2016 PAONE Morning Mixer & AGM, Oct. 19


The 2016 PAONE Morning Mixer & AGM is coming soon. Meet your colleagues and friends in the arts education sector over coffee and treats!

Wednesday October 19, 2016 from 9-11am (Rooms 5-210 and 5-220)
OISE, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto

We’ll be launching out 2016/2017 season together. Come learn and be a part of the plans for this year!

*Please note: PAONE doesn’t currently have a formal member policy, so consider yourself invited and welcome to join us on the 19th!*

Please let us know at info@paone.ca if you’re able to join us by noon on Monday, October 17.

Check out the day’s agenda here: 2015.16 PAONE AGM – Oct 19 16 Agenda

Meeting minutes from our 2014-15 AGM: PAONE – 2014.2015 AGM Oct. 14 2015 – Meeting Minutes

Complimentary DanceWorks tickets for PAONE members

Photo by Donald Lee

Photo by Donald Lee

PAONE is thrilled to announce complimentary DanceWorks matinee tickets for its participants and members.

Wen Wei Dance (presented by DanceWorks)
Friday, October 21 at 12:30pm
Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto

If you’re interested in a ticket (or two), please RSVP to info@paone.ca by noon on Thursday October 13.

More about the piece:

DanceWorks presents Wen Wei Dance’s Made in Chinaan interdisciplinary performance uniting the talents of four creators/performers whose contemporary art practices have been influenced by China’s Cultural Revolution. Three of the artists, Wen Wei Wang (Artistic Director, Wen Wei Dance); Yanjinzi Gao (Artistic Director, Beijing Modern Dance Company); and Qiu Xia He (Musician, Silk Road Music) grew up in China and studied traditional arts from a young age. Video/sound artist Sammy Chien, who immigrated to Canada from Taiwan, is their younger counterpart.

Made in China emerges from the artists’ life stories and shared cultural history. “All my work”, explains Wang, “comes from my experience growing up. But this work is not narrative, and it’s not only about me. It’s about how “made in China” is starting to mean something else. It is about people in China needing art, and producing it.”

Summer Series: Rob Kempson at the Thousand Islands Playhouse

The Thousand Island Playhouse / Photo courtesy of Rob Kempson

The Thousand Islands Playhouse / Photo courtesy of Rob Kempson

Over the course of the summer, PAONE is looking at arts education in the blissful and sometimes chaotic summer months. (Summer Series: Chapter 1Chapter 2 and Chapter 3).

In the fourth chapter in this series, we chat with Rob Kempson, Associate Artistic Director at the Thousand Islands Playhouse about his work in Gananoque, Ontario.

PAONE: What are you up to this summer?
RK: From April to October, I spend my days working as the Associate Artistic Director at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in beautiful Gananoque, Ontario. I grew up in Kingston, the nearest city, and the Playhouse is where I saw my first professional theatre. It feels pretty special to return now as an artist, and to have a chance to work with the incomparable Ashlie Corcoran and the amazing team here. Now in its 34th season, the Playhouse is nestled on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in the heart of the 1000 Islands Region. To say that it’s a magical place would be the understatement of the year.
PAONE: Can you tell us about your summer work and how it connects to arts education?

RK: My work here involves a litany of tasks, ranging from facilitation of the Playwrights’ Unit to Assistant Directing to helping Ashlie with programming. However, one of the biggest parts of my job is the Direction and Facilitation of the Young Company programming. Our Young Company is made up of university-aged artists who are interested in taking a step towards a professional career in the theatre.

