by Mikaylee Boutin
I recently had the pleasure of reviewing some archival documents from Concordia’s history: programs, newspaper articles, yearbook excerpts. But one record stood out from the bunch; entitled Women of the West, it was an excerpt from CUE’s 1988 Yearbook. This piece spoke about a production that students had put up that school year, all about pioneer women settling in the west, and their struggles trying to find their place in this new society. Highlighting the work of students and professors of the time, the article made sure to reveal the topical nature of the show. Women of the West follows several ladies “breaking new frontiers,” just as all of Concordia’s theatre students continue to do. It seems to me as though the Concordia theatre department has never been afraid of tackling thematic productions.
In November of last year, I had the opportunity to write and perform in our production of Too Much Zoom Makes Us All Go Blind, which was a collection of short scripts, many of which focused on current events. Just as the 1988 students did, we were able to share, in our own words, our thoughts, opinions, qualms, and queries about the world around us. We aimed to engage the audience with our material, whilst still providing some entertainment during what has been a dark time for some. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of theatre has been changed completely. Though our means of accessing performance has shifted during this time, the core of what we do is still intact: providing an escape from the world outside of the theatre (or in this case, the screen).
After looking back on Concordia’s history, I think it is safe to say that the theatre department has always aimed to produce quality works of art, which hold a sense of relatability. The thought-provoking and conversation-starting nature of theatre at CUE will always be something that I, for one, cherish and respect as an artist, and a student.
Mikaylee is a second-year student at the Concordia University of Edmonton, majoring in drama. Throughout her life, Mikaylee has thoroughly enjoyed creating. Whether she is writing, performing, making art, directing, or designing, her happiness lies in the ‘made up.’ In the future, she hopes to start her own theatre company, be a director, and teach teenagers/young adults about the wonderful world of theatre.
Concordia’s CUE 100 committee is very excited to feature the written work of several students and alumni as part of its centenary celebrations. As these celebrations continue, you can look forward to reading short articles by these writers on interesting aspects of Concordia’s history over the past century. Writers were given access to archival documents on particular topics which they were asked to summarize and personally respond to. You’ll be able to discover much about Concordia’s history and how it still resonates among us today. We hope you find these articles both informative and entertaining. Happy 100, Concordians!