces. Everything depends on your creativity. The process is supervised by faculty members and presented to a larger public.

(Do we have a picture of an outside production? Or something inspirational that might want to encourage student to create in non-traditional spaces?)

Theatre Researcher: from Shakespeare to Computer Games

One of the most interesting opportunities offered at the Drama Centre is to get a paid assistant in faculty-led research in theatre studies or applied theatre. You might end up exploring motion tracking or voice acting for new computer games, searching for a rare Shakespeare manuscript or conducting audience survey after an experimental musical. You never know what kind of fun research can happen at the Drama Department!

For instance, In 2022, Bishop’s drama, music and psychology students participated in an experiential learning endeavour with TALKING MATTERS, an arts-based Knowledge mobilization project that benefits adult seniors with mild cognitive disorders. TALKING MATTERS provided Bishop’s students opportunities to work as professional actors, designers, technicians and stage managers in a play that was performed twice on campus and in a regional senior citizen’s residence. 

And much more!

Are you seeing yourself in one of these fantastic hands-on learning experiences? Speak to any one of your profs or the dean to find out more!