A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Little Avenue Park

From Art in the Parks.

Weston’s resident theatre company, Shakespeare in Action will begin performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream next week for a two-week run in Little Avenue Park. The show will preview on Tuesday July 16 and Wednesday July 17. During these two nights, the company will rehearse, fine-tune and block the show using the unique features of the park.

For many in Weston, this will be the first chance to see SIA perform. Seven actors will play the various roles – this is a comedy and one of Shakespeare’s more accessible plays so it should be entertaining for all ages. Expect some interactivity and not all of the performance will be on stage.

Admission is free and seating is on the park’s grassy area, or bring a lawn chair. A limited number of rental chairs will be available each night. Some people are planning to picnic beforehand or purchase take out food from one of our many local restaurants. Just remember to put all litter in the trash cans.

SIA’s Community Outreach Coordinator Catriona Leger says that performances will be cancelled if it looks like bad weather will persist through the evening. A decision will be made by 6:00 pm each night and broadcast on social media.

The company requests that people refrain from taking photos or videos during performances for copyright reasons.

Little Avenue Park and its bandshell / stage. (File)

The play will last for 75 minutes and Catriona suggests that it will be great for audiences of all ages as well as a pre-bedtime treat for young children.

It’s a short walk from the UP Express Station. Click to enlarge.

Performance Schedule: Starting time is 7:00 pm for all performances.

  • Tuesday July 16, Preview
  • Wednesday July 17, Preview
  • Thursday July 18, Official Opening and Performance
  • Friday July 19, Performance
  • Saturday, July 20, Performance
  • Sunday July 21, Performance
  • Tuesday July 23, Performance
  • Wednesday July 24, Performance
  • Thursday July 25, Performance
  • Thursday July 26, Performance
  • Friday July 27, Performance
  • Saturday July 28, Performance
  • Sunday July 28, Performance and closing night.

Artscape hiring

Artscape Weston is hiring an assistant manager for community outreach and events. The position is a 12-month, full-time contract, managing “outreach strategies and event services for Artscape Weston Common, with a particular focus on supporting event logistics for community groups, non profits and local arts organizations ensuring they have access to performance, event and meeting spaces in Artscape Weston Common”.

Assistant Manager Community Outreach & Events

The Artscape Hub – one artist’s story.

The last 18 months have been a whirlwind for Juan Paulo Cunanan. He has been living in the Weston Artscape Hub since the beginning of May and is really liking his new home, having applied as a long shot to help further his musical goals. Juan Paulo is known as JP or Japs to family and friends. He interviewed for a placement and was delighted to be offered a one-year lease on one of the 26 subsidized live-work spaces.  At first he wasn’t sure he would be able to afford the first and last months’ rent of almost $2000 but came up with it at the last minute thanks to his mom, some music pupils and a timely tax refund.

Some of the instruments at JP’s disposal – many of which have been donated.

JP is a piano and keyboard artist, specializing in modern jazz but like many accomplished musicians, can perform in a variety of styles. He even does weddings! With a music education degree from the Philippines he is focussed on establishing himself as a professional musician and would dearly love to make a living as a jazz artist, but really enjoys teaching his music school students ages 7 and up. He operates the Weston New Music School at 2125 Weston Road behind the Victory Assembly Church (formerly St Johns Anglican) and is working hard to support himself and his wife. Two of his older pupils are seniors and have been delighted to discover that it’s never too late to learn and enjoy music. I met bass guitar pupil Albert who says he was floundering in his music until JP made things clearer for him. His school offers instruction in piano, bass, guitar and drums.

The apartment comes with a full sized kitchen and great views.

JP arrived in Canada 18 months ago as part of the federal government’s family re-unification program. He likes Canada, the friendly people he has met, the clean air and opportunity to achieve big dreams. His mother came to Canada a few years ago, working as a nanny and sponsored her family once she could do so.

In March, JP returned briefly to the Philippines and married his girlfriend of five years. His bride is still there but JP is working on bringing her over soon.

