Central Commerce Collegiate

See what’s happening around our host school, Central Commerce Collegiate Institute.

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop- Making a difference in the lives of students!

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop is a vibrant, interactive presentation that demonstrates how modern hip-hop shares many similarities with the themes, language and rhythm used by Shakespeare. Both are full of poetry, word play and lyricism, and both deal with what it is to be human.

Students at Central Toronto Academy were inspired by the Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop performance, and found a way to combine Shakespeare and rap for their final Drama class project! Find out what they had to say about the show, and watch them rehearse!

The Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop tour will be back for the 2015/16 season! Visit our website or send an e-mail to info@shakespeareinaction.org for more info!

A Student’s POV- Stage Combat

The date is January 21, 2014, and it seemed as if this day took forever to come…

It all started last Monday in my schools’ drama class, as we were all getting excited for the upcoming unit. Our teacher told us about this unit at the beginning of the year, but we didn’t want to get too excited. We still had the whole semester in front of us before we could do this, but when last Monday came around, you could see the excitement in all our eyes. I even saw a little excitement in my teacher, although he didn’t want to show it.

We all knew he was excited, because our next unit was Stage Combat. That’s right… Stage Combat! And we weren’t going to learn how to give a fake punch, or pretend to kick someone. No, we were going to be using swords. Our teacher stepped in front of the class the prior Friday, and gave a brief, but exciting announcement.

“Tomorrow, we will be have a guest come in by the name of Simon. Get ready for some sword fightin’.”

We were so excited when Simon came in on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and taught us so many things, from how to properly defend yourself, to how to “kill” your opponent and make it look believable. For days, we worked in partners for our scene, and they were all very funny scenes. There was one about a couple fighting on if they should watch an action movie or a musical, and there was another about a drug deal gone wrong, and then there was mine, Blockbuster versus Netflix. Each group took the moves taught and mixed them to make incredible fighting scenes.

Now before I finish, I must give a thank you to Shakespeare In Action, because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have been able to do this since Simon worked with them. Thank you and goodbye.

Josh Peters is a Grade 11 student at Central Commerce Collegiate. He has been with SIA this past semester as part of his co-op placement
. We enjoyed working with him, and wish him the best of luck for next semester!

The Shakespeare In Action Blog is Moving!

The time has come, my friends, to move the Shakespeare In Action Blog a bit closer to home.

Sad, I know, but it’s not like we’re leaving the internet for good! You can visit us at our new home:


We’ve got loads of new ideas for blog posts coming, including news and information about our upcoming shows, educational programming, and fundraisers! Bookmark our new page and visit us sometime! We are keeping this page up as well, so you will be able to access all of our blog posts of the past!

Away, away! Once more, sweet lords farewell.

“heART this!” Central Commerce students look back on an evening of art, dance, music, and fashion

- heART this! -  A fundraiser for inner-city ARTs Nelly Furtado shows off a "We Take No BULL-ying" tee, designed by Central Commerce Collegiate Institute's Art Department and its students!

– heART this! –
A fundraiser for inner-city ARTs
Nelly Furtado shows off a “We Take No BULL-ying” tee, designed by Central Commerce Collegiate Institute’s Art Department and its students!


On Friday, May 31, 2013, Central Commerce Collegiate (CCC) hosted “heART this!” – an eclectic evening of student and professional art, dance, music and fashion at Walnut Contemporary Gallery. This event was an extension of CCC’s Art & Culture Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM), in which students earn course credits, while learning from and working with industry professionals.

Photographers, underground graffiti and media artists all played a part in CCC’s SHSM programming. Entertainment was provided by DJ Club, various crump dance crews, beat-boxers, and even a student opera singer. A fashion segment featured designs from Dutch Blonde, Global Warming Tees, and CCC’s own “We Take No BULL-ying” t-shirt. Students modeled alongside Toronto transgender icons Myles Sexton and Derek Friday. Canadian and international superstar Nelly Furtado even came by to assist with hair and make-up!

We caught up with two CCC students – Terika Davis and Matthew Chung – who both played an integral part in the evening’s festivities*:


SIA:  Tell me a little about yourselves; what are you passionate about?

Terika:  I’m in Grade 12, a SHSM student.  I have a passion for lyrical dance. Most time, when I dance, there has to be a meaning behind it. I don’t like to just perform; I like it to be meaningful. I also make a lot of jewelry designs on the theme “the power of love.”

Matthew:  I am in Grade 12 and I’m in the SHSM program. I like art – LOVE actually. When I was young, I was really very sensitive about different colours and shapes and lines. I enjoy painting and digital art.

