Archive for ‘culture’

December 18, 2013

I’m back from a weekend in a basement with strangers

Picture1Yes I know, I totally disappeared there. Sorry about that. Last week was all about constructing the presentation for my biggest workshop to date – a full weekend with Theatre Kingston. Excellent combo of going home and working.

It was a great weekend – we were in a classroom in the basement of Jeffrey Hall, there were about ten of us and we spent from 10 til 6 Saturday and Sunday talking about social media and traditional marketing and actually having conversations about the work we do and it was just great. So you must check out the following:


Theatre Kingston – Kingston, Ontario’s professional theatre company – bringing Canada’s great plays and performers to Kingston, and Kingston to Canada

The Kingston Theatre Alliance – made up of 5 Kingston based theatre companies that first formed in 2012 to produce “The Library Chronicles”

Single Thread Theatre CoA Found-space theatre company

Domino Theatre– has a full seven-play winter season. Each season offers an appealing mix of drama, comedy and mystery from the Canadian and world stages.

Blue Canoe Theatrical Productions Inc. –  youth non-profit organization striving to create opportunities for young performers between the ages of 13-30 in the performing arts

Grand Theatre – Kingston’s premier performing arts venue, bringing world-class performers and artists to your local stage.

Empty Box Theatre – a company that emphasizes storytelling and challenges traditional audience-performer relationships. We are interested in re-staging the classics and creating new collaborative plays. Our work often looks at gender politics, camp, wordplay, mythical and historical themes.

Cindy Johnson – specializes in custom designing of jewellery in silver, gold, platinum, palladium and bronze. (and repairs too!)

Thanks to all of them for a really great weekend!

December 10, 2013

Happy Anniversary OCAF and The Science of Opera

1457703_705648616113421_1395050244_nWonderful anniversary party last night with the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, g celebrating fifteen years with old friends and new, artists from all over the province and supporters of every stripe. Thanks  so much to all who attended for celebrating with us.


Still tickets available for tonight’s Unspun Theatre’s The Tin Drum – reviews are coming in confirming it is a solid piece of theatre, so get your coat and hat and off you go. If you were thinking of going next week – you can’t. It closes the 14th so best get on that.


On the topic of art, this is a great video –  The Science of Opera with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies. 
What does great art do to our bodies?
In an exciting world first, The Science of Opera with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies saw a team of medical scientists from UCL discovering what happens inside us when we go to the opera.

Opera lover Stephen Fry took his friend, Royal Opera virgin and QI panellist Alan Davies, to the Royal Opera House. They were hooked up with the latest medical gadgetry to record the physical effects on their bodies of watching Verdi’s political masterpiece Simon Boccanegra.

It’s long – 44 minutes so you may have to watch in pieces, or find 44 minutes, but it’s wonderful.


December 6, 2013

Time for a book post

imagesI haven’t done one in a while.
What I’ve Been Reading

Moral Tribes-Emotion, Reason and The Gap Between Us and Them;

Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave

Orange Is The New Black: My Year In A Womens’ Prison

The telling room : a story of love, betrayal, revenge, and the world’s greatest piece of cheese

Next time you’re in the Gladstone Hotel, check out the latest art installation at the front desk – two tall stacks of every book that’s launched there..

And finally – a library video.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. –  Nelson Mandela

December 4, 2013

World Stage 2014 – Artistic Director’s Statement #artlive

this fills me with anticipation and excitement for 2014. Read on.

We’re going to try this a little differently. We need to.

We’re going to start by trying to have the courage to face the conditions we’re in. And the conditions we’re in are very uncertain.

The fact is that we just don’t know about a lot of things. We don’t know how to preserve the environment. We don’t know how to treat each other with justice and fairness. We don’t know how to relax. We don’t know how to live within our means. We don’t know how to take care of our elders and we don’t know how to raise our children.

We don’t know how to believe in our politicians and we don’t know how to change the system. We don’t know how to love and we don’t know how to die. We don’t know how to remember and we don’t know how to forget.

And we don’t know how we are – although we have a few ideas.

When I write “we” I could be writing about our city or our country or the world (and I think that these words would probably be true) but the “we” I’m writing about is actually more modest. The “we” I’m writing about are people who make the shows in this series and the people at World Stage who help put them on and fight to keep them accessible. “We” are the ones who don’t know. But we have a feeling that, in this regard, we’re a lot like you. And that possibility is what justifies all the risks we take with this programme.

