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Taking centre stage

Taking centre stage

[Dan School of Drama and Music celebration]
On stage at the Isabel: Professor Greg Wanless (Drama), Jewelle Blackman, Mus’01, Robin Evan Willis, Artsci’05 (Drama), Professor Craig Walker, Aubrey Dan, Phillip Addis, Mus’00, Alyssa Leclair, Artsci13 (Drama), Tyler Murree, Artsci’02 (Drama), Professor Tim Fort (Drama) and Philip Kalmanovitch, Artsci’06 (Drama). The alumni all appeared courtesy of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.

On April 3, Queen’s announced the naming of the Dan School of Drama and Music, in honour of Aubrey and Marla Dan and their donation of $2 million to the school.

“Queen’s is delighted to receive this remarkable gift from such a distinguished supporter of the performing arts in Canada,” says Principal Woolf. “On behalf of Queen’s, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to Aubrey and Marla Dan for their vision and generosity. This gift will help accelerate the momentum within the school and strengthen Queen’s position as a leading university for study in the performing arts.”

The donation will be endowed to allow investments in visiting professional instructors, scholarships and research. It also builds on the momentum within the Dan School of Drama and Music, following the opening of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts and the ongoing development of new programs since the merger of the Department of Drama and School of Music last year.

The benefactors, Marla and Aubrey Dan, are Queen’s parents whose daughter is a graduate of the drama program. Mr. Dan is an accomplished businessman and philanthropist with a passion for the performing arts. He is also the founder of Dancap Productions Inc., a Tony Award®-winning commercial theatre company with international and Broadway production and investment credits, including Jersey Boys, The Drowsy Chaperone, West Side Story and A Streetcar Named Desire.

“As the father of a Queen’s Drama graduate, I saw first-hand the value of the education my daughter received at Queen’s,” says Mr. Dan. “More importantly, I saw that there’s tremendous potential in the School of Drama and Music. It is my hope that this donation will allow the school to reach new levels and become the pre-eminent school for performance arts education in Canada.”

In celebration of the naming, a special concert as held at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Distinguished Queen’s Drama and Music alumni took the stage with Mr. Dan and faculty members to perform musical numbers from film, theatre and television.

  • [Dan School of Drama and Music celebration]
    Alyssa Leclair, accompanied by Julie Brook, sings They Just Keep Moving the Line from the musical drama TV series Smash. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • [Dan School of Drama and Music celebration]
    Students Paul Wilson (on guitar) and Khalil Anderson-Stewart (on piano) serenaded uests in the atrium of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Artsbefore the concert. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • [Dan School of Drama and Music celebration]
    Tyler Murree and Robin Evan Willis, accompanied by Clare Gordon, belted out Irving Berlin’s You’re Just in Love. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • [Dan School of Drama and Music celebration]
    Jewelle Blackman, accompanied by Cynthia Torman, performed Miss Celie’s Blues from the movie The Colour Purple. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • [Dan School of Drama and Music celebration]
    Ireneus Zuk, Interim Associate Director, Dan School of Drama and Music; Provost Alan Harrison; Marla and Aubrey Dan; and Craig Walker, Head of the Dan School of Drama and Music. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

[cover graphic of Queen's Alumni Review, issue 2-2016]