Upcoming events

The city is hosting another chance to have input into the second phase of the Weston Heritage Conservation District. This phase of the plan will cover between Rosemount and Elm, and William and Church.

The meeting will be Saturday, January 18 at 1 pm at Artscape.


The York South Weston Tenant Union will be hosting a summit on Saturday, February 1 at 2:30 at the WKNC, 2017 Weston Road.


Shakespeare In Action has announced all kinds of new programming, including Story Tots, a March Break camp for 7–13 year olds, and a drama club.

Last night to catch A Christmas Carol with the Weston Silver Band

Tonight’s the last night to see A Christmas Carol by Shakespeare in Action with the Weston Silver Band. Robin Breon, a theatre reviewer, gives it a rave review:

I’ve seen quite a number of Carols over the years and this one (to paraphrase Dickens) was as good A Christmas Carol as any good old city knew, or any other good old city, village, borough or town in the good old world!

 

Shakespeare in Action announcement delayed again

Shakespeare in Action is a ‘culturally-diverse professional theatre company’ that moved to the Artscape Weston Hub at the beginning of this year. On November 9, founder and Artistic Director Michael Kelly was accused of, ‘making a racist remark’ during a rehearsal of a production (Sound and Fury) that was then cancelled.

Mr. Kelly, has been suspended since November 9th pending the results of an investigation by SIA’s board of directors. The directors said they would disclose the results quickly, promising to report by November 25th. That date passed and the board announced a delay in order to not act, ‘hastily and rashly while it considers the results of its investigations’.

The results were then promised by the 29th but as of December 1, three weeks after the alleged incident, there is still no word on the SIA site.

Look for an update here once the results have been announced.

Update: SIA issued this announcement on Sunday December 1.

“Statement from Board of Directors, Shakespeare in Action 

December 1 2019

The Board of Directors (Board) of Shakespeare in Action (SIA) has conducted a thorough investigation of the incidents which occurred on November 9th and 11th, 2019 during rehearsals for the SIA production of “Sound and Fury”.

Firstly, on behalf of SIA, the Board would like to apologize to the artists, partners, and community members affected. The Board also regrets the impact the subsequent cancellation of two productions in our first season has had on students, schools, artists, partners and the community.

SIA is dedicated to growing the performing arts in Weston and surrounding communities, and understands that we cannot do this in a meaningful way without acknowledging the harm felt by those affected. The Board hopes that the recommendations outlined below can provide the beginning of a path forward to rebuild trust with our stakeholders so that we can continue to create fun, inclusive, and accessible performing arts experiences that reflect, engage, and celebrate this community.

Board Recommendations

Regarding Michael Kelly

While the Board believes there was no deliberate intention on Michael Kelly’s part to cause harm, his actions on November 9th and 11th did cause significant harm to the actors, the playwright, Marcel Stewart, and the broader community. Furthermore, his actions are not consistent with the philosophy and mandate of SIA, as well as SIA’s internal anti-harassment policy and the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association’s “Not In Our Space Policy”.

Given this, we find the only way to be consistent with SIA’s values and to honour the experience of those affected, is to have Michael Kelly immediately step aside from his role as Artistic Director.

However, Michael Kelly will remain with SIA over the next three months (until February 29, 2020) to assist with the transition of the organization to David di Giovanni, as interim Artistic Director, with the following stipulations:

  1. That Michael will undergo sensitivity training;
  2. That Michael will not engage directly with any artistic personnel;
  3. That a member of the Board will assume the position of Officer to conduct those administrative duties previously managed by Michael Kelly.

During these three months the Board would like to have continued and meaningful dialogue with those involved.

At the end of the three months, Michael Kelly’s position with SIA will be reevaluated.

Regarding The Position of Artistic Director

The Board is appointing David di Giovanni as interim Artistic Director

Regarding SIA and the Board The Board acknowledges that:
  1. SIA needs policies and practices to prevent and address personal and group oppression, discrimination and bullying;
  2. These policies and practices are necessary to ensure a safe space for all in both SIA’s operations and programming;
  3. SIA needs diversity on its management team and Board of Directors, as presently we do not adequately reflect the Weston community, our home.

The Board recommends:

  1. That the necessary policies and practices including, but not limited to, anti-oppression, anti-discrimination and anti-bullying, be developed and put into place and practice;
  2. Engaging a third party to audit the implementation of the necessary policies and practices;
  3. Engaging a third party to facilitate anti-oppression training;
  4. That all SIA staff and Board members – including future new members – receive this training;
  5. That new Board members from the Weston community be actively recruited with the goal of achieving a minimum of 50% representation on the Board from members from the Weston community.

Conclusion

The Board, made up of only volunteers, believes it has exercised its duty to act in the best interest of SIA, by considering the myriad parties affected. Moving forward, we have a shared responsibility in this incident, and to ensure that this never happens again. We commit to learn and grow and do so in a way that promotes a safe and respectful space for all.

Sincerely,
The Board of Directors of Shakespeare in Action

The full-length report including “Facts and Findings” is available here. “

 

Trouble at Shakespeare in Action

Michael Kelly, Artistic Director at Shakespeare in Action has been accused of  ‘making a racist remark’ by actors working on the production of ‘Sound and Fury’. The show, scheduled for Friday November 22nd was cancelled by SIA’s board of directors as a result of the accusations. The theatre company was chosen to be a co-tenant in the Artscape Weston Hub and began its residence earlier this year.

