A half-century of staying creative to weather the storm

By Gordon Lambie
A half-century of staying creative to  weather the storm
(Photo : Gordon Lambie)

In late December the Bishop’s University Drama Department quietly passed a significant milestone. Whether due to timing and global circumstance, or the somewhat bureaucratic nature of the anniversary, there was little fanfare as one of the school’s most public-facing programs reached its 50th birthday.
Under the heading “unique in the province,” page three of the Dec. 21, 1970 edition of The Sherbrooke Record features a story about how Bishop’s University’s faculty of arts had recently approved the creation of a new three-year program focusing on drama. The program, whose creation is credited to Festival Lennoxville founder David Rittenhouse, wouldn’t actually be implemented until the 1971-72 academic year, but it was hailed in the paper as a possible balm to a problem of reduced enrollment following the opening of Quebec’s CEGEP system.
“The new three-year drama program recently approved by the faculty of arts at Bishop s University may well be the first in a series of changes intended both to attract more students to Bishop s and to define the aims or mission of the university…” the paper reads.
Professor emeritus Jonathan Rittenhouse said that over the course of the time he taught in the department his late brother founded, that notion of drawing on creativity to weather the storm remained a consistent theme.
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