SIA:  What was your role in the “heART this!” event?

Terika:  My role was to sell jewelry – necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

Matthew:  I helped creating the poster and flyers, and I was also one of the models (laughs) wearing the “Power of Love” t-shirt (a collaboration with Global Warming Tees). One of my paintings was hanging there too.

SIA:  How did it feel to have your painting hanging on the wall at Walnut Contemporary?

Matthew:  It was exciting and I think it was a very good experience for me, because I feel like I was a real artist.

SIA:  You are a real artist! Matthew, you also had co-op placement at Walnut Studios, right?  What did you do there?

Matthew:  I worked with celebrated portrait artist Ilene Sova, also the [Artistic] Director of Walnut Studios. I prepared the art show for her, called Spring for Art. I e-mailed all the artists and sent them their own invites that I made, and I also sent out the promo. flyers to people’s houses, in their mailbox. I also helped hang up the artwork for the show and promoted the show online through different social media. And I also helped creating an Instagram account and uploaded pictures for them and also [updated] their Facebook.

SIA:  It sounds like you had a very full experience.

Matthew:  Yes.

SIA:  Why did you want to participate in the Arts & Culture SHSM program at CCC?

Matthew: Because it’s about art and I love it – I love art.  And I also believe that I can learn a lot in that program.

SIA:  And the event?

Terika:  Just to raise awareness. For instance, the main theme of the event is “the art of acceptance,” so I thought that I could use art to raise awareness on anti-bullying.

SIA:  What was the best part of the experience for you?

Terika:  One of the best parts was creating the “Power of Love” t-shirts. I think that it was really meaningful. From this experience I learned that it is important to love each other – to accept everyone no matter what their gender, their ethnicity etc. To accept everyone for who they are.

Matthew:  The co-op placement ’cause I learned a lot there; I have done a lot that I have never done before.

SIA:  Where will your journey take you next year?

Matthew:  I’m going to George Brown next year to study jewelry methods. My family – actually my dad and uncle – are jewelry-makers, so I actually want to help them after I graduate, to help the family business.

Terika:  Well next year, I’m going to work to prepare for university. In the future I want to be a high school teacher.

SIA:  Did your teacher, Ms Di Leo, inspire you?

Terika:  Yes.  Yes she did.

SIA:  Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Matthew:  I hope I can continue to follow my dream and to be a real artist one day.

Terika:  I just hope the best for CCC. Even after I leave. I hope to give back to this school.


* These interviews were conducted separately and have been combined for easier reading!

To read an earlier interview with Rebecca Di Leo, the current Head of Central Commerce Collegiate’s (he)ARTS Department, click here!

Photo Friday- A Little Bit of Drama Outside

Hello dear Shakespeare fans!

Today, I am going to share some photos with you that I took at the Central Commerce Collegiate End of Year BBQ! We dined on hot dogs and cupcakes, had 90’s flashbacks listening to the Macarena (if you don’t know what that is, ask your parents!) and had the pleasure of watching and listening to some very talented students perform for us!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Have a great weekend!

“heART this!” @ Walnut Contemporary Friday, May 31st!

heART this! A fundraiser for inner-city ARTs Friday, May 31, 2013 Walnut Contemporary 201 Niagara Street, Toronto 6-11pm Free.  Donations welcome. Image: Karim Romero

heART this!
A fundraiser for inner-city ARTs
Friday, May 31, 2013
Walnut Contemporary
201 Niagara Street, Toronto
Free. Donations welcome.
Image: Karim Romero


Shakespeare in Action is Artistic Company in Residence in Central Commerce Collegiate Institute – a school with a 100-year-old history and some amazing teachers.

Tonight, Rebecca DiLeo, the current Head of the CCCI Art Department, will host heART this! – one of the biggest events that she has planned, second only to her wedding.  Teacher, fashion illustrator, and entertainer at heart, Rebecca loves bringing people together for projects that create social awareness and change.   It’s never art for art’s sake.

heART this! – fundraiser for inner-city ARTs – will feature DJs, designers, 7 Toronto artists, and the work of talented CCCI students.  This event is an extension of the Arts & Culture Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program at the school, a program that Rebecca has overseen for the past two years.


SIA:  So what exactly is a Specialist High Skills Major?

Beckie:  It’s experiential learning.  It’s about getting students out of the classroom and into the community – to work with professionals, gain expertise, and understand the fundamentals of whatever excursion we happen to be on.

SIA: So the SHSM is interdisciplinary by nature?

