Virtual arts listings for the week of March 23: The best performances, talks, art classes and more

CBC Arts has your weekly guide to all the things Canadian artists are doing to help us pass the time at home.

CBC Arts has your weekly guide to all the things Canadian artists are doing to help us pass the time at home

Fangirl, part of the The Musical Theatre Company's #ReprintRewind Series that's happening during COVID-19 (Dahlia Katz)

The widespread isolation and social distancing of COVID-19 has hit Canada's arts communities as hard as any other. World premieres were cancelled, juggernaut Broadway imports were brought to heel, gallery shows big and small were shuttered and promising new works missed their first shot at finding an audience.

But Canadian artists are a resilient bunch. Without skipping a beat, they've taken to the virtual stages that the rest of us are glued to 24/7. And we're here to help you find them!

Each week, CBC Arts will put out a new list of the best live streams, art classes, talk series, festivals and more. (Our friends at CBC Music are keeping track of live streamed concerts, and over at CBC Books they've got a list of online children's book readings.)

Know about a great event coming up? Drop us a line at


  • Queer, Far, Wherever You Are (every weekday at 5pm starting March 27): Buddies in Bad Times is kicking off a 9-part performance series March 27th over on their Instagram, featuring queer artists sharing burlesque, drag, poetry, and more. See the whole lineup here
  • DLT Theatre (ongoing): Together with Istituto Italiano di Cultura, DLT is launching "Theatre On-Call," a festival of performances that occur over the phone. All performances will run on a Pay What You Can basis. On Monday March 23 at 8pm, Theatre On-Call will offer its third performance: "Decameron Today."
  • Musical Stage Company (starting March 18 for 3 weeks): The Musical Stage Company is releasing three new Canadian musicals via podcast that were created and performed through their musical development residency. Each musical was inspired by the archives of the Globe and Mail.
  • David Foster and Katharine McPhee Foster (ongoing, 8:30pm ET nightly): Actor and musician Katharine McPhee Foster and her husband, the Grammy-winning music producer David Foster, perform live at the piano in their home. Oh, and they're taking requests.
  • Bounce Back (9pm ET, March 28th): Vancouver's fabulous drag community is coming together this weekend to raise money for their community. The hosts of the city's weekly shows (including Canada's a Drag's very own Berlin) will perform during designated time slots and you can watch the whole thing here.
  • Iso-Late Night (6pm ET, Wednesdays and Sundays ongoing): Toronto comedians Courtney Gilmour and Dan Curtis Thompson are joining forces twice a week on Instagram Live for a late talk show for COVID-19 times, featuring segments, games, remote giveaways and special remote guests.

Art classes and tutorials

  • Donald Robertson (ongoing): Toronto-born artist Donald Robertson is posting cheeky art classes out of his California studio in his signature bright, poppy style. Try your hand at a Kermés bag!
  • Canadians Create (daily): Edmonton-based artist Amy Dixon and calligrapher Brittany Dakins launched this online Facebook group where artists across Canada will be