Nuit Blanche 2014

Nuit Blanche is one of the most exciting times of the year for artists and art lovers in Toronto. Streets all across Downtown Toronto will be closed from sunset to sunrise, and will be filled with art exhibits of every kind, from sculptures, to interactive installations, to short film screenings!

Here is a list of some of the projects that we are hoping to see on Saturday night. If you are a fan of reading, performance, or community art, you might enjoy them too!

1. Incandescent Community Mural

By: Neighbourhood Arts Network

Throughout the evening participants will be invited to paint symbols, words and images on the mural as it links to themes of creativity, community and equity. Using non-toxic sheer high gloss paints, the 7ft tall cylindrical free standing structure that glows from within will gradually become an illuminated colourful installation that celebrates the impact of the arts in our neighbourhoods and the collective creativity of all of Toronto’s diverse people.

Read more about the project here!

2. Shy Lights

By: Urban Visuals

In the city at night, a circular spot of light might represent performance or surveillance. In each case, light aims to illuminate its subject. But what if lights instead resisted their subjects? What if those lights were shy?

Shy Lights explores the distinction between spotlight and searchlight by reversing the roles of light and subject. Six beams of light act as anti-spotlights that move to avoid illuminating participants in this interactive installation.

Read more about the project here!

3. Goodnight Storytime

By: Diaspora Dialogues

An interactive literary installation where audiences can take some time from their busy lives to relive the calm moments of childhood, take a brief nap, and listen to some of Toronto’s best and brightest authors read their stories.

Read more about the project here!


By: Tony Conrad and Jennifer Walshe

THE SIGNING is a street spectacle shadow opera created simply with a sound system and a hanging projection scrim. The conceptual narrative revolves around the dramatic tension, both psychological and social, enacted in the signing of a document such as a loan form, a divorce, a recruitment form or a contract.

Read more about the project here!

5. Split Chorale for Viljo Revell

By: Kathryn Andrews and Scott Benzel

Responding to the architecture of Toronto’s City Hall (Viljo Revell, 1965), nicknamed “The Eye of the Government” because its shape is much like a large eye overlooking Nathan Phillips Square, artist Kathryn Andrews presents a large-scale performance work that transforms the building’s multilayered interior into an inverted theatre, where the traditional posts of performer and audience are swapped. Upon entering the building, visitors encounter a panoply of video montages floating on its central stalk, while simultaneously being viewed by a legion of choral singers engaged in a marathon drone.

Read more about the project here!

What projects are you most excited to see this year at Nuit Blanche? Leave a comment and let us know!

A Gift From Our New Friend, Hytbi Tarelli

Today, Toronto based artist Hytbi Tarelli stopped by the Shakespeare in Action office to share one of his pieces of art. He shared a great Shakespeare sculpture with us, and we got to keep it! Now we are going to find somewhere special in the office to display it!


Shakespeare sculpture by Hytbi Tarelli


Michael Kelly poses with our new Shakespeare sculpture!

We want to offer a huge thanks to Hytbi for the lovely piece, and welcome him to the Shakespeare in Action family!

If you are interested in checking out Hytbi’s other works, you can visit his website here.

Do-It-Yourself Greeting Cards for Everyone on Your List!

Until the day that door-to-door mail delivery is phased out by Canada Post, my favourite thing about the Holidays will always be writing and receiving Christmas cards. However, every now and then I find myself unsure of exactly what to write…we’ve all been there! Staring at a card, so much blank space, there is already a generic message printed:

“Wishing you and yours a happy holiday & best wishes for a prosperous new year”

You wonder if simply signing your name below seem boring and unsentimental?…But what else is there to say to that work colleague or extended family member with whom you’re not particularly close with? I have the answer! Get crafty and create your own card this year! If you’re lost for words, look to good ol’ Shakespeare for a quote or a sonnet that’s sure to go a lot further than “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

To help you get started, I’ve selected some quotes to include in your Do-It-Yourself Greeting Card below, as well as some crafty ideas that make an intelligent and festive impression. Have fun!

You can use any type of paper you have kicking around at home. Gift wrap, cardstock or even brown paper can be really effective. Accessorize your card with stamps, ribbons, yarn, bows, or even fabrics like felt or satin to give texture and add a really fancy look!




Recycling the front of an old card is trendy and environmentally friendly! Simply adhere the decorative front part to some cardstock and POOF! A brand new card!


And here are some interesting quotes by Shakespeare to include in your card!

At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
-Love’s Labours Lost (Act I, scene 1)

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
-All’s Well That Ends Well

If music be the food of love, play on.
-Twelfth Night

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
-Hamlet (Act I, scene 3)

It is a wise father that knows his own child.
-The Merchant of Venice (Act II, scene 2)

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
-Twelfth Night (Act III, scene 4)

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
-As You Like It (Act II, scene 1)


Monday Mystery!