The program begins with rehearsal and production of a touring show for children, which the company then performs for 14 weeks across Eastern Ontario. The troupe performs in parks, libraries, elementary schools, and retirement homes. While I direct their show, I’m also in charge of facilitating their experience. As a part of the program, they receive training from professional artists in various areas of the theatre, they observe rehearsals, they read Canadian plays, they attend Opening Nights, and they meet regularly with me. I have really enjoyed working with this program, and these young artists over the two seasons that I’ve been here.
I also help with Student Matinees in the spring and fall, and run a series of pre and post show chats throughout the season.
PAONE: What is special about summer programming? Why do you feel it’s important?
RK: One of the unique things about programming at the Playhouse is that we do not make any decisions without considering our audiences. That doesn’t mean that we pander to their every desire, but it does mean that all of the work we do here is for an audience, and we really care about their engagement. When programming, Ashlie considers what the audience is asking for, but she’s also interested in helping them find the things that they’re not asking for (but will really love). To me, the work that we do here has the capacity to change people’s lives; because we are in a small (and relatively conservative) town, the work that we produce is affecting and educational in both content and form.
Last year, we produced Mark Crawford’s Bed and Breakfast, which is the story of a gay couple moving to a small town. I have rarely attended work that felt this provocative, despite being a heartwarming comedy. Similarly, the piece made use of vocal masque for the two actors to play over 20 characters. Thus, our audiences were engaged with the HOW of the theatre as well as the WHAT. Theatre in rural communities is often underrated in terms of its impact, but as an artist and an educator, I can speak to how important this work is in the creation and development of cultural communities.
PAONE: What will you be doing when you aren’t working this summer?
RK: Writing. Reading. Swimming (at both my house and my office). Drinking too much wine. Playing a dice game called Farkle. Visiting farmer’s markets and flea markets. Going to country auctions. Watching DVDs of The Golden Girls. Listening to my LP collection. Listening to Broadway soundtracks as I drive down country roads in my 2003 Honda Civic. Seeing some really great theatre.
PAONE: What’s the best thing about summer outside of the city?
RK: When I’m in Gananoque, I live in a cabin in the woods without the internet, so life is pretty different and pretty perfect. I wake up to birdsong, and sleep to crickets. I have a private beach 20 feet from my front door, and I don’t have the distraction of having the internet at home. To me, summer has always been a rural experience, so when I’m here, I feel like I’ve really found my summer home. And I feel pretty lucky to have found that.
Thanks so much, Rob! It sounds idyllic and inspiring!
Rob Kempson General HeadshotRob Kempson is a theatre artist and educator. A graduate of Queen’s University, Rob works as a playwright, director, and performer. Writer/Director: Mockingbird (Next Stage Theatre Festival); SHANNON 10:40 (timeshare); explicit (Rhubarb Festival); #legacy (Harbourfront Centre); In My Own Skin (YRDSB); The HV Project (Community); Intersections (TDSB Arts Co-Op). Director: Violet’s the Pilot, Rose’s Clothes (Thousand Islands Playhouse); Songs for a New World (Claude Watson). As a performer, he was most recently seen starring in his Dora-nominated musical The Way Back To Thursday(Theatre Passe Muraille). He was a member of the 2014 Stratford Festival Playwrights’ Retreat and is currently the Associate Artistic Director at the Thousand Islands Playhouse. More info at www.robkempson.com or @rob_kempson on Twitter.

Summer Series: Amber Yared at the Canadian Opera Company

COC participants hard at work / Photo courtesy of the COC

COC participants hard at work / Photo courtesy of the COC

Over the next few weeks, PAONE is looking at arts education in the blissful (and sometimes chaotic!) summer months. (Summer Series: Chapter 1 and Chapter 2).

In the third chapter in this series, we chat with Amber Yared, the Children and Youth Programs Co-ordinator for the Canadian Opera Company, one of PAONE’s organization members.

PAONE: What are you up to this summer at the COC?
AY: Right now it’s camps camps camps! I coordinate the COC’s Scotiabank Summer Opera Camps, and am focused on them for the month of July. But, in between contacting parents for health and safety information, talking about programming with our artist educators, designing invites, and other Camps-related administrative duties, I’m also working on planning the other two programs I coordinate that run through fall, winter, and spring.

PAONE: Can you tell us about your summer work and how it connects to arts education?AY: I think a lot of people conceive of camp in terms of fun and as addressing a need for childcare. But many camps are learning spaces in which both educators and kids are free of the pressures of the assessment, evaluation, and curriculum objectives imposed on schools. A yoga teacher I know once told me that we can’t learn unless we’re feeling relaxed and grounded. I feel like that level of comfort and openness is something we strive for at the COC’s camps—we want the kids to be feeling good and if they’re feeling good, relaxed, and confident then it’s more likely they’ll come away with some new, deep understanding of opera—the creation process; how to collaborate; what it means to perform; technical skills in singing, composing, drama, and/or stage design. The kids who attend the COC’s camps leave having had a pretty intensive art education experience.

COC participants hard at work / Photo courtesy of the COC

COC participants hard at work / Photo courtesy of the COC

PAONE: What is special about summer programming? Why do you feel it’s important?
AY: I love summer programming. It’s one of the only times we get to engage with kids and youth for extended periods of time. We get them first thing in the morning for many days in a row instead of once a week at the end of a tiring school day. It’s a chance to get to know them in a different way and to work with them more intensively.

For the kids, summer programming means they get to leave the more generalized space of school and encounter other kids who share their interests. This is really important—especially for teenagers. And while I think that many kids don’t have nearly enough unprogrammed time in their lives, I also think that providing an alternative learning environment, outside of school, is truly valuable.

PAONE: What will you be doing when you aren’t working this summer?
AY: Mostly spending time with my husband and kid. Playing in the park, going for walks, visiting with friends and family, and trying to keep cool.

PAONE: What’s the best thing about summer in Toronto?
AY: It’s just great to be able to get outside. My family and I are taking full advantage of the splash pads in the park and are loving the summer fruits and vegetables.

Thanks Amber!

IMG_0179Amber Yared is the Children and Youth Programs Co-ordinator at the Canadian Opera Company. She has an unshakable interest in art education that has led her to teach and coordinate programming in schools, art galleries, and community art programs and organizations.