Fresh blood has come from the conservatory to lead Mt.A’s drama department this year
Afternoon sunlight illuminates the four empty walls of a room in the Purdy Crawford Building. This space will be Dr. Vicki St. Pierre’s office as she begins her position as the new head of Mount Allison’s drama department. St. Pierre sat down with me last week to talk about the 2018-19 season, minority group representation and the importance of the arts.
“Art can communicate something that is deeper than just words or paint, or a picture. It’s not just notes on a page; it’s so much more than that. Art is reflecting the human experience,” said St. Pierre on the importance of the arts. “Without that creativity and passion, the human race would be different.… It would be less.”
St. Pierre’s interest in the arts has taken her down many different avenues. Her experience as a theatre practitioner includes production and tech work, as well as directing performances with such prestigious groups as Tafelmusik and Opera Atelier. Her especially keen interest in musical theatre brought her to Western University, where she pursued an education in vocal performance.
Her studies recently took her to the University of Toronto where she completed her doctorate, also in vocal performance. During this time, she applied her craft as both a performer and an instructor. Prior to becoming head of the drama department this year, St. Pierre has been a faculty member in Mt. A’s very own music department since 2015.
Although St. Pierre is still in the midst of transitioning into her new role, it is clear she has already acquired a general feel for the department in the first few weeks of the semester. St. Pierre commented on the “enthusiasm of the students and of the staff and faculty” as strengths of the department.
Making the University a more diverse and inclusive place is an ongoing conversation. “Representation is important, and on the minds of faculty as they go forward in choosing their materials,” said St. Pierre. “The thin line between appropriation and representation is one that we all discuss at great lengths and very carefully. Inclusivity has become a more important mandate.”
While the excitement of a new school year is often accompanied by uncertainty, St. Pierre appears to have a great deal of confidence in her new leadership role. She expressed gratitude for the support she received during the transition to her new position, especially the mentorship and guidance from Glen Nichols, the previous department head who St. Pierre said was “well loved by the students.”
“The role is an administrative one but it means I get to be privy to wonderful creative processes,” she said about her new position.