LAST CHANCE to see “Much Ado About Nothing” at Tarragon Theatre!

There is just over one week left to catch Tarragon Theatre’s latest production of Much Ado About Nothing!

Much Ado About Nothing, Tarragon Theatre (Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Much Ado About Nothing, Tarragon Theatre (Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Beatrice and Benedict take on Brampton in this Bollywood-inspired adaptation of Shakespeare’s most clever comedy. Moving from comedy to tragedy and back again with razor sharp wit, a familiar story takes on new meaning when set in our own backyard. Classical text fuses with Bollywood in this larger-than-life spectacle.

Running at Tarragon Theatre in the Mainspace until May 31, there are only a few opportunities left to catch this amazing production!

Visit or call 416-531-1827 to purchase your tickets today!

Adapting Shakespeare for Dance

We are all aware that Shakespeare’s plays are adapted for stage and film, but they are also adapted for dance! As The Toronto Star’s Michael Crabb states: “His wonderful plots and vivid characters are attractive to choreographers with an interest in narrative.”

One element that makes Shakespeare adaptable for dance is the deep emotional investment of each character. It is this deep emotion that helps drive the narrative of the plot in a wordless performance of his texts. Romeo and Juliet is often adapted for the stage, likely because the story lends itself well to the structure of a ballet, particularly the pas de deux. Listen to choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and two dancers talk about the National Ballet of Canada’s production of Romeo and Juliet.

While Shakespeare’s plays are adaptable, not all of his plays are considered suitable for dance adaptation. This is due to the complex interrelations between characters, the nature of the historical plays, and the changes in time and space within some of his plays. However, some choreographers are tackling these “undanceable” plays with much success. One example is Christopher Wheeldon’s A Winter’s Tale, which “weaves together music and design to plot a path through the narrative problems, and pretty much achieves the right balance of dance and storytelling.” (Judith Mackrell, The GuardianCrystal Pite takes a different approach to adapting Shakespeare by exploring motifs with The Tempest Replica.

Choreographers and dance companies have been adapting Shakespeare for more than three centuries, but often revisit the same plays: Hamlet, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet. Judith Mackrell suggests that they “consider the network of sexual and moral relationships at the heart of Measure for Measure – so much juicily tense and visceral human material to choreograph. Or Macbeth, whose dark, saturated imagery could be fantastically evoked through dance, lighting and digital effects. Or As You Like It, with its nesting box of love stories and fabulous central female role.

Which of Shakespeare’s plays would you like to see adapted to dance?

Some upcoming Shakespeare dance adaptations in the Toronto area include:
The Tempest Replica
, Bluma Appel Theatre, May 7 – 11, 2014
Romeo and Juliet,
National Ballet of Canada, June 20 – 22, 2014

To learn more about dance adaptations of Shakespeare’s works, here are some links to websites, essays and articles:

“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.

2013/14 Season Announcement!

For main-stage shows and workshops, call for more information or to book: 416-703-4881

- Hamlet's 100 Worries - November 25-29, 2013 Kaleb Alexander Photo: SIA

Main Stage:
Shakespeare meets shadow puppetry
December 2-6, 2013
Kaleb Alexander
Photo: SIA

Double Tragedy: - Romeo & Juliet -  March 31 - April 11, 2014 L-R: Kaleb Alexander and Shaina Silver-Baird Photo: Joel Charlebois

Main Stage:
Double Tragedy: Romeo & Juliet
March 31 – April 11, 2014
L-R: Kaleb Alexander and Shaina Silver-Baird
Photo: Joel Charlebois

Double Tragedy: - Macbeth -  March 31 - April 11, 2014 T-B: David Shelley and Kaleb Alexander Photo: Joel Charlebois

Main Stage:
Double Tragedy: Macbeth
March 31 – April 11, 2014
T-B: David Shelley and Kaleb Alexander
Photo: Joel Charlebois

