From equations to applause: UW lecturer directs FireBringer musical at KW Little Theatre


In a refreshing meld of academics and the arts, UW’s very own Diana Skrzydlo (from the mathematics department) is set to direct an uproarious musical titled FireBringer at the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre this June. The play, a Kickstarter-funded production by Starkid, known for their viral “Harry Potter” musicals, revolves around a prehistoric tribe’s comical and revolutionary discovery of fire. The musical promises not only laughter but a satirical glimpse into societal evolution.

Skrzydlo’s journey into the director’s chair is as intriguing as the plot of the play. Although rooted in mathematics, her artistic flair was developed through a minor in music and active participation in the Faculty Alumni Staff Students (FASS) Theatre Company here at UW. Her dual passion for mathematics and music is present in her debut directorial venture as she is able to blend the skills from teaching and theatre.

FireBringer is more than just a play — it is a commentary on social dynamics, technology and leadership, wrapped in the garb of humour and satire. The plot thickens as the tribe, which amusingly used to worship a duck (now a goose, a nod to Waterloo’s campus mascot), experiences a seismic shift with the introduction of fire. This element not only revolutionises their day-to-day life but also disrupts the existing power hierarchies, mirroring today’s societal shifts. 

The production is a testament to community and collaboration, featuring a vibrant cast and crew of UW alumni and local talents, including past Imprint editor Michael L. Davenport. “My stage manager works at the university… my assistant director is a Waterloo grad,” Skrzydlo shared, highlighting the deep connections within the community that enrich the production. 

For students and the wider community, FireBringer offers a reflective mirror on modern issues like technological obsession and environmental impact through the lens of humour. “Humans have a huge impact on the environment, and this play kind of really calls that out,” Skrzydlo noted. “It’s a relatively recent show, but a lot of those themes are going to be relevant.”

For students and locals alike, the musical provides a compelling reason to engage with local theatre, offering both insightful commentary and robust entertainment. “There’s so much great theatre in Kitchener-Waterloo. I encourage everyone to check out some local theatre,” Skrzydlo expressed.

As FireBringer gears up to set the stage alight (metaphorically speaking), and promises to be a delightful amalgamation of laughter, satire, and thought-provoking themes, all while showcasing the talents within the Waterloo community. As an additional incentive, the production is offering a special discount: attendees can receive $3 off their tickets using the code WORKTODO. This blend of humour, history, and modern reflection makes FireBringer a must-see. It will take place at 9 Princess St. East in Waterloo from June 6-22, and tickets can be purchased on EventBrite