Timea Wharton-Suri

It’s getting closer!  The Deep End Weekend!!  Day in the Life 2017, artist intro number two:  Timea Wharton-Suri, has just done something of which I HIGHLY approve - she’s QUIT HER JOB to dive back into artistic practice, and invent a new role for herself in the world of dance.  I met her when I was the Chair of the Toronto Arts Council's Dance Committee, and she was taking on the job of Dance Officer.  I’ve gotten to know her quite well, she is a passionate, intelligent, forward thinking artist who has- and will continue to do- great things for the arts.  The story of her journey thus far is quite incredible - spoiler alert, there was a deathly poisonous spider incident!  I’m so thrilled that she’s kicking off her new adventures by joining us to share the ways she has navigated life as an artist thus far, and really looking forward to finding out more about what lies ahead for this super smart arts superhero.


Deep End Weekend - Gein Wong

Day one of The Deep End Weekend is a speaker series - A Day in the Life.   Five fantastic artists share their path through life as an artist, their challenges, their inspirations, their hacks for doing it all, for aspiring for a better world, for getting out of bed and finding the resources to make art.  It is a great joy to bring together artists who I’ve known for EVER, artists I have just met, and artists I’ve known about for years but haven’t had a chance to get to know……. Day in the Life 2017 kicks off with the incredible Gein Wong.  Gein is of First Nations and Asian descent, and is Two-Spirited and Queer.  Her artistic practice is truly interdisciplinary, and cannot be contained by labels.  She is an incredibly good listener, and asker of hard-hitting, core-shaking questions.  This quality is always apparent when I take in work on which she has collaborated.  I can feel the energy with which she has imbued her contribution; this artist – their story – as expressed through their physical language, and their words.  I’ve only know Gein for three years (in this life), I’m eager to hear more of her story, and to have the chance to turn the tables and ask her some questions that grab her heart and mind.  She also has the most disarming giggle - that I’m determined to unleash!

Gein Wong

The Deep End Weekend is BAAAAACK!!!

In 2014 I had this wild idea in the middle of the night; bring together a bunch of dancers trained in Indian classical dance styles (and other styles, and actors, and writers, and musicians); invite some inspiring artists to share their personal experiences; give everyone the chance to get into a studio and make art; share the art with the public!  Not only did the wild idea come to fantastic fruition in 2016, we are doing it AGAIN.  This year I'm thrilled to have dance, and theatre artists Susie Burpee, Anjali Patil, Ross Manson, Timea Wharton-Suri, and Gein Wong as speakers for Day in the Life on June 24th.  June 25th will bring back the one and only Gerry Trentham for the unforgettable experience of Season in a Day - participants get split into groups, assigned a super-fun team leader (Tanisha Taitt, Gein Wong, and others to be announced), given some creative prompts, and given the day to MAKE A WORK OF ART to be shared with an audience in the evening.  We do hope you'll join us.  If you are an artist please register to participate on Eventbrite, if you just want to see what happens when some of the city's incredible talents get thrown together - come by Tarragon Theatre at 7pm on the 25th.  Imagine my wild, fiendish, gleeful laugh here - I CAN'T WAIT!!! More info and registration here! 

International Women's Day

It would be really easy to post a picture from Infinite Storms, and a pithy little political shout out – you know, something like “the women of Infinite Storms salute the women of the world”.  Easy, but a little empty.  These days, one single day on the calendar doesn’t seem to matter much.  These days it feels like every day needs to be a reminder to be humane, to be just, to be aware, to do something to make the world a better place.  Still, it is International Women’s Day, and it feels important to recognize it, to claim it,  to honour it.  I’ve decided to make a donation to the Native Women’s Association of Canada. They work to advance the well-being of Aboriginal women and girls, as well as their families and communities through activism, policy analysis and advocacy. Files being addressed by NWAC include: education, employment and labour, environment, health, human rights and international affairs and violence with a special focus on missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.  I’m also making a donation to the Onaman Collective’s Land Fund to support their goal of building a permanent traditional knowledge, Indigenous languages, and arts camp.  Small gestures.  Big dreams.  Women.  Strength.  Compassion.  Resilience.

After the storms…

About a month has passed since the premiere of Infinite Storms at The Theatre Centre, and we’re please to report that the aftermath hasn’t been harrowing at all.  Quite the opposite in fact, we’re riding high on the positive energy generated, and the generous responses the work has received.  Migraine sufferers have reached out to share how much the work resonated for them; I met with educators who came to the work through a theatre program at OISE (The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), and was so moved to hear about their newfound enthusiasm for dance; and many audience members have made the time to connect, and share observations and thoughts about how society today sits with pain.  Beyond this, Sari-up! was a HUGE hit, so much so that we’re dreaming up ways to share the joys of sari-wearing again.  Community, and compassion, the power of dance to speak more clearly than words, the joy of being wrapped in beautiful silk………..not a bad way to start the year!

Infinite Storms