by Melissa Lombard I n this Year of Culture and Creativity at Mount Allison, Dr. David Fancy, associate professor in the department of dramatic arts at Brock University, spoke to hundreds of members of the Class of 2018 at the annual Commencement ceremony. His message explored the importance of creative risk-taking in our everyday lives. “I don’t believe that culture and creativity simply belong in the art gallery, the theatre, the library, the concert hall,” says Fancy. Fancy encouraged the new students to visit creative places, such as the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts, regardless of their major, and to take creative risks in every area of their lives, like on the playing field, in their clubs and societies, and even in their interactions with others. “I, for one, certainly can resonate with the challenge of coming to a new location — such as your arrival here at Mount Allison… and deciding that despite the fears, insecurities, and general anticipation about what on earth is coming next… you can take a risk, a creative risk, and connect with those around you in a way that is meaningful, sometimes raw, sometimes funny.” Fancy sat in those very seats in Convocation Hall 25 years earlier. He grew up in Sackville, NB, and, after spending a year in Europe after graduation, Mount Allison seemed like the natural choice for his first degree. His father Alex Fancy (’61) is a French professor emeritus at the University and created the bilingual theatre troupe, Tintamarre. His mother Margaret was a University librarian for many years. An English and philosophy graduate, David developed his love for theatre at Mount Allison through Windsor Theatre, Garnet and Gold Musical Theatre, and, of course, Tintamarre. “My father played a huge role in my love for theatre,” says David. “He is very enthusiastic and as he shared his love for theatre with his students, he did so with his kids as well.” David received his doctoral training at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and has been a professor at Brock University for the past 10 years. A self-proclaimed scholar-artist, David’s research interests look at the notion of immanence and how it plays into performance and politics. He is also a playwright, director, teacher, founder of neXt company theatre, and has even been involved with the circus in Niagara on large-scale community performances. “I believe you are doing your students and the community a service if you take the time to develop your capacity for critical thinking and scholarship,” he says. “Everything flows from that — teaching, dynamism of thinking, and creativity.” Of the many pieces he has written or collaborated on, David says his most memorable is Khalida, which he wrote for his friend Addil Abbas — Saddam Hussein’s favourite actor in Iraq. “While not shying away from difficult truths, Addil used creative risk-taking to tell his tale differently and to imagine new and richer futures beyond conflict and trauma,” says David, while telling Addil’s story to the Class of 2018. Currently, David is working with survivors from the Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia, ON to create an experience for them and to help tell their story through theatre and circus performance. Dr. David Fancy (’93) with his father Alex Fancy (’61), professor emeritus, drama and French, at the University Commencement ceremonies. “ I don’t believe that culture and creativity simply belongs in the art gallery, the theatre, the library, the concert hall ” / 19