He pays a subsidized rent of about $900 a month plus utilities for his one-bedroom loft style apartment with an option of $100 a month for parking. The apartments are spacious with tall ceilings, lots of windows and everything you would expect in a modern design. His one-bedroom model has the bathroom and bedroom upstairs – the bedroom is loft style with a balcony open to the lower level. 

Lots of windows and tall ceilings in these modern, light-filled spaces.

What’s next for this young artist isn’t known but you can be sure you’ll be seeing him or hearing him around Weston in the next few months.

To contact JP, phone him at 416-804-9942.

WVRA hosts AGM in Weston Hub

On Tuesday May 14, the Weston Village Residents’ Association held its annual general meeting inside the new Weston Hub. The Hub interior still needs some final touches but is essentially complete. Landscaping is a work in progress but it’s coming along nicely and will be ready for next year. The official opening is on May 25th and 26th.

WVRA Chair Dave Bennett opened by talking about some of the ‘heat’ encountered when the Hub was proposed. This was later echoed by Councillor Nunziata.

For some warm reading go here, here, here and here.

You’re welcome Dave and Frances.

This area will house the Farmers Market next year. (click to enlarge).
Landscaping work has been done at the Hub entrance. Note the bridge connecting the multi-storey parking lot to the rental building.

The new space easily accommodated the 50+ people in attendance. LoriAnn Givran from Artscape, talked about the new facilities, Marlene Mackintosh from UrbanArts and Michael Kelly from Shakespeare in Action introduced themselves and the programs that they offer.

The highlight of the evening was to be a presentation from former Toronto Chief Planner Paul Bedford but because of illness, Mr. Bedford was absent but ably represented by colleague and Urban Lands Institute Executive Director Richard Joy. The presentation dealt with the ULI Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) Report tabled last August.

From the TAP report (Click to enlarge).

Richard dealt with the five big ideas from the report, namely,

  • Promote and plan Weston as a riverfront community
  • Market Weston as an affordable commercial and residential location for airport workers
  • Bring a brewery to Weston
  • Build partnerships with Universities and Colleges
  • Establish a co-op grocery store.

Later, Councillor Frances Nunziata spoke and talked about local issues including the upcoming paving of Weston Road and widening of sidewalks in the stretch between Lawrence and Little Avenue.

Sidewalks along this stretch of Weston Road are being widened.
Sidewalks along this stretch of Weston Road are not being widened. Go figure.

During the break, some mouth-watering goodies were available (well done Suri) and attendees enjoyed a tour of the new facilities.

A conference room.
One of the two large event rooms.
The lobby of the Weston Hub; WVRA Chair Dave Bennett (3rd from R) talks to residents.
The lobby – entranceway.
Michael Kelly of Shakespeare In Action speaks to the audience in the main presentation space.

Some aspiring politicians were in attendance including Yafet Tewelde and Chiara Padovani.

Chiara Padovani and brand new WVRA member Ryan Demchuk chat during the break.

It was a busy evening with lots of information – to hear a recording of the full meeting click the two links below:

Audio Part 1

Audio Part 2

Shakespeare in Action announces inaugural performances

Shakespeare in Action has announced its inaugural Weston performances, and they sound just up my alley: short and punchy!

Photo from Shakespeare in Action
  • Suddenly Shakespeare: a 60-minute whirlwind tour bringing  “four of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays –Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Macbeth and Twelfth Night – to life for children ages five to seventy-five. Featuring original sound, movement and physical comedy, the performance is the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for young audiences.” The public performance will be May 4th at 2pm.
  • Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop: “a vibrant, interactive presentation that demonstrates how modern hip-hop shares many similarities with Shakespeare, particularly the themes, rhythm and use of language.” The public performance will be  May 18th at 2pm.

Tickets are $15.

Finally, it wouldn’t be summer without a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The dates and times haven’t been announced, but Shakespeare in Action will be performing it in Little Avenue Memorial Park in July.

Shakespeare in Action moved into Artscape Weston Common from downtown late last year.