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Forward March Festival

This April, Theatre Direct presents Spark the Future!, our third annual Forward March Festival, in which we ask emerging artists to show us the future, now

Each day of the online festival will feature the premiere of a new work by emerging artists that sparks the future of performance and reminds kids that the show must go on–even if it’s online!

This year’s online festival will feature live performances from emerging artists and an Industry Series including screenings, workshops and panel discussions with industry professionals around the creation and curation of digital work and theatre for young audiences. 

Join us as we gather for five days of festival fun and uncover new ways to let the show go on! Select Industry Series events are open to the public outside of our participating artists, festival delegates and Virtual Spring Break campers. We encourage you to register in advance here and secure your spot. All public programming is free to attend and ASL Interpretation (provided by Deaf Spectrum) or Closed Captions available as indicated in each event description. Please see below for the full festival schedule including events open to the public and registration.

Spark the Future! runs in partnership with our Virtual Spring Break Camp. As part of the program, campers will attend the premieres before presenting their own original show at the end of the week.  

For additional information or questions, please contact
Associate Artistic Director Sehar Bhojani at sehar@theatredirect.ca.


SPARK THE FUTURE! SCHEDULE

MONDAY APRIL 12

The Transformations Project Screening + Artist Q&A: “The Animals Who Wanted to Live Together” by Djennie Laguerre
Time: 12 – 12:30 pm EST
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct) 
Featured Artist: Djennie Laguerre
About: Watch one of Theatre Direct’s five commissions for The Transformations Project hosted by the National Arts Centre followed by a Q&A with the artists.
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates Only

Closed Captions Available For Screening


Performance + Artist Q&A: Maroula and the Balance of Nature by Haley Vincent
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 pm EST
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct)
Featured Artist: Haley Vincent
About: Through the use of shadow puppetry, projection and soundscape you will be transported into Maroula’s world. Maroula loves all things nature, but lacks an understanding of its intricacies. What starts innocently, taking home flowers and rocks, soon escalates! Maroula takes responsibility for her actions and learns the true meaning of the balance of nature.
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates, Virtual Spring Break Campers, Invited Families and Children Only

Closed Captions Available


Workshop: The Creative Art of Being ©
Time: 3 – 5 pm EST
Facilitator: Althea Knight
About: The Creative Art Being © is an expressive art based wellbeing program fostering personal growth and community development. Join us on your journey of exploration and healing. 
The Creative Art of Being © activates awareness, creativity and authenticity. Self discovery is the key, unleashing your imagination wild and free. Join us for these soulful celebrations, where rhythmic movements and meditation, meet voice play and art creations. Decrease stress & release tension as you increase vitality, joy and inspiration.
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates Only

Closed Captions Available


TUESDAY APRIL 13

The Transformations Project Screening + Artist Q&A: “Outside the Actress’ Studio” by Jaime “Lucinda Miu” Lujan 
Time: 12 – 12:30 pm EST
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct)
Featured Artist: Jaime “Lucinda Miu” Lujan 
About: Watch one of Theatre Direct’s five commissions for The Transformations Project hosted by the National Arts Centre followed by a Q&A with the artists.
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates Only

Closed Captions Available For Screening


Performance + Artist Q&A: Education Know-It-All by Rabiya Mansoor
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 pm EST
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct)
Featured Artist: Rabiya Mansoor
About: What does food look like in 2050? In 2200? Join Zorgy the Alien and a few experts from the future and find out in this improvised piece where the kids are in the driver’s seat!
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates, Virtual Spring Break Campers, Invited Families and Children Only

Closed Captions Available


Workshop & Panel: Digital Practices and Curation, OPEN TO PUBLIC
Time: 3 – 5 pm EST
Facilitators: Sadie Epstein-Fine + Maddie Bautista (ERASER + ERASER: A New Normal) 
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct)
Panelists: Jillian Keiley (NAC), Adrienne Wong (FOLDA) + Raeesa Lalani (Prismatic Arts)
About: 
Workshop: Following a sold-out digital school tour of ERASER: A New Normal, join co-director Sadie Epstein-Fine and sound designer Maddie Bautista as they share their best practices and tips and tricks from creating a virtual play during the pandemic. In addition, Maddie will lead workshop participants through an exploration into the basics of Q-Lab.

Panel: What considerations are on the table for curators when seeking digital creations? What are the considerations that curators are asking artists to make during this digital shift? Join us for a discussion with three dynamic artistic leaders about their experience in curating work online, their process of dissemination and the relationships they are building with artists in the Canadian arts community along the way. 

Check out the works of these facilitators and curators here: 
ERASER: A New Normal Trailer: https://vimeo.com/461120866
NAC/Grand Acts of Theatre: https://nac-cna.ca/en/video/series/grand-acts-of-theatre
FOLDA Website: https://www.folda.ca/
Prismatic Arts Festival Website: https://prismaticfestival.com/

Registration: Register via the link here!