Our Kids’ Camp actors are rehearsing their performance of The Tempest.
What differences are there between these two Waterhouse paintings of Miranda?
Which lines in the play do you think the images best express?

Miranda, 1875, John William Waterhouse

Miranda, 1875, John William Waterhouse

Miranda, a character in "The Tempest," a play by William Shakespeare; 1916; John William Waterhouse

Miranda, a character in The Tempest, a play by William Shakespeare; 1916;
John William Waterhouse

“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!

Dundas West Fest – Saturday, June 8th!

- Inaugural Dundas West Fest - Saturday, June 8, 2013 11am - 10pm Dundas West, between Lansdowne Avenue & Roxton Road

– Inaugural Dundas West Fest –
Saturday, June 8, 2013
11am – 10pm
Dundas West, between Lansdowne Avenue & Roxton Road
To learn more, click here.


It’s all about community!

This Saturday, June 8th marks the inaugural Dundas West Fest – between Lansdowne Avenue & Roxton Road, from 11am to 1pm!  It’s…

…a car-free, participatory, community-inspired celebration of everything local!

There will be…

  • art & art-making
  • bartering
  • buskers
  • comedy
  • dance & dance lessons
  • food
  • kids’ zones
  • literature
  • live music
  • photography
  • shopping

Fun for the whole family – rain or shine!

This event is a collaboration between the Dundas West BIA and Little Portugal BIA, with support from Councillors Bailão (Ward 18) and Layton (Ward 19), and with support from many local organizations and residents.

For more information and a full event schedule, visit the website below!


Website – click here.
Facebook – click here.
Twitter – click here.

Shakespeare Kids – Meet 12-year-old Vanessa, Founder of Camp Wallflower




Meet Vanessa, in Grade 6 and going places.  Vanessa became part of the Shakespeare family years ago, when she participated in the TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club. Now, she’s making her own mark in the community, as the founder of Camp Wallflower – a free, two-day camp for girls 11-13. Vanessa was kind enough to take time out her busy day to speak with me.

Laboni: Tell me a little about yourself.

Vanessa: I’m 12 years old. I was given a grant from York University to take part in a youth-led initiative program called EGCC – Engaging Girls Changing Communities. It was a contest. I thought of having a camp for girls who are socially awkward and that’s how the idea started.

Laboni: How did you hear about the opportunity?

Vanessa: My mom had Facebook at the time and she was looking on-line, on her wall and news feed and saw this contest from one of her friends. I was looking through all the rubrics and only ages 15-25 could participate. I was really disappointed when I saw that. I really wanted to do it. I wasn’t going to give up, so I asked my mom if she could e-mail the lead group, EGCC, and she did…They told us they would lower the age range because of her request…I am the youngest of all chosen.

Laboni: What was your inspiration?

Vanessa: When I go to school, I see girls who are not raising their hands and a really shy and I think that’s really sad. I thought that it would be a good idea to address this idea publicly. I thought that the camp would educate them in a fun sort of way.

Laboni: Were you shy?

Vanessa: I would say I was a little more shy before, and I became more comfortable as the years went by.

Laboni: Tell me a little more about Camp Wallflower.

Vanessa: It’s for girls ages 11-13. It’s a free two-day camp, June 8th and 9th (it’s a weekend). The camp runs from 10am to 3pm on both days, in the Grandravine Community Centre.

I will have 8 different stations, like music, arts, sports etc. and each of those stations will have a different goal. Let’s say you were participating in a sports station, then the goal is learning to work as a team.

We will have different presentations and different speakers. Councillor Maria Augimeri will be making an appearance, Girl Guides, and [a] Plan Canada “Because I am a girl” [campaign representative].

Laboni: Want do you want girls to take away from Camp Wallflower?

Vanessa: I would want them to be more social, and I want them to be aware of this whole idea, why I’m doing this…I’m pretty sure they will be exposed to different things and hopefully that will open their minds a bit more.

Laboni:  Thanks Vanessa. Is there anything else that you would like to share?

Vanessa: I’ve been asked a lot what a wallflower is. A wallflower is basically someone who is not very outgoing, very shy, an observer, someone who watches from the sidelines. My Grade 2 teacher explained that to us.

Camp Wallflower: A Place for Girls
Ages 11-13
Grandravine Community Recreation Centre
23 Grandravine Drive, North York
Saturday, June 8th & Sunday, June 9th, 2013
10am-3pm daily
To register, e-mail

Spread the word!
Facebook – Camp Wallflower
Twitter @campwallflower

“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.