Beckie:  Yes. I find the SHSM is shaped by the availability of the contacts within my community and the current trends in pop culture.  I want to make the program relevant to students. I want it to be as current and contemporary as possible. And I want to expose students to a variety of arts, to help them make decisions about what they want to pursue post-secondary or in the workplace.

SIA:  Could you tell me a little more about heART this!?

Beckie:  One of my major principles or philosophies in becoming an artist is learning the art of collaboration. heART this! is an event that brings together professionals from a variety of artistic fields, who will showcase their work alongside students enrolled in the Arts at CCC. It’s an exciting opportunity for students to exhibit and potentially sell their work – their work being everything from digital art, to photography, to mixed media painting, to jewelry design, to fashion design. This event will have another layer to it and that will be to promote the art of acceptance, something we’ve explored through previous anti-bullying campaigns.

SIA:  When you say the “art of acceptance,” you mean that two ways, right?

Beckie:  Right. Through collaboration with Global Warming Tees (spreading a positive message, one t-shirt at a time), various jewelry designers (Kurve Jewelry, Myles Sexton), and artists who up-cycle used clothes (Jool Designs), students have created a fashion line that promotes the art of self-expression.  Fashions will be paired with our “We take no bull-ying” t-shirts.”   Students are going to be modelling with professional models and are going to be advocates for progressive arts programming and acceptance all around.  The money is going to back into our Arts Department.

SIA: What is your vision for CCCI Arts in the future?

Beckie:  I think it’s wonderful having professional theatre company working out of our school facility. Ideally, I’d like to rent out rooms to artists, create residencies in exchange for programming.  I’d like to take the learning on the road – the City is my classroom.



heART this!
A fundraiser for inner-city ARTs
Friday, May 31, 2013
Walnut Contemporary
201 Niagara Street, Toronto
Free.  Donations welcome.

What if Shakespeare…were STUCK IN TRAFFIC?

The two hours traffic of our stage: (1)

Like captives bound to a triumphant car – / What! shall we curse the planets of mishap / That plotted thus..? (2) Traffic confound thee, if the gods will not! (3)

O illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels (4) – that same wicked bastard…that was begot of thought, conceiv’d of spleen, and born of madness! (5)  Under your hard construction must I sit (6) I’ the midst o’ the body, idle and unactive (7).

I am arrested in the street (8) creeping like snail / Unwillingly (9).  Beyond the bounds of patience (10) Men all in fire walk up and down (11), stand in narrow lanes / And beat [their] watch (12).  Sorrow snares relenting passengers (13).

The horn, the horn, the lusty horn / Is not a thing to laugh to scorn (14).


1)    Romeo & Juliet, Prologue

2)    Henry VI, I; 1.1

3)    Timon of Athens, 1.1

4)    Much Ado About Nothing, 3.4

5)    As You Like It, 4.1

6)    Twelfth Night, 3.1

7)    Coriolanus, 1.1

8)    Comedy of Errors, 4.1

9)    As You Like It, 2.7

10)  Henry IV, I; 1.3

11)  Julius Caesar, 1.3

12)  Richard II, 5.3

13)  Henry VI, II, 3.1

14)  As You Like It, 4.2


Shakespeare re-arranged by L.I.

Photo Friday – A moment of silence for the victims of bullying

The Winter’s Tale:
“The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades when speaking fails.”
– II.ii, 893-894 –

At 11am today, 290,000 Toronto District School Board staff and students held a moment of silence to remember the victims of bullying. As members of the Central Commerce C.I. community, SIA stands with its peers.


Remembrance Day

World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June, but the fighting stopped seven months beforehand when an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. This meant that both sides agreed to stop fighting one another. It is for this reason that November 11th, the day the armistice was agreed upon, marks the end of the War.

Remembrance Day, or Veterans Day as it is known in the United States, is a day dedicated to remember the members of the armed forces who gave their lives and/or service during the war. A moment of silence takes place at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month as this marks the time when the armistice came into effect in 1918.

Red poppies are worn on Remembrance Day and for weeks beforehand. The use of the poppy was inspired by the first line in a poem. In Flanders Field, commonly thought to have been written by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, is a poem written after McCrae witnessed the death of his friend, Lt. Alexis Helmer.

The text, as provided in a collection of poems by McCrae in 1919, is as follows:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

This year is a particularly special year as it marks the first time since the war ended that Remembrance Day takes place at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year.

We at Shakespeare in Action would like to wish you all a reflective Remembrance Day as we thank those who gave their lives so we might be free.