Mr. Kelly founded Shakespeare in Action in 1988. Here is the full statement from the SIA Board posted after the show was cancelled:

“Statement from Board of Directors, Shakespeare in Action 

ON NOVEMBER 12, 2019, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF SHAKESPEARE IN ACTION (SIA) BECAME AWARE OF ALLEGED ACTIONS TAKEN BY ARTISTIC DIRECTOR MICHAEL KELLY DURING A REHEARSAL OF “SOUND AND FURY” ON NOVEMBER 9, 2019. HE HAS BEEN ACCUSED BY ACTORS WHO WERE EMPLOYED BY THE COMPANY OF MAKING A RACIST REMARK. 

The SIA Board has taken immediate steps to suspend Michael Kelly from his duties as Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Action and is conducting a full investigation into this incident. We are making every effort to speak with all parties involved and hope to conclude this investigation swiftly and fairly. We are also taking steps to ensure lasting organizational changes and improved policies are put in place to prevent this type of incident from occurring in the future. 

It is of paramount importance to the Board and Shakespeare in Action that its performance spaces are safe and inclusive for all people regardless of creed, ethnic origin, place of origin, race, colour, ancestry, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. We believe it is our duty to ensure that all employees and actors feel safe, included and respected when working with the Company. 

We regret any pain caused to actors, stage crew, SIA staff and anyone else involved and are working to resolve this matter as quickly as possible. We anticipate concluding our investigation by November 25th, 2019 and will issue a further statement at that time. “

UPDATE:

This statement from the Shakespeare in Action Board of Directors was released on Monday November 25.

“The Board of Directors of Shakespeare in Action has concluded its investigation into the actions taken by artistic director Michael Kelly during a rehearsal of “Sound and Fury” on November 9th, 2019. 

The Board of SIA is aware that more than two weeks have now elapsed since November 9th, and it remains committed to a timely resolution. However, the Board would like to avoid acting hastily and rashly while it considers the findings of its investigation. The Board will deliver its findings and recommendations no later than the end of the week. 

In the interim, Michael Kelly continues to remain suspended from his duties as Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Action.”

Upcoming events

 

Shakespeare in Action is putting on “Sound and Fury”—their version of Macbeth, but with a twist. I’m so in.

 

“With the same sword they knight you
they gon’ good night you…
that ain’t even half what they might do”
– Jay Z

Music, dance, and spoken word collide in this sharp, bold, and accessible world-premiere of Shakespeare’s most haunting play, MACBETH.  Inspired by the sounds and poetry of 90s era hip hop music and performed by five diverse and dynamic actors, SOUND AND FURY is Marcel Stewart’s smart and imaginative adaptation that bursts with rhythms and lyrics, putting a contemporary spin on this classic story of bloody ambition.

The public performances will be  on Fridays and Saturdays from November 15th to December 7th at 8:00pm

Tickets are available here.


Frontlines is hosting “Roots and STEM” on Friday, November 22. It’s

a program for youth ages 13-17 where they are able to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, while exploring their cultural roots through Black History


 

Shakespeare in Action looking for aspiring dramatists

Shakespeare in Action is offering fall programming for for young people interested in writing and producing theatre. Kids from 4 to 14 can participate in three programs on Saturdays, starting October 19.

Thespian

Young Storytellers – Ages 4-6

Saturdays 9-9:45

Through drama, language arts, movement and music this course is designed to introduce our youngsters to unique ways to express themselves creatively, explore character creation and storytelling.  The course ends in a short presentation for family and friends. Sign Up Here

***

Drama Makers – Ages 7-10

Saturdays 10am-11:15am

Through fun-filled play, storytelling, movement, music, and games, this class will give children a vibrant introduction to drama. By creating characters and stories, the course ends in a short presentation for family and friends. Sign Up Here

***

Creating Theatre – Ages 11-14

Saturdays 11:30-1pm

In this introductory acting course, young actors will learn to use their voices, bodies and imaginations to learn to creatively express themselves by communicating thoughts, emotions and storytelling. By improvising, puppetry, music, creating characters, writing and exploring texts, the course ends in a short original presentation for family and friends. Sign Up Here

The classes will be at Artscape and cost $120 per child. Prospective students with low incomes can apply for scholarships and subsidies provided by SIA.

 

 

Upcoming events

Hussen’s Community Barbecue

Our MP, Ahmed Hussen, will be hosting a barbecue this Sunday, the 21st of July, from 2 to 5 at 1765-1775 Weston Road


Faisal Hassan’s town hall on community safety

Hassan will be hosting a meeting on Monday, July 22nd to discuss community safety.

  • Doors Open @ 6:00 pm
  • Meeting Starts @ 6:30
  • Falstaff Community Centre, 50 Falstaff Avenue

Mount Dennis’ Coffee Culture events continue on Thursday, July 25th at 7 pm at supercoffee. This month, Leah Lane will be performing.


And, of course, Shakespeare in Action’s performance of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream continues in Little Avenue Park.