WeeFestival Conference       2018 dates to come!


Charting New Territory: Research and Practice in Theatre and Play for Early Years

May 17, 2016
11h30 – 16h30
10h00 Coffee and Registration
Pia Bouman Studios

At the Symposium we will:

…ask probing questions, share groundbreaking research, focus on children’s rights and artist responsibilities, and contemplate the nature of play and creative approaches to developing work for the very young.

…hear from internationally renowned scholars and artists.

11h30 Keynote Address: Dr. Ben Fletcher-Watson, Scotland
Equality and Artistic Integrity in Theatre for Early Years

12h30 -13h30 Lunch
hosted by York University Theatre Department

13h30 Keynote Presentation: Lise Hovik, Norway
Improvisation and free play as principles guiding artmaking for babies

14h00 Panel: Children’s Rights, Creativity, and Creative Practice
Ontario researchers and practitioners share their recent work related to young children and children with Multiple Exceptionalities or Mixed Abilities. Their presentations offer insights into ways to approach and think about dance, theatre, music, free play, and space.

Michelle Silagy, Choreographer, Teaching Artist, Master DanceAbility Teacher
Danielle DiCarlo and Paloma Holmes, Phd Candidates, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, U of T
Maja Ardal, Theatre Artist
Dr. Sean Hutchins, Neuroscientist, Royal Conservatory of Music

15h30 Roundtable: The Child in Mind-views of the child as subject, audience member, and stakeholder in arts and research for Early Years

Participants contribute their diverse perspectives to thought-provoking questions about ways that understandings of children and childhood, and perspectives on the specific role of the arts in our communities, influence their work.

Franco Boni, General and Artistic Director, The Theatre Centre
Dr. Peter Cumming, Coordinator, Children’s Studies Program, York University, Toronto, Canada
Lynda Hill, Artistic & Executive Director, Theatre Direct
Ben Chaisson, Playground Studios
Lee Maracle, Author and Academic
Dr. Sharon Murphy, York University
Dr. Belarie Zatzman, York University Theatre Department

17h00 End of Symposium

Professional Gathering:
Creating, Producing, and Presenting Theatre for Early Years

Professional Gathering
May 18th, 2016
12h00 – 17h00
Pia Bouman Studios

12h00 Delegate Luncheon

12h30: Keynote: Columpa Bobb
Indigenous Theatre for Very Young Audiences, a Foundation for Connection and Reconciliation 

13h00 Performance of Jumping Mouse by Urban Indigenous Theatre (Manitoba)
Pia Bouman Scotia Bank Studio Theatre

14h00: Keynote: Rhona Matheson Chief Executive Officer, Starcatchers (Scotland)

14h30: Panel: Thinking Outside the Box Office
Inspiring approaches to creation, audience engagement, touring, and presenting.

We invite you to listen to presentations from WeeFestival companies working in a range of contexts about their unique approaches to engaging their audiences and communities.

La Baracca-Testoni Ragazzi (Italy)
Theater de Spiegel (Belgium)
Théàtre des Petites Âmes (Québec)
Urban Indigenous Theatre (Manitoba)
Helios Theatre (Germany)
le Chemin qui Marche, (Québec)

15h30 Presentation of Theatre for Early Years Study, Quebec
Pierre Tremblay, TUEJ, (Quebec)

Quebec has seen more and more theatre creation for very young audiences in the last decade. Young families and early childhood centers quickly found great interest in the artistic works for this audience. However, offering shows to that public presented quite a few difficulties for the presenters: space and security adapted to that public, small audiences meant smaller revenues that could hardly meet the cost of the presentation. Realizing those difficulties, Théâtre Unis Enfance Jeunesse, the major theatre association for young audiences in Quebec, did a study on the situation of theatre for very small and very young audiences compared to the broader spectrum of TYA presentations considering, for the last five seasons, territories, age groups, family and school audiences, festivals, performance fee and cost of presentation for the company. Pierre Tremblay will share some of the results and findings of that study.

16h00 Roundtable
Artists, presenters, programmers, and education representatives discuss the successes and challenges, obstacles and opportunities in producing and touring theatre for early years.

Christine Jackson, Toronto District School Board
Dan Watson, Ahuri Theatre
Joanne Churchill, Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Stéphane Gauthier, Carrefour francophone de Sudbury
Lise Gionet, Le Théâtre de Quartier

Moderator: Stéphanie Filippi Audience Development Coordinator, First Ontario Performing Arts Centre, St. Catharines, Ontario
French/English Translation provided by Dominique Denis

17h00 End of Professional Gathering

17h30 -18h30 Reception
The Theatre Centre
hosted by le Bureau de Québec to welcome ASSITEJ Canada Board and WeeFestival Québec –based delegates

18h30 -19:30  Concert
The Theatre Centre
Featuring Auto Rickshaw!

New Works in Progress-Viewing and Sharing

New Works in Progress
Thursday, May 19th
The Theatre Centre Gallery
17h00 – 19h00

An informal presentation from Toronto-based artists engaged in the creation of new work for very young audiences followed by mixing and mingling with Festival artists.

Tweet, by Femmes du Feu (Toronto)
Mixed Feelings by Andrew Hartley, Emma Kerson, Jane Allison McKinney (Toronto)
Table Top Tales by Snafu Dance/Snack Music Collective (Toronto)