On Tour: - Shakespeare Alive -  November 4 - 15. 2013 and April 28 - May 9, 2014 L-R: Kaleb Alexander, Shaina Silver-Baird, and Marcel Stewart Photo: SIA

On Tour:
Shakespeare Alive
November 4 – 15, 2013 & April 28 – May 9, 2014
Click here to read reviews!
L-R: Kaleb Alexander, Shaina Silver-Baird, and Marcel Stewart
Photo: SIA

In the Classroom: - Workshops & Residencies -  September - July Photo: SIA

In the Classroom:
Workshops & Residencies
September – July
Click here to see us on the TDSB site!
Photo: SIA

In the Community: - Shakespeare Without Fear in the Classroom - Artistic Director Michael Kelly @ York U. July 8 - 10, 2013

In the Community:
– Shakespeare Without Fear in the Classroom –
Artistic Director Michael Kelly @ York U.
Click here to learn more or register.
July 8 – 10, 2013

In the Community: - Word on the Street Toronto -  September 22, 2013

In the Community:
Word on the Street Toronto
September 22, 2013

In the Community: - Council of Ontario Drama & Dance Educators Conference - October 18 - 20, 2013

In the Community:
– Council of Ontario Drama & Dance Educators Conference –
Click here to learn more!
October 18 – 20, 2013

In the Community: - TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club -  Fall, Winter, Spring Photo: SIA

In the Community:
TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club
Fall, Winter, Spring
Click here to see a photo essay!
Photo: SIA

CODE – Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators

Shakespeare in Action - Blog - Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators Logo


What is CODE and its mission?

CODE (Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators) was born in 1970 under the leadership of a small group of educators who believed that Ontario drama teachers needed an autonomous organization to address their needs. From an initial conference at Queen’s University to today’s province-wide services, CODE has evolved into a registered Drama and Dance, not-for-profit charitable agency affiliated with many drama organizations, notably Theatre Ontario, Theatre Canada, IDEA (International Drama in Education Association), AECO (Arts Education Council of Ontario) and others. Its members are mainly teachers, but the organization also welcomes freelance artists, Faculty of Education students, corporate sponsors, suppliers and all others who share its interests.

CODE‘s goal is to “encourage and support the development of drama and dance in education in Ontario.”


To do this, CODE:

  • Promotes strong arts education in schools and communities across Ontario
  • Provides a forum a forum for the exchange of ideas
  • Provides leadership and advocacy in drama and dance in education
  • Provides professional development in drama and dance in education
  • Cooperates with existing arts agencies and education organizations.


To accomplish these goals and objectives, CODE has:

  • AN INTERACTIVE WEBSITE with articles, resources, a discussion forum, lesson plans, links to arts organizations and more.  Click here!
  • A CODE CONFERENCE, an annual event for drama and dance educators. An exciting opportunity to participate in professional development and network with other educators in Ontario.


Brooke Charlebois, President of CODE, was kind enough to answer a few questions and give us a little more insight:


What does CODE offer drama and dance educators?

We offer all teachers Professional Development opportunity (annual conference and smaller PD opportunities throughout the year around the province), print and video resources for teaching drama and dance (available on our website). Right now all of our content is English but we are in the process of having some of it translated into French. Networking opportunities, a way to stay in the loop about things related to drama and dance in the province such as writing opportunities, theatre and dance festivals, professional workshops etc. (This is available on our blog and our mailings to members). CODE board members are also available to come to schools or boards to provide specific workshops based on the needs of the participants.

For CODE members we offer a discount to all of our PD and we also have an on going discounts and benefits program where companies offer their products or service to code members at a discount in exchange for being listed on our site.


Tell us more about the upcoming CODE conference!

Our upcoming conference will be Oct 18-20th at the beautiful Deerhurst resort. The theme of this year’s conference is “Back to Basics” so we are focusing on the basics of drama and dance for the new teach, but also, for the more experienced teacher we are looking at how to bring those basic skills into the 21st century to keep our students engaged.