Because we are taking risks. The work in World Stage 2014 is messy, beautiful and provoking. It’s a challenge. It’s not easy – but neither is understanding the world and how we can live in it.

The best, gentlest understanding of the world is arrived at not from isolated facts but from the appraisal of relationships and equivalencies – between questions and certainties, culture and politics, artists and audiences.

I think World Stage is the place where this can happen.

Like the equals sign, World Stage is neither the answer nor is it the question. It’s the structure that makes it possible to see the relationship between the two.

If this connects with you, if you’re up for the enlivening challenge, I urge you: let us know, share, talk to us in person and on #artlive. Most of all, be a part of World Stage 2014.

Join us. Let’s figure out who we are.

Tina Rasmussen


Artistic Director, World Stage

December 2, 2013

two good articles from theatre practitioners – and who finished the coffee?

Read a couple of articles this weekend by Michael Wheeler – Storytelling in the immediate –  and Jacob ZimmerPolicy, politics, Rhubarb

from Storytelling:

“A character on stage may look back and tell a story — but that character continues to live in the present, in a time that’s defined as “right now” by the very play he or she inhabits (a “right now” that we, as spectators, are allowed to imagine we share, simply because we share an actual “right now” with the actor playing the character). So that, in a large-ish nutshell, is my conceptual beef: theatre can’t tell stories, because stories are always necessarily retrospective. And theatre isn’t about the past. It’s about the present.”

What I have noted recently, is a number of shows that are not performed by ‘characters’, but the actual people who created or are creating the narrative.

From Policy (and you can read the backstory here)

In negotiation, we’re well advised to find mutual shared interest and work towards a solution that benefits all parties.

This is not a negotiation. It is a debate, where multiple sides are appealing to a “third” party (people who vote) to declare a winner. We can be sad about this state of our politics but we shouldn’t be naive about the strategies being used by the other side.

Have a read of both – they both make excellent points and give you something to think about.

Coffee! I found this infographic the other day and was not surprised my profession was on the list, but that it was so high. I also need to meet some scientists – apparently they’re awake as well.



November 29, 2013

$3.6 million does not equal $6 million. Ten years later – still waiting.

This past Monday, the first draft of the City Budget was released. There is a $3.6m increase in arts funding, which, while good, it is still a far cry from the $6m that we asked for.

Despite early indications that the full next phase of funding was allocated, the current budget falls short of reaching our targets. This is yet another delay in reaching the $25 per capita target that was established way back in 2003.
Increasing the city’s investment in culture is a central part of the City’s strategic plan at the highest level, and was unanimously endorsed again in 2013. We need to build on the success of 2013 and keep that momentum going.

In particular, the areas in the 2014 budget that fall short of requested amounts are the granting programs – the Toronto Arts Council, the Local Arts Service Organizations, the Major Cultural Organizations program and CultureBuild.

While many councillors are supportive of our cause, not many are going to look through the budget detail specifically with the Arts in mind. So we need to let them know. Please email your Councillor, thank them for their support and ask them to follow-up with their colleagues, with Budget committee, with staff, and voice their support for getting that number back up to $6 million. Emails can be found HERE.

Plans in our sector were and are being made based on that $6 million. Jobs and productions were and are being created. Let’s not take one step forward, and 2.4 million backwards. Email your councillor. Please.

Budget notes pertaining to Culture and Ec-Dev are here.

November 26, 2013

Fringe Lottery Results, a place to make art, a different way to look at art

Fringe lottery party last night at the Tranzac and a rockin’ time was had by all – definitely yelling,  cheering, singing, cake and of course – the LOTTERY WINNERS! Results will be posted on the Fringe website by noon the 26th (that’s today! Maybe it’s right now!) Congrats to all. Up next – Next Stage of course – expect to hear more about this!

I always like hearing about more space for art, and here you go – from the newest member of the Artscape family.
Flex Studios is a new membership-based service that offers artists pay-as-you-go access to creative workspace at Artscape Youngplace. Members can book space quickly and easily online-24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Flex Studios opens for member use on November 30 after the official opening of Artscape Youngplace on November 19. Be there when the bell rings!