ASL Interpretation Available


WEDNESDAY APRIL 14

The Transformations Project Screening + Artist Q&A: “Future Ancestors” by Sheniz Janmohamed 
Time: 12 – 12:30 pm EST
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct)
Featured Artist: Sheniz Janmohamed 
About: Watch one of Theatre Direct’s five commissions for The Transformations Project hosted by the National Arts Centre followed by a Q&A with the artists.
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates Only

Closed Captions Available For Screening


Performance + Artist Q&A: Doomsday vs. Dreamday and the Deepdrawer by Keira Marie Forde
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 pm EST
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct)
Featured Artist: Keira Marie Forde
About: Connect through the Virtual Firefly Optic System and experience the virtual dreamscape with human coder number 289 and her coworker LEGO Robot Battt with three t’s. Bring your favourite words to a quick dream coding session on just your typical Wednesday afternoon……with maybe a few glitches…… 
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates, Virtual Spring Break Campers, Invited Families and Children Only

Closed Captions Available


Workshop & Panel: Accessibility in the Digital Age, OPEN TO PUBLIC
Time: 3 – 5 pm EST
Facilitator/Moderator: Clayton Baraniuk (Electric Company Theatre)
Panelists: Rachel Marks, Ophira Calof, Sage Lovell (Deaf Spectrum), Irene Pollock (Sol Express) + Matt Rawlins (Sol Express)
About: 

Workshop: Learn strategies for how to make digital work accessible in a one-hour workshop led by Clayton Baraniuk, Artistic Producer of Electric Company Theatre and Access Coordinator with assistance from panelists and incredible artists Rachel Marks, Ophira Calof, Sage Lovell, Irene Pollock and Matt Rawlins. 

Panel: Following the workshop, hear the panelists in a conversation moderated by Clayton about how the performing arts have become more (or less) accessible amidst the pandemic and how these changes will serve the industry in the future. 

Registration: Register via the link here!

ASL Interpretation Available


THURSDAY APRIL 15


The Transformations Project Screening + Artist Q&A: “Rooted Imagination” by 2Skins Entertainment (Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah + Olivia Viggiani)
Time: 12 – 12:30 pm EST
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct)
Featured Artist: Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah + Olivia Viggiani
About: Watch one of Theatre Direct’s five commissions for The Transformations Project hosted by the National Arts Centre followed by a Q&A with the artists.
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates Only

Closed Captions Available For Screening


Performance + Artist Q&A: Voice in the Shadows by Passing Through Theatre (Lily Sutherland + Warda “Muna” Youssouf)
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 pm EST
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct)
Featured Artist: Lily Sutherland + Warda “Muna” Youssouf
About: Voice in the Shadows is a multi-disciplinary, digital theatre work which combines shadow puppetry, film and live performance. The story will take place in the year 2060, and revolves around a 10-year-old girl named Aisha who struggles with the ability to find her voice and discover her true self.
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates, Virtual Spring Break Campers, Invited Families and Children Only

Closed Captions Available


Workshop & Panel: Redefining TYA: Theatre FOR vs. BY Young Audiences, OPEN TO PUBLIC
Time: 3 – 5 pm EST
Facilitators: Pragna Desai-Vargoz & Madeleine Brown (Theatre Direct’s Creation Warehouse)
Moderator: Lisa Marie DiLiberto (Theatre Direct)
Panelists: Pierre Simpson (Théâtre français de Toronto/Les Zinspirés), Elena Eli Belyea, Tijana Spasic (Arts4All), Pablo Felices-Luna (Manitoba Theatre for Young People)
About:
Workshop: Led by Theatre Direct’s Creation Warehouse Director Pragna Desai and Associate Producer Madeleine Brown, the one-hour workshop will focus on facilitating artistic processes with young people in the driver’s seat. Join Pragna and Madeleine as they share the strategies they use in their work to foster young people’s imaginations and artistic voices. 

Panel: Who does the future of TYA belong to? How does the work shift and deepen when young people are invited into the process rather than only showing up in the audience? We invite you into a conversation about the insights, advantages and experiences that are possible when young people are given the opportunity to create alongside artists in the community.

Registration: Register via the link here!

ASL Interpretation Available


FRIDAY APRIL 16

The Transformations Project Screening + Artist Q&A: “Where My Thoughts Take Me” by Saba Akhtar 
Time: 12 – 12:30 pm EST
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct)
Featured Artist: Saba Akhtar 
About: Watch one of Theatre Direct’s five commissions for The Transformations Project hosted by the National Arts Centre followed by a Q&A with the artists.
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates Only

Closed Captions Available For Screening


Performance + Artist Q&A: What was that beep, click, hum? by Theatre Direct’s Warehouse Troupe
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 pm EST
Moderator: Sehar Bhojani (Theatre Direct)
Featured Artist: Theatre Direct’s Warehouse Troupe
About: A class of students from the future hear a mysterious sound. Join them as they journey into space to investigate in this wild, silly and thrilling multi-disciplinary play created by the inaugural members of the Warehouse Troupe ages six to twelve. 
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates, Virtual Spring Break Campers, Invited Families and Children Only

Closed Captioning or ASL Interpretation NOT Available


Workshop: Trivia Night!
Time: 3 – 5 pm EST
Facilitators: Sehar Bhojani and Madeleine Brown (Theatre Direct)
About: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates team up with artistic leaders from across Canada for a totally serious and totally silly game of trivia. 
Registration: Spark the Future! Artists and Delegates Only

Closed Captioning or ASL Interpretation NOT Available