What does this organization mean to you?

CODE is very important to me because as a teacher and as a parent I feel very strongly that arts education is critical in our education system. If we are hoping to produce children who will be able to be successful in this ever changing world we need innovative and creative thinkers, which the arts helps to develop. The challenge is that many teachers may recognize the importance of the arts, but not know how to teach them or where to start. CODE can help provide that support to teachers who are just starting out on their journey of teaching drama and dance. For teachers who have a strong drama and/or dance background, CODE provides a support network of like-minded teachers who they can look to for ideas and inspiration. CODE also works tirelessly to advocate for the importance of drama and dance in the curriculum to the Ministry of Education, school board, parents, in Ontario, in Canada and internationally.


Shakespeare in Action will be at the October CODE conference, leading an interactive workshop to kick off the Friday-night social.  We hope to see you there!  Hear what CODE members have to say about this event and wonderful organization!


What if Shakespeare…HELD A PARTY?


Welcome, gentlemen! Ladies! (1) Cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast (2). With all my heart (3) and for your delight (4), [I shall play] the humble host (5).

Come, the table’s full, be large in mirth (6). Here is a place reserved (7), for anon we’ll drink a measure the table round (7). Give me some wine. Fill full! (8) I drink to the general joy o’ th’ whole table (9). [Let us] feed on nourishing dishes (10): [Here’s] a couple of short-legged hens, a joint of mutton (11), and dates and quinces in the pastry (12). [Have some] rice (13), dates, and warden pies (14). [Or maybe] four pound of prunes (15)…stewed prunes (16). Nay, I jest! I jest! [As I am] a fellow of infinite jest (17). Let’s be red with mirth (18).

Sweet friends (19), ‘tis a night of revels! (20) How shall we beguile the lazy time if not with some delight? (21) What dances shall we have to wear away this long ago of three hours between our after-supper and bedtime? (22) Now let’s have a catch (23) of dancing shoes with nimble soles (24). Come, some music! Come, the trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries and fifes, tabours and cymbals (25), sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not (26). A hall, a hall, give room! – And foot it, girls. More light, you knaves! And turn the tables up, and quench the fire. The room is grown too hot! (27)

Of these most brisk and giddy-paced times (28), ’tis too late to go to bed now (29). For it is a way to make us better friends, more known (30). [I thank thee for thy] jest (31) and continual laughter (32).

  1. Romeo and Juliet, I. v. 14
  2. The Comedy of Errors, III. i. 27
  3. Richard III, III. iv. 34
  4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, V. i. 109
  5. Macbeth, III. iv. 4
  6. Macbeth, III. iv. 48
  7. Macbeth, III. iv. 49
  8. Macbeth, III. iv. 92
  9. Macbeth, III. iv. 93
  10. Othello, III. iii. 78
  11. Henry IV part 2, V. i. 23
  12. Romeo and Juliet, IV. iv. 2
  13. The Winter’s Tale, IV. iii. 39
  14. The Winter’s Tale, IV. iii. 47
  15. The Winter’s Tale, IV. iii. 49
  16. Henry IV part 1, III. iii. 40
  17. Hamlet, V. i. 161
  18. The Winter’s Tale, IV. iii. 63
  19. The Merchant of Venice, II. vi. 21
  20. Othello, II. iii. 29
  21. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, V. i. 40-41
  22. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, V. i. 34-35
  23. Twelfth Night, II. iii. 17
  24. Romeo and Juliet, I. iv. 15
  25. Coriolanus, V. iv. 3784
  26. The Tempest, III. ii. 136
  27. Romeo and Juliet, I. v. 32-33
  28. Twelfth Night, II. iv. 7
  29. Twelfth Night, II. iii. 166-167
  30. The Winter’s Tale, IV. iii. 74-75
  31. Henry IV part 2, V. i. 78
  32. Henry IV part 2, V. i. 74

(Shakespeare re-arranged by Vineeta)