The Intersections of Research, Ethnodrama and Nutrition Education

(Publication pending, International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP, December 2015 Supplementary issue, Part 2)

Writing “Who Cares?” a preview ethnodrama about caregiving, feeding family, love and survival

Cheryl L. McLean M.A., Harrison McCain Visiting Scholar, Acadia University July – Sept. 2015

In November 2014 at The Power of the Arts National Conference in Ottawa, Dr. Catherine Morley, Assistant Professor in The School of Nutrition and Dietetics at Acadia University, approached me about writing an ethnodrama based on research about feeding aging family members.  Catherine Morley engages in research to raise awareness about the causes, prevention and management of malnutrition in aging Canadians and those living with dementia or changed health status.  In her research she hopes to reduce caregiver burden and the frequency and duration of hospitalization and institutionalization of older persons.

I had several reasons for agreeing to participate in the project.  Over the last ten years I have sought  to advance the creative arts in interdisciplinary research and practice while building a knowledge base supporting and informing professionals about the research and varied methodologies and how we work creatively across disciplines to offer hope for change and improve quality of life for individuals and communities.  I publish  The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice and had recently completed a third book, Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (McLean, 2014)  published by Brush Education, a text for medical educators, practitioners, students and others in the allied health professions to help demonstrate how the arts and research contribute toward a more caring and empathic approach to medicine.  In the years previous I had several opportunities to address audiences and work with students at Acadia and I had hoped to continue my working relationship with this leading Canadian liberal arts university.  I presented a keynote for the Arts Based Research Network, Acadia, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, A Pond of Interdisciplinary Opportunity, followed the next year by the course Problems in Education Research in Creativity (MEd Curriculum Studies) and a keynote for the Acadia School of Education Summer Institute,  Navigating the Tides of Challenge and Change through the Creative Arts in Education and Research.

I too had special interests in aging and health and I believed it was critical to address quality of life issues for caregivers and older persons. During my graduate research at Concordia University, Montreal  I worked as a therapist with an “over sixty”  mental health programme and had written and performed in the ethnodrama, Remember me for Birds, about aging, mental health and autonomy.  This script was based on two years of therapeutic work and research with older clients, including Holocaust survivors, and was performed across Canada for health organizations and universities, among them McGill Medical School.

I had previous experience in Canada advocating for creative arts in interdisciplinary practice in the field of dietetics and supporting progressive dietitians and educators who used the creative arts in their practices. The book Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change (McLean/Kelly, 2010) presented  a broad spectrum of examples of creative arts in research and practice. Two articles, Creative New Directions in Dietetics by Catherine Morley and Mapping Resiliency Building Bridges Toward Change an Experiential Arts-based Narrative Inquiry with Dietetics Professionals by Jacqui Gingras, Assistant Professor at the School of Nutrition at Ryerson University, and Jennifer Atkins a dietitian at Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services, presented varied arts based approaches in practice.  Later that year at the Dietitians of Canada National Conference in Montreal,  I presented with a panel about the creative arts across disciplines and implications for dietetics practice and performed a brief ethnodramatic monologue which shared a client’s memory around eating with family (his brother) and his current lived experience at the resident home.  During the break-out sessions I facilitated a well attended workshop using creative arts and drama methods with a group of dietitians drawing on the powerful image of the kitchen as a significant place to access meaningful connections through visualization and memory.  Participants wrote narratives based on this embodied and preparatory exercise which they performed for group witness and reflection.

About ethnodrama

Ethnodrama is a research based art form, a type of qualitative playwriting or performed research. Johnny Saldaña, Professor of Theatre at Arizona State University School of Theatre and Film, a leader in North America in this emerging genre, has described ethnotheatre as a form which “employs the traditional craft and artistic techniques of theatre to mount for an audience a live or mediated performance event of research participants’ experiences. The ethnodrama itself is the written play script consisting of dramatized significant selections of narrative which may be derived from interview transcripts, participant observation, field notes, journal entries, personal memories….” (Saldaña, 2011 pg. 13). Dr. Norman K. Denzin, one of the world’s most distinguished authorities on qualitative research writes, “Performance becomes public pedagogy when it uses the aesthetic, the performative, to foreground the intersections of politics, institutional sites and embodied experience.” (Denzin, 2003 pg. 9). Such “dramas” are unique in that they are an embodied way of performing research while artistically provoking change, presenting issues and, at the same time, questioning the status quo through story.

