Upcoming Conference & AGM: October 16th, 2017


Save the Date for PAONE’s AGM and Conference!
Monday, October 16, 2017 from 10:00am-1:00pm

Living Arts Centre, (4141 Living Arts Dr, Mississauga) in the Rogers Theatre

Audience & Capacity-Building
Co-hosted by PAONE Member Third Monday Collective
We will be examining how to engage new audiences with a particular focus on reaching out to communities identified as marginalized or invisible, and those individuals or communities furthest from access. This conference will include a panel discussion with working groups, and lunch will be provided.
9:45am: Registration
10:00am – 10:30am: PAONE AGM
10:30am: Welcoming Remarks for the Conference                                                     10:40am: Panel Introductions                                                                                     11:00am – 11:20am: Breakout Sessions                                                                     11:20am – 11:45am: Group Discussion
11:45am – 12:15pm: Lunch (will be provided)
12:15pm – 1:00pm: Panel/Group Discussion on Strategies/Solutions to Challenges


RSVP by Monday, October 9 by emailing us at info@paone.ca.                        Please note: PAONE doesn’t currently have a formal member policy, so consider yourself invited and welcome to join us on the 19th!*

Panelist Details:

Michael Prosserman (UNITY Charity) found his passion for break dancing at a very young age. By the time he was three, Michael was already standing on his head while watching Saturday morning cartoons. Since then, he has performed for over 300 audiences, has spoken at over 100 schools, and has taught hundreds of workshops all over the world from Canada to Italy to Asia to the Arctic. Michael has competed world-wide, placing first in over 22 competitions. Michael is the founder and Executive Director of UNITY Charity, an organization that empowers youth to be role models and leaders in their communities through after school programs in break dancing, graffiti art, spoken word poetry and beat boxing. UNITY has reached over 100,000 young people across Canada. In the past year UNITY was featured in over 50 major media outlets in Canada including Maclean’s, Toronto Star, CBC, CTV, Citytv, and many more. UNITY teaches youth to use urban arts as a powerful outlet to relieve their stress and anger in a
positive way.

Anu Radha Verma (QTBIPOC Sauga) (BA, MES) has lived, worked, studied, played, struggled and agitated in both Canada and India. Her work has cut across sectors and places, but always focused on the intersections of social justice, community and creativity. She has been focused on the suburbs as a place of brilliance, organizing and social change – having organized various queer and trans, racialized community spaces including Pride Week in Peel and QTBIPOC sauga. She originated brOWN//out, the south asian queer and trans stage at Pride Toronto. As a recovering-writer and a hesitant-curator, Anu Radha has been fortunate to support the creativity of folks who are typically unwelcome, under-represented or invisibilized from mainstream arts spaces, such as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) communities, queer and trans folks, youth, women, and all sorts of weirdos. Her current commitments include working in cancer research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, coordination a project on Inclusive Leadership at the Association of Ontario Health Centre, charing the board of Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre, and providing consulting expertise to various community-based organizations across the GTA. Anu Radha is a queer, diasporic, sometimes-femme, a survivor, and someone who lives with mental health struggles. Find her (sometimes) on Twitter @aradhaverma.

Leslie Page (Art Gallery of Burlington) Leslie Page is motivated by laughter, a sense of order and a desire to inspire meaningful dialogue. Her nonlinear career path includes retail management, volunteer coordination, event planning and communications administration which led to coordinating the Education programs for the AGB, formerly the Burlington Art Centre. Having earned her degree in English (minor in Art history) from McMaster University, it is the eclectic mix of education and experience that she brings to her role as Creative Programs Advisor with the Art Gallery of Burlington.

March 28, 2017: PAONE Conference ~ Examining Resilience in Arts Education Programming


PAONE is hosting its first conference of 2017: Examining Resilience in Arts Education Programming.