CaptureI think this is kind of cool – not in a “match the sofa” way, but another way of searching art.
The Addictive New Museum Website That Lets You Browse by Color
The part I thought was especially neat was the project this project was based on – the site of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in that at first glimpse each item appears in close-up rather than in its entirety, an approach that encourages people to start with details to discover works of art and design, rather than zooming in after the fact.

Mostly I like the fact that you start out nose-close. That’s frowned upon in museums. Believe me. Speaking of museums, the winter class schedule is out for the AGO!


November 24, 2013

Sunday Roundup – November 24

Busy week last week. And last night I spent the evening at the wedding reception of two dear friends, one of whom I’ve known since I was fourteen. So much love to you both.

Short and sweet today!

Thank You – Arts Day At The City #artsdayTO

AntiSocial Media – most popular post this week.

owning photos and #yesidance

SnapChat and a World of Disappearing Media most commented on over all social mediums this week

November 15, 2013

Artscape Is Looking For Volunteers!

Volunteer at Artscape Special Events

 Artscape is a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities. Canada’s leading practitioner in multi-tenant space development for the creative and cultural sector, Artscape develops and manages unique facilities that deliver sustainable and below-market production, rehearsal, exhibition and living space for creative practitioners, entrepreneurs and cultural organizations.

Show your support by volunteering your time at one (or more!) of three upcoming special events this November. Volunteer roles will include but are not limited to: registration, wayfinding and directions, managing coat check, ushering and general tidying of event spaces. Read below to learn more about these exciting events!

OFFICIAL PUBLIC OPENING at ARTSCAPE YOUNGPLACE 5:00 to 10:00 pm on November 19th, 2013

Artscape Youngplace will host its Official Public Opening to introduce the city of Toronto to Artscape’s newest and largest project to date. Approximately 1,000 guests will explore the building’s public galleries, lounge spaces, artist studios and programming spaces while enjoying live entertainment, open studio tours, drinks and light fare.

 ARTSCAPE EXTRAVAGANZA: HALL PASS at ARTSCAPE YOUNGPLACE 6:00 to 10:00 pm on November 21st, 2013

Artscape Extravaganza will be Artscape’s first annual major fundraiser. We will welcome 350 guests for an interactive school themed evening complete with classes, recess and a pep rally! The proceeds of the event will help complete the $17 million capital renovation of the Shaw Street School. The event promises to be a totally wacky, fun, out-of-the-box evening.

UNDER ONE ROOF: THE JOURNEY at DANIELS SPECTRUM 6:00 to 10:30 pm on November 28th, 2013

The second annual Under One Roof fundraiser will feature a performance of The Journey: A Living History of the Regent Park Revitalization. 300 guests will gather for an opening reception and then enjoy the premiere of this production, which brings stories from the Regent Park community to life through spoken word narrative, song and dance. Under One Roof is produced in collaboration with The Daniels Corporation.

Please note that all events will require your attendance at an orientation meeting prior to the event date. Those dates are outlined on the sign-up form below. Feel free to send any questions to


Volunteer sign-up deadline: NOVEMBER 17th 2013.

November 4, 2013

record breaking improv and #artsdayTO

Saw this courtesy Naomi Snieckus and NTOW is a favourite of mine so here’s a PSA for them.
Attention Toronto Improvisers! NTOW is putting together a core cast of improv stars for a record breaking attempt at a 54-hour non-stop improvised comedy soap opera.
It’s part of IMPULSE, a new international improv festival we are running in association with Soulpepper Theatre. The Soap-a-thon will start at 3pm on Friday December 13th and finish at 9pm on Sunday December 15th at The Young Centre For The Performing Arts in the Distillery. Half of the proceeds will go to charity.
We’re going to need a core cast of lunatics to do the ENTIRE run. We’ll also need people to do big chunks of time and of course we’ll need volunteers to help run this sucker! Who’s in?  Email with the subject: “Impulse Soap Cast” or “Impulse Soap Volunteer”.

justthebeginning-page-0#artsdayTO: Fantastic blog post from Meaghan Davis over at Volcano:

Earlier this year, City Hall committed to reach a $25 per capita funding level for Toronto artists by 2017. IT’S UP TO US – artists, arts workers, students, and patrons – to make sure they follow through on that promise!

On Friday, November 8, TAPA and the Friends of the Arts Network will converge on City Hall for the 4th Annual Arts Day at the City. Show Toronto Councillors just how important their support is to our community by getting involved today: here’s what you can do

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