The process

For the script “Who Cares?”  content was very close to verbatim whether drawn from interview transcripts, video provided or from newspaper articles, journals or emails.  But moving from collected data or transcripts to a performed story or play requires a delicate and selective creative process.  Saldana writes  “Everyday life can be quite mundane, but it is also peppered with occasional moments of excitement, tension and conflict….one of the goals of an ethnodramatist is to take the actual words of a participant and adapt them into an economic form that has aesthetic shape. ” (Saldana, 2011 pgs. 69 -70) The most challenging job for the ethnodramatist as playwright is to sensitively work with and through data and lived experience seeking themes, metaphor and turning points, shaping the essential message, crafting a factual but emotional telling that is far beyond the practical goal to inform or transfer knowledge but rather to move an audience and ultimately inspire change.

Autobiographical poetry and original song lyrics were also included in this script inspired and based on personal narratives and end-of-life or food related lived experience. For the conclusion of the ethnodrama preview, Who Cares?  I wrote and performed, for example, an autobiographical poem/story written based on my own personal experience with my mother-in-law at the end of her life in hospital.

Two Eggs Soft Boiled

I wish she could have joined us for breakfast today, but it’s too late now,

too late to have visited her more often than I did,

too late for more meat pies, Syrian bread, fatias, Kibi

with pine nuts made especially for me,

made with love in her kitchen in the small house in Espanola

so small could barely fit a table.

I remember my mother-in-law, Frances, in her hospital room

nearly time for brain surgery,

neuroblastoma cancerous, another tumour, about the size of a walnut.

She was 87 years old.

I am standing next to Frances

they are preparing her gurney,

the one that will wheel her down the hall

in a very short time,

up to the elevator that will take her to the operating room.

I don’t know what to say.

I know she always loved her food

as much as she enjoyed sharing it with us.

Afraid for her now

and afraid for me,

it’s her third cancer operation,

a warrior

double mastectomy at thirty-two,

two small children at home

two breasts removed

months of radiation and surgery

battled a reoccurrence, bowel cancer

and now this, this, brain cancer.

“You’ll be back for breakfast tomorrow morning,” I say.

“Yeah?” She turns to look at me. “What will we be having?”

“Eggs and toast with wild blueberry jam, the good jam.”

“Yes the good jam,” she smiles.

“Eggs how do you want them?” I ask.

“Boiled, make them boiled.”

“White or brown toast?” I ask.

She looks up at me.

“Brown.”

The attendants crank up the bed, ready to transfer her to the gurney.

“Keep talking, oh keep talking, don’t stop. It’s helping,” she says.

“Oh the toast,” I say, “it’s good with butter and lots of jam, lots not just a little

and the eggs, we don’t want to overcook them.”

They are lifting her body and moving her now on to the gurney,

lying there, they are wheeling her toward the elevator.

I am standing outside the hospital room

turned toward the elevator, one last look, good bye.

The elevator doors open and they wheel her in and before I turn to go…

she leans forward, raises her hand, puts up two fingers and calls out

“Remember two eggs…soft boiled.”

Two eggs soft boiled.

Egg, symbol of nurturing, rebirth, hope

and resurrection.

This her last thought she might return

to join us for breakfast in the morning.

It will never be too late

to remember her,

the meaning of her life

the love food provides.

To give thanks here at this table

for the gifts she gave,

her loving generous presence

and these two eggs, soft boiled.

C.L. McLean excerpt from the script “Who Cares” 2015.

 

The script (40 pgs.) for the preview ethnodrama, “Who Cares?” was written in August 2015 and the 50 minute preview show, we referred to as “a taste of”,  took place September 23 at the Lower Denton Theatre, Acadia University.  In the audience were faculty members, physicians, spiritual care workers, dietitians, caregivers, students and community members.

The roles for the ethnodrama preview “Who Cares?” were played by skilled actors with considerable performing experience adding to the quality of the overall production and the authenticity of the performances. Paula Rockwell a graduate of the University of Toronto is an experienced and multi talented performer and vocalist who has worked with the Canadian Opera Company and  teaches Voice, Diction for Singers, Scene Studies and The Singing Actor at Acadia.  She joined the production as an actor and cast member and also composed music for an original song providing expert vocals and keyboard accompaniment for music in this ethnodrama.   Robert Seale offered a touching and deeply sensitive portrayal of a caregiving husband to a wife with Alzheimer’s Disease.   Associate Professor in the Theatre Department, he is a graduate of the National Theatre School in Montreal and has appeared in over 150 leading roles in the major theatres across Canada, and in the U.S.   I also joined the cast as an actor and the director of “Who Cares?”

