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Newsletter - New Year 2023

Happy New Year and Thank you!

2022 was a year of change and growth for Arts Orillia. We are grateful to the tremendous artists who have participated in our season so far – and to the community for your support.

This winter, Dance&Design is back at the Orillia Opera House with residencies that will support two new projects. Emma Kerson and Jane-Alison McKinney of Bare Nerve along with Lighting Designer Noah Feaver are here to create hard wire, a performance that “reflects on life in the face of a climate in crisis.” This creative process is followed by another Dance&Design residency with BoucharDanse which brings Choreographer Sylvie Bouchard and Visual Designer Ed Pien to Orillia. Their work, très loin, tackles the difficult subject matter of youth mental health. To attend a community demonstration on Jan. 19th or 26th, please reserve a spot here.

hard wire - Bare Nerve

très loin - BoucharDanse

Join us on February 4th at 5:00pm for a film screening of Reduced, a new dance film by Dance&Design recipient, Aliyah Beckles. We’ll follow the film with an artist’s talk and a reading by Aliyah from her new book, We Are Here: Stories from Southern Georgian Bay BIPOC Women. Reserve your spot here. We look forward to seeing you for this event at Creative Nomad Studios!


Here's a snapshot of 2022!

We started our season last year with Theatre and Cross Creativity - a project that gathered Simon Malbogat, Iain Moggach, Zain Campbell, and Desirée Leverenz at the Orillia Opera House for workshops and a discussion with the community about how to use theatre as a tool for civic change.

Through the winter and spring we hosted many artists from different disciplines to facilitate workshops for students from the Protestant Separate School Board, Simcoe County District School Board, and Mnjikaning Kendaaswin Elementary School.

In May we invited Choreographer Aliyah Beckles and Lighting Designer Vera Oleynikova for a Dance&Design residency at the Orillia Opera House.

June marked our fifth season of Gathering: Festival of First Nations Stories in partnership with Rama First Nation.

Left to right: Fred Addis, Kate Hilliard, Lisa Bird-Wilson, Cynthia Wesley Esquimaux, Brenda Wastasecoot, Armand Garnet Ruffo, Shanika MacEachern and Breighlynn, Waubgeshig Rice, Norma Dunning, Sherry Lawson, Chief Ted Williams, and Drew Hayden Taylor.

September was a busy month with another Dance&Design residency that brought Allison Cummings, Val Calam, and Vivine Scarlett. We’re looking forward to sharing this project next season!

Did you hear about our wonderful outdoor student performance at the Leacock Museum in partnership with our colleagues at Fall for Dance North? In Blue Rooms was created by Zach Martel and Santiago Rivera and performed by Basile Pucek, Brad Cherwin, Clémence Dinard, Daniel Hamin Go, Daniel Stefek, Michael Bridge, and Philippe Dupuis as part of FFDN’s Heirloom series.

This October, Arts Orillia produced the Orillia Jazz Festival for the first time. The event brought a fiercely talented group of artists including: Thomson Egbo Egbo Trio, Vicki St. Denys, Miyeko Ferguson, Monique Pascall, Vania Dodoo Beals, Rosie Harbans, Maria Riano, Brassworks, and Lance Anderson with Neil Swainson, Terry Clarke, and Vern Dorge. We also connected with some of the community leaders who have cared for this well-loved event. Thank you, Suds Sutherland and Randy Hoover, for advising us and walking us down memory lane – and thank you, Christina Bosco, Curtis Metcalf, Jessica Kussen, Robyn Watson and Laura Christi for inspiring Orillia’s youth musicians.

In November, we hosted Choreographer Shameka Blake in collaboration with Lighting Designer Emerson Kafarowski and dancers Diane Jean-Louis, Marquisha Sparkes, and Onija Bennett of Artists In Motion, for another Dance&Design residency. The company developed a performance called Black In Canada. We can’t wait to bring this back to our community in the 2023/24 season.

We would like to thank the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage (ORAH) committee for their important contribution of arts awards for our community – and for the gratefully appreciated recognition of Arts Orillia Artistic Director, Kate Hilliard, for her work in education through the arts. Here she is at the awards ceremony with our Chair, Fred Larsen.

That’s a wrap for 2022. We’ll be back with more news about our spring events this March! In the meantime we’re sending you our best for a great start to 2023!

The Team at Arts Orillia

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