Malaspina Theatre Play Explores the Role of Art in Society

VIU students Gabrielle Marcolin and Isaiah Evertse rehearse a scene in Our Country’s Good, Malaspina Theatre’s fall production, which runs November 2-11.

October 26, 2017 - 2:45pm

Our Countrys Good runs Nov. 2-11 at Vancouver Island University

The act of performing a play within a play will help students and faculty involved with Malaspina Theatre’s fall play to explore the empowering role of art in society.

The Theatre is producing Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker, which is based on true events that took place in a convict colony in Australia in 1789. Supplies and morale are running low, and Governor Arthur Philip hopes that having the colony residents work on a theatrical production together will give people a sense of belonging and purpose.

Over the course of producing the play, the audience witnesses a change in the characters – at the beginning, they hate each other, but over time they grow to appreciate and support one another.

“The most important message in the play is that art is an integral, important part of civilization,” says Director Ross Desprez, a VIU Theatre Professor. “This play is all about how art enhances humanity, how it defines culture and helps unify people. People become empowered by being involved in this play.”

Whitley Dunn, a VIU Theatre student who plays the hardened criminal Liz Morden, says much like the popular TV show Orange is the New Black, the audience gets to hear a bit about each character’s journey. Dunn’s character’s life of crime started when her father framed her for a theft when she was very young.

“Sometimes people end up in a certain place because of circumstances that are not entirely of their own doing,” she says. “The message my character gets across is that people can change.”

Theatre student Lindsay Tozer, who plays Mary Brenham, a convict who is cast in a leading role in the play, has enjoyed showing the transformation of her character.

“Mary starts off as this shy character and she gets to be quite bold by the end of the play,” says Tozer.

Anyone who enjoys witty dialogue and a storyline that shows the magical transformation that can take place when human beings are showed sympathy and kindness should come see the play, says Theatre student Ashton Arden, who is double cast as Governor Arthur Philip and convict Robert Sideway.

“I really love the script and I think other people will, too,” he says. “I think this cast is going to do it justice.”

Our Country’s Good runs November 2-11 at the Malaspina Theatre (Building 310) at VIU’s Nanaimo Campus, starting at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors and are sold at the door. For reservations, please email



Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E:  | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Student Success

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