Our  preview based on research addressed challenges unpaid caregivers face each day to care for their family members, from assisting and feeding a spouse with Alzheimer’s Disease, advocating for food choice at end of life,  providing for those in need balanced with the dynamics of the personal relationship and attending to a family member who is dying.  The title Who Cares? referred to those who do care, the caregivers themselves and their stories, and also challenged the prevailing cultural notions and policies regarding the aged and those (often family) feeding and supporting older persons in need. It was through these stories, these true and dramatized accounts of caregiving experience, that those unrecognized , frequently “invisible” and marginalized in their unpaid work became visible. The title also raised other questions, Who should care? How can we democratically come together in the hopes of bringing about change which could affect quality of life for those in our care today and others who will surely need care in the future? The purpose was not to  provide a recipe for change nor to dictate the methodologies for transformation but rather to begin to illuminate true stories and create spaces for possibility, innovation and critical thinking that may, even in this early phase of development, lead to eventual change and solutions around caregiving and feeding family that could ultimately improve health and quality of life for caregivers and older Canadians.

Cheryl L. McLean   is a leading international contributor to the field of creative arts in interdisciplinary practice (CAIP) and founder and publisher of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice (IJCAIP) http://www.ijcaip.com and has edited the research books Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change and Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice (Brush Education, Edmonton). She is also an educator and ethnodramatist who has presented widely as a keynote speaker at universities, medical schools and health organizations across Canada.  She worked as a Visiting Scholar at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, between July and September 2015.

http://www.cherylmclean.com

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 References

Denzin N.K. (2003). Performance ethnography, critical pedagogy and the politics of culture.  (pg. 9), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

McLean, C.L. (2014). Creative arts in humane medicine, Edmonton: Brush Education Inc.

McLean, C.L., Kelly, R. (2010). Creative arts in interdisciplinary practice inquiries for hope and change. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises.

McLean, C.L. (2015). Who Cares?  An ethnodrama preview script, research based true stories of caregiving, feeding family, love and survival, (script pg. 32 – 36 ) performed Sept. 23, 2015 Lower Denton Theatre, Acadia University.

Saldaña, J. (2011). Ethnotheatre research from page to stage, (pg 13), CA: Left Coast Press.

Saldaña, J.(2011).   Ethnotheatre research from page to stage, (pg. 69 – 70), CA: Left Coast Press.

Who Cares? Stories of Caregiving, Feeding Family, Love and Survival Shared with Community at Acadia University

NovaScotia15 019 Paula Rockwell and Cheryl McLean rehearsing for “Who Cares” ethnodrama

On September 23, 2015 at the Lower Denton Theatre, Acadia University, Wolfville Nova Scotia, 60 people attended a 50 min. preview performance of an ethnodrama (currently in development) titled  “Who Cares?” about aging, caregiving, feeding family and survival.  In the audience were faculty members, physicians, spiritual care workers, dietitians, caregivers, students and community members.

Producer and researcher, Catherine Morley, Assistant Professor of Nutritional Science at Acadia opened the evening providing insight into her research about the meanings of eating and feeding family with changed health status.  A number of the stories and characters featured in the ethnodrama were inspired by accounts from actual interview transcripts from interviews conducted with caregivers by Morley.

The ethnodrama was created and written by Cheryl McLean, visiting scholar at Acadia and editor of several research texts on the creative arts in interdisciplinary research. She is also an ethnodramatist and actor.  McLean opened the performance as narrator answering the question, “What is an ethnodrama?  She explained that this type of research performance is an art form that  brings together the two worlds of ethnography and drama.  It is a written research based play script made up of performances consisting of selections of narrative created and adapted from actual interview transcripts, memories, oral histories, facts, news and personal stories.

The ethnodrama “Who Cares?” addressed challenges unpaid caregivers face each day to care for their family members, from assisting and feeding a spouse with Alzheimer’s Disease, advocating for food choice at end of life,  providing for those in need balanced with the dynamics of the personal relationship and attending to a family member who is dying at home.

“Who Cares?” cast member, vocal instructor, soloist and recording artist Paula Rockwell felt deeply inspired by the topic of caregiving and explains why she jumped on board to participate in this project.  “Because of my personal experiences and because we need to get information to future caregivers which by the look of the demographics will largely be family members.”