Join us as we discuss how the arts, and arts education programming contributes to building resilience in youth. Lead by PAONE member Carrie Hage, we will learn more about resiliency, and of best practices of arts education programming that support building resilience in youth.

Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Location: OCADU MCC 525 in the Annex Building at 113 McCaul St., Toronto
Timing: 9-11:30am (Registration: 8:45-9am)
PWYC: Suggested donation: $10
RSVP by: Friday, March 24 by noon to info@paone.ca

Guest speakers:
Connie Chisholm from CoDesign
Julian Diego from SKETCH
Noorin Fazal from Story Planet (note: updated March 27)

About the facilitator:
Carrie Hage is an actor, storyteller, educator and facilitator. An acting graduate from Dalhousie University (Double Honours in Theatre and Spanish), Carrie began her professional career in Toronto in theatre, film, and TV (founding member of WORKhouse Theatre). Years later, in pursuit of even more adventure, Carrie moved to London, England to pursue a Masters in Applied Theatre at Goldsmith’s University. Following her studies, she worked in London as an applied-theatre practitioner with Mencap, Ovalhouse Theatre, Cardboard Citizens, and Corali Dance Company. Carrie specializes in working with youth at risk of social exclusion and has developed numerous community projects and school programs with a focus on building resilience, self-confidence and community.

About the guest speakers:
Connie Chisholm is the principal of CoDesign, a social enterprise that organizes and facilitates collaborative projects between marginalized communities and post-secondary design students.These projects produce tangible objects/products that directly benefit the participating community. Connie has worked for eighteen years as a self-employed furniture designer/maker and currently teaches design and craftsmanship at Sheridan College and OCAD University. She started CoDesign in 2010.

Julian Diego is a Community Arts practitioner and passionate advocate for access and inclusion in art-making. He believes that everyone has creative aspects that can be encouraged and developed, and that as they do, communities develop and deepen their understanding of members and themselves.

Julian has facilitated arts programming, with a focus on marginalized youth, for over a decade in Toronto. He is fascinated by different ways to increase the palette of expressive options available to people who may not be able to afford or access traditional opportunities.

Julian is an experienced screen printer, a highly trained kung fu practitioner and performer, and is certified as a Mentor Artist-Educator through the RCM. Julian has worked with youth in a variety of contexts for over 25 years, including homeless shelters, community drop ins, and  at SKETCH,  and has worked abroad in Belize for the Dept. of Human Development, Woman’s Department.

Noorin Fazal is a learning experience (LX) designer and educator. She is driven by human-centred curriculum, community activation, arts- and technology-based literacy, and equity and inclusion practices. With over 8 years in the field, Noorin has taught more than 650 students aged 12-18. In addition to teaching, Noorin has consulting on LX design for various companies and organizations, including the National Film Board for Canada, the Aga Khan Museum, and the Feminist Art Conference.

Noorin entered the education field in 2007 as part of the Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP). STEP is a double Master’s program at the Institute of Education, UCL, currently ranked 1st in the world for Education. For her graduate work, Noorin conducted action research at the intersection of critical thinking, ethical literacy, and creative expression in Muslim religious education. She centred her studies on the question, ‘What does it mean to be human?’ For Noorin, this question lies at the heart of all artistic and educational practice.

Currently, Noorin directs programming, training, and LX design at Story Planet, a non-profit storymaking community, focusing on under-resourced parts of Toronto. Story Planet creates spaces for kids and teens to discover and develop their voice through visual art, digital media, theatre, and writing. The Story Planet team believes that through the making and sharing of stories, we can reach our potential for empathy and interconnection. Creative portfolio: www.noorinfazal.carbonmade.com.


Oct. 19, 2016: PAONE’s Morning Mixer & AGM ~ Save The Date


SAVE THE DATE: The 2016 PAONE Morning Mixer & AGM is fast-approaching. Meet your colleagues and friends in the sector!

Wednesday October 19, 2016
OISE, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Time and details TBA

Check back here for more information soon.

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.