Kerr, Mary



Phone number: (250) 721-7995
Department: Theatre

Research description:

- Aesthetics (Ways of Seeing)
- Performance design for theatre, dance opera
- Performance design for children (the Toy Castle, Sharon, Lois and Bram)
- Exhibition and large scale design (the Victoria XV Commonwealth Games, Expo 86, Expo 67)
- Original Canadian theatre, dance and film design
- Fashion history and body modification
- Playwriting
- Frank Lloyd Wright
- Marshall McLuhan
- Marc Chagall
- History of costume and set design for theatre and film
- Medieval drama design and Chaucer studies

Expertise Profile
Mary Kerr sees space in a way that nobody else does.

As a renowned national and international production designer and a professor in UVic's theatre department, Dr. Kerr can sit in the audience staring at an empty stage, making a mental sculpture of a future set design.

She then brings her mental art sculptures to life on stage, whether it's for film, theatre, television, opera, dance, exhibition or special events.

Her purpose when imagining her set designs is to take the audience on a journey they've never been on before and help them see, feel and experience different worlds.

One of her foremost achievements was creating the production design for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the XV Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 1994. The display included a theatrical presentation of the First Nations' Legend of Kwadilika that culminated in a giant Salish Thunderbird symbol - gaining worldwide recognition for southern Vancouver Island First Nations.

To Dr. Kerr, theatre is a form of art that brings all areas of perception together - from writing and dance to music and visual art - to create a complex sensory experience for the audience.

"I believe theatre to be a healing art that entertains or moves an audience, through laughter or tears, and can forever change the audience," she says.

Dr. Kerr's international profile and professional career outside the theatre department allows her to guide students through their own productions.

Dr. Kerr's award-winning artistically unique sets and costumes have been seen across the globe and she has worked in every type and scope of production medium in collaboration with playwrights, directors, producers, choreographers and performers.

Related Links
Dr. Kerr's Faces of UVic Research video:

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