Robert Seale, Associate Professor, Department of English and Theatre at Acadia joined the cast because, he says, “I have dealt with these issues, and by dealt with I mean barely coped, and not very well.  I lost both parents to Alzheimer’s.  “Thankfully,” says Seale,  “at least, they died in their children’s arms.  I felt very alone.  I’m doing this because it is worthwhile, topical and needs to be dealt with now, in a proactive way.”

Information cherylmclean7007@gmail.com

Monologues created from interview transcripts, excerpts article J. Saldana

The following is an excerpt from the  book “Ethnotheatre Research from Page to Stage, Johnny Saldana, pg. 69

“Everyday life can be quite mundane, but it is also peppered with occasional moments of excitement, tension and conflict.  An adage among theatre practitioners goes, “Theatre is life…with all the boring parts taken out.”    It is not just a clever saying, it is actually one way of approaching what we do with the empirical materials we collect (or refer to) as we transform them for theatrical presentation:  take the boring parts out.  One of the goals of an ethnodramatist is to take the actual words of a participant and adapt them into an economic form that has aesthetic shape.  …..the worst sin an artist can commit is to bore the audience.  Theatre and performance events are bound by time.  Thus the “boring parts” and what is sometimes called verbal debris need to be taken out of verbatim…”

(perhaps the most challenging job for the ethnodramatist as artist …is to, at times, negotiate with well intentioned science and data in access… working beyond a proliferation   of “necessary” data  in favour of “the big but tightly edited essential message”, which, for those who seek to tell… is the essence of the story itself…or purpose of the ethnodrama, a telling that is usually,  far beyond the practical goal to simply inform but rather to move an audience  emotionally and untimately inspire change  Cheryl L. McLean)

Johnny Saldana is professor of theatre at Arizona State University School of Theatre, Cheryl McLean is publisher of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP, http://www.ijcaip.com, editor of books Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change and Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice and writer/director of the ethnodrama “Who Cares” staged for the public September 23, 2015 at Acadia University, Nova Scotia.  info http://www.cherylmclean.com

Narrator’s Introduction, Who Cares?

Thank you for joining us as we present a preview version of “Who Cares?”, an ethnodrama which is currently in development. We hope this work will eventually have an opportunity to develop further into a full length ethnodrama which will be adapted for film.

The ethnodrama genre as an art form brings together the two worlds of ethnography and drama. It is a written research based play script made up of performances consisting of selections of narrative created and adapted from actual interview transcripts, memories, oral histories, facts, news and personal stories.  As I created and wrote the script for “Who Cares” a good portion of the research data provided and that I drew from, was based on interviews conducted with caregivers by Dr. Catherine Morley, Assistant Professor in The School of Nutrition and Dietetics at Acadia University, N.S.. Catherine is also an educator and engages in research to raise awareness about the causes, prevention and management of malnutrition in aging Canadians and those living with dementia or changed health status.  These are accounts and events reflecting the lives of real people.  Song lyrics and poetry are also based on lived experience.

Roles are played by actors and the names of the individuals you will meet have been changed to protect their identities.

These are stories about informal caregivers, caregiving for older family members. The Institute for Research on Public Policy describes informal caregivers as family members, friends or neighbours… who provide unpaid care to a person who needs support due to a disability, illness or other difficulty, sometimes for extended periods. In their unpaid jobs, they are likely to incur out-of-pocket expenses and can experience significant lifetime income losses. Such personal costs can negatively impact caregivers’ economic security, health and well-being and, as a result, they commonly experience stress, social isolation and guilt.

Informal caregivers are, for the most part, 45 years of age or older representing 2.7 million Canadians. They often have multiple responsibilities and provide assistance despite ongoing work and family demands.

So who cares? I have lived through the birth of TV, Sputnik, Roy Rogers, man on the moon, the Cuban missile crisis, black power, Kennedy’s assassination, The Beatles, the women’s movement, …. Like some of you I am a baby boomer.   I can’t afford not to care. These are our  parents’ stories  and in the future they  could very well be our stories.

Why should we care about aging and things like feeding when eating is so common, so natural so very simple? Something we’ve been doing forever, all our lives. One fact that may surprise you is that today malnutrition risk is 37% among Canadian seniors. The issue becomes even more critical when we consider one in seven Canadians is currently aged 65 or over. By 2036, nearly one in four Canadians will be a senior. Some 40 million people in the United States are currently age 65 or older and this number is expected to climb to 89 million by 2050.

