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Connect & Refresh: PACT Artistic Leaders Retreat

February 25 @ 12:00 pm - 5:30 pm EST

Connect & Refresh: PACT Artistic Leaders Retreat

Taking place wherever you are on Thursday, February 25, from 12pm to 5:30pm ET

What stories do you want to tell? How do you want to tell them, both during the pandemic and beyond? Where are you finding inspiration in dark times? Recharge your creative energy in a day of art and conversation with your colleagues from across the country.

Who is this for? This event is designed for current and aspiring Artistic Directors and other artistic staff at Canadian theatre companies, both within the PACT membership and beyond.

We are using a Pay What You Can Afford pricing structure in recognition of the challenging financial times. You receive the same access to the event no matter which price level you select. Pricing options are $5, $15, $30, or $50.

Schedule Details

The event schedule is a work in progress and is subject to change. Check back for more details.

Sessions will take place on Zoom and all times are ET.

Last updated on February 23.


12pm to 1pm ET
Artistic Workshops

Start the day on a creative note by participating in a workshop designed to share a piece of a colleague’s artistic practice and spark your own ideas. Find full details below the schedule.

Workshop options:

  • The Artist Brigade with Kendra Fanconi (Artistic Director, The Only Animal)
  • Writing Spoken Word with Luke Reece (Associate Artistic Director, Soulpepper)
  • Puppets at Home with Shizuka Kai & Randi Edmundson (Interim Co-Artistic & Managing Directors, Carousel Theatre for Young People)

1pm to 1:30pm ET

1:30pm to 2:30pm ET
Nordic Connections: Artistic Practice in the North of Norway

Featuring guests from Norwegian companies Ferske Scener and Rimfrost. See details below.

2:30pm to 3pm ET
Coffee Conversations

Connect face to face in a series of informal breakout rooms to meet your colleagues and talk about your inspirations.

3pm to 3:30pm ET

3:30pm to 5pm ET
Open Space

Decide what’s on the agenda. When you think about making art today and in the days ahead, what questions challenge or excite you? Put forward a topic for a discussion you’d like to lead, or join a conversation hosted by one of your colleagues.

5pm to 5:30pm ET
Wrap Up

Session Details

The Artist Brigade: Bringing Arts and Artists to the Front Lines of the Climate Moment
Kendra Fanconi (Artistic Director, The Only Animal)

Beyond greening our own practices, what is the role of storytellers in the transition to a carbon-neutral future?  Environmental organizations, academics, scientists and journalists are beating down the door to work with artists in a green and just recovery. The Only Animal’s Artistic Director, Kendra Fanconi, shares some examples from the company’s practice and opens up the kinds of questions that David Suzuki Foundation and other environmental organizations have brought forward as areas where the arts can help. The future is… theatrical.

Kendra Fanconi is the Artistic Director of The Only Animal, a company that is uniquely dedicated to theatre that springs from a deep engagement with place. As a director, playwright and producer she has made over 30 plays including theatre of snow and ice, sand, in trees, on mountains, and on active waterways.  Nationally recognized as a theatrical innovator and a nature-based artist, Kendra has taught her unique creation style at University of British Columbia and Playwrights Theatre Centre. She lives on the land with a philosopher she adores, and is a farmer, forager and mother of two kids who are real characters.

Writing Spoken Word
Luke Reece (Associate Artistic Director, Soulpepper)

You’ve seen Amanda Gorman perform Spoken Word on some of the biggest stages, you’ve heard of this mysterious thing called ‘slam poetry’, but have you ever tried it yourself? Well, now’s the time. Luke Reece takes you through a fast and dirty writing workshop that will have you snapping your fingers by the end of the hour.

Luke Reece is an award-winning spoken word poet, theatre producer and playwright, recently appointed as Soulpepper’s Associate Artistic Director. Through his work as an educator and artistic leader within the national arts community, he advocates for engaging and nuanced storytelling that challenges Canadian audiences. He is one of Toronto’s most decorated slam poets, and has represented the country internationally. Luke currently sits on the board for the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres and the Toronto Poetry Project.

Puppets at Home
Shizuka Kai & Randi Edmundson (Interim Co-Artistic & Managing Directors, Carousel Theatre for Young People)

Join CTYP to create a puppet character and get a crash course in basic puppetry skills. To prepare for this workshop, please bring a piece of fabric (t-shirt, tea towel, bandana, etc) and some elastic bands.

Shizuka Kai is a Vancouver-based artist known for her puppet work and set design. She’s also a trained puppeteer, mask & props maker, painter, illustrator, costume designer, and director. She has worked with many established theatre companies including Arts Club, Neworld, Théâtre la Seizième, Electric Company, Rumble, Axis, Boca del Lupo, Itsazoo, and many others. Shiz is a three-time Jessie Richardson Award winner with several nominations, the recipient of the Earl Klein Memorial Scholarship, and a graduate of Studio 58.

Randi Edmundson is a Vancouver-based performer, puppeteer, and theatre maker with a special interest in theatre for young audiences and community-engaged theatre practice. With her fledging puppetry company, Little Onion Puppet Co., Randi has created Freddie in the Neighbourhood and Dorothy: a mother daughter memoir project, which toured to Vancouver, Kamloops, and Calgary, supported by the Festival of Animated Objects. Freddie in the Neighbourhood was also the winner of two Jessie Richardson Awards for Theatre for Young Audiences.

Nordic Connections: Artistic Practice in the North of Norway

One of the goals in PACT’s new Strategic Plan is to expand our artistic conversations beyond Canada’s borders. Pre-COVID, PACT was excited to be participating in the Nordic Bridges project, connecting Canadian artists to artists within the Nordic countries. That project has been put on hold due to the pandemic, but this session is a next step in developing deeper relationships with Nordic artists.

This 60-minute conversation is an introduction to two Norwegian artists from the companies Rimfrost and Ferske Scener (Fresh Scene). Both companies are based in Tromsø, an island city in the north of Norway that is one of the world’s major cultural hubs above the Arctic Circle. The discussion will dive into creative process, collaboration, and touring. We’re particularly interested in the connection of their art to climate and the environment around them. How does life on a far northern coast inform and inspire their work? After a moderated panel discussion, there will be time for open dialogue between retreat participants and our guests.

Ferske Scener creates context-specific performances in the intersection between drama and relational performance, performances that thrill, challenge, ask questions and entertain the audience with both provocation and laughter. The Arctic region’s conflicts and encounters connected to culture, language, ethnicity and nature form the framework for the productions, in which Sami, Finnish, Norwegian and English languages are combined.

Rimfrost productions creates touring theatre for a young audience. The company’s productions are mostly text-based, grounded in interviews, but the artists’ background from physical theatre makes the space and physics an equal partner in the expression. The company experiments with form, space, venues and how to approach the audience. Form follows function. Rimfrost has been under the artistic direction of actor Kristine Myhre Tunheim since 2010, and consists of her, Alexander Rindestu and Jeanette Solbakken. The company is project-based and collaborates with various artists according to the project’s direction and needs.


February 25
12:00 pm - 5:30 pm EST
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