These are true stories about the people who do care today, caring for and feeding their older relatives and the flesh and blood challenges they face every day to keep their relatives well, often fighting incredible odds, alone, while providing a lifeline for those they love. You will hear stories about food and emotional connections to it and learn what eating and feeding can mean in relationships. In this preview, this “taste of” you will also hear from some of the professionals who seek to support caregivers and help address their challenges. You will witness the honesty, the courage and transparency expressed in these stories as people share feelings, feelings that have been unheard publicly/ until today. We invite you to meet people who care /as we bring to life their personal stories and assure others /that they are not alone/ and that what they are stepping into as caregivers is not at all easy.

Cheryl McLean, Writer/Director “Who Cares”

Please join us on September 23, 2015 Denton Theatre, Acadia University, Nova Scotia  for a preview performance of “Who Cares” an ethnodrama about aging, caregiving, feeding family, love and survival.

Who Cares? Foreword

poster 008

Wednesday, September 23 at 7:00 Denton theatre, Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Foreword

Cheryl McLean

I am currently writing and directing the ethnodrama, “Who Cares” about caregiving, feeding family, love and survival….a preview will be held Sept. 23 at Denton theatre, Acadia University.

Ethnodrama is an art form, a type of qualitative playwriting based on true stories. Johnny Saldana, Professor of Theatre at Arizona State University’s School of Theatre and Film and a leader in North America in this emerging genre, has described ethnotheatre as a form which employs the traditional craft and artistic techniques of theatre to mount for an audience a live or mediated performance event of research participants’ experiences.  The ethnodrama itself is the written play script consisting of dramatized significant selections of narrative which may be derived from research data, interview transcripts, participant observation, field notes, newspaper articles, journal articles, oral history, etc.

In the case of the ethnodrama (preview) Who Cares? to be premiered  September 23 at Acadia University, a good portion of the research data was based on interviews conducted with caregivers by Dr. Catherine Morley, Assistant Professor in The School of Nutrition and Dietetics at Acadia and the Lead Researcher on this project who has extensively interviewed caregivers and family members exploring meanings of eating and changes with illness. I analyzed the interviews and reconstructed stories based on the data with a particular focus on reoccurring themes of importance, moments of crisis or discovery (epiphany), story elements within the lived experiences that would advance the action and theatrically illuminate meanings in a way that would be entertaining and aesthetically sound while being both evocative and memorable for an audience.

It is important to stress that although the ethnodrama is by its nature an adaptation of events, in my particular approach the dialogue/monologue content etc. is very close to verbatim preserving the meanings of what was conveyed, whether selected from interview transcripts or from newspaper articles, journals or other sources. Poetry and personal stories in this script have also been based on actual lived experience.

In keeping with the way performance ethnography has been described by Dr. Norman K. Denzin in the text, Performance Ethnography Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Culture, cultural performances of this type are most often created to raise awareness about marginalized persons or issues that have largely been ignored within society. Ethnodramas become public pedagogy using the aesthetic, the performative to foreground the intersections of politics, institutional sites and embodied experience. Such performances are unique in that they are an embodied way of presenting research while artistically provoking change, presenting issues and questioning the status quo through story.  Read about the team and cast members

The title Who Cares? in this ethnodrama (preview)  refers to those who do care, the caregivers themselves and their stories, and yet the question challenges the prevailing cultural attitudes and policies regarding the aged and those (often family) feeding and supporting older persons in need. It is through these stories, these true accounts of caregiving experience, that those who are unrecognized , frequently “invisible” and marginalized in their unpaid work become visible. The title also raises the questions, Who should care? How can we democratically come together in the hopes of bringing about change which could affect quality of life for those in our care today and others who will surely need care in the future? It is not our purpose to provide a recipe for change nor to dictate the precise procedures for transformation, but rather to point the way toward hope, to illuminate the stories and create new spaces for possibility, discourse and innovation and critical thinking that may lead to change and solutions around caregiving and feeding family. To expand upon our research we will be collecting additional feedback from a panel discussion which will follow our preview ethnodrama.   This data will inform our work as we continue our plan to  develop  “Who Cares”  into a full length ethnodrama and proposed film.

Cheryl L. McLean, editor of the book Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (Brush Education)  and publisher of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP is a recipient of a Harrison McCain Visiting Professorship award,  and  writer/director, “Who Cares” an ethnodrama about aging, feeding family members, love and survival…..She is currently a Visiting Scholar at Acadia University, Nova Scotia.  Recently published, Cheryl L.  McLean, “Advancing Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice”, Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Taylor and Francis  http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/PWmWUIqhQgMZtyGemehj/full

The full article can be found here:  https://agingandfood.wordpress.com/articles/

 

Who Cares? The team

acting

Cheryl McLean, Writer/Director, Harrison McCain Visiting Scholar Acadia University

Cheryl L. McLean is writer and director of the ethnodrama “Who Cares”.  She is  editor of the CAIP Research Series published by Brush Education and books Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change and Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change.   She is also publisher of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP.  She was recently awarded a Harrison McCain Visiting Professorship and is a Visiting Scholar at Acadia University, Nova Scotia.

Cheryl McLean has been active in the creative arts in interdisciplinary research and practice for over ten years and has special interests in the aging and health field.  She also has experience as a researcher and ethnodramatist  actor/playwright gathering research/data and writing scripts and performing  research based stories of lived experience for audiences across a wide range of disciplines.  Trained in Stanislavski acting approaches (realism) under the mentorship of Dr. Muriel Gold, (formerly the Artistic Director of Montreal’s Saidye Bronfman Theatre) and with an M.A. (Faculty of Fine Art)  from Concordia University (drama and therapy)  she has also worked as a therapist in mental health settings with older persons.  In addition to writing and directing Who Cares, Cheryl will  be part of the cast performing in the ethnodrama to be held at Acadia University.

morley

Catherine Morley, Lead Researcher, Producer

Catherine Morley , Assistant Professor in the School of Nutrition and Dietetics at Acadia University, is the Lead Researcher and Producer of “Who Cares”.  She is  a leader in Canada in the field of dietetics and nutrition who has written extensively about Meanings of Eating and Changes with Illness,..She is also an educator and researcher who  engages in research to raise awareness about the causes, prevention and management of malnutrition in aging Canadians and those living with dementia or changed health status.  In her work she hopes to reduce caregiver burden and the frequency and duration of hospitalization and institutionalization  of older persons.

Paula Rockwell, Actor and Vocalist

Paula

Paula Rockwell is acting and performing in the ethnodrama “Who Cares”.  She has an affinity for contemporary music and has released a solo CD, which she co-produced, featuring 20th century Art Songs entitled Fleeting Melodies. The Halifax Herald said…“a repertoire such as this is both unusual and challenging and Rockwell with her beautiful, clear, ringing voice meets their technical demands with assurance and precision.” She also has been featured on several recordings, Scott MacMillan’s The Celtic Mass for the Sea, 1st Baptist Church Choir’s Sing Lullaby under the direction of the late David MacDonald and has had compositions written for her. One of England’s foremost composers, Jonathon Willcocks, wrote a piece for Paula that she debuted at the Green Lake Festival of Music in Wisconsin entitled Mayhem!!The misfortune of Miss Maisy Murgatroyd, which involved the Green Lake Children’s Choir.

Paula has taken on several operatic roles since graduating from University of Toronto working with the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto’s Opera in Concert, Vancouver Opera, Tidal Opera and with Orchestre Baroque de Montreal. Paula has been a regular soloist with Symphony Nova Scotia and the Chorus of Westerly in Rhode Island where she made her American debut singing Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody. She is heard every summer at the Sir David Willcocks Choral Symposium in Lyman, NH, giving master classes and concerts.

SealeFacPg-f0cb11b9

   Robert Seale, Actor

Robert Seale is acting in the ethnodrama “Who Cares”.  An Acting graduate of the National Theatre School in Montreal, Robert also holds a Master’s Degree summa cum laude in Performance from York University.   He has been an award-winning CAEA professional since 1974, appearing in over 150 leading roles in the major theatres across Canada, and in the U.S.

Besides professional acting and directing, Robert has done over 300 professional consultation, choreography and stunt contracts on stage and film through his company, Fights Unlimited  RGS – including work with such groups as the National Ballet, Shaw Festival, National Arts Centre, Canadian Opera Company, National Ballet, and both the Toronto and Atlantic Film Festivals.02ACADIA03-e1351626298501

Robert Seale, directing at Acadia University

His company has worked extensively with the RCMP, training recruits in “Crisis Intervention” at Depot Division in Regina. With the Canadian Armed Forces, he recently trained, directed and choreographed a 36 member Naval Boarding Party simulation for the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in Halifax.

In 1992 Robert completed formulation of a national system of fight certification for Canada, and the next year legally incorporated and became founding President of Fight Directors, Canada.  He remained the elected President until 2000, when he withdrew to become Executive Director for the IOSP in Washington, D.C. – the international “Round Table” of professionals.  He has a TacCom Certification from the government of Ontario and holds an internationally recognized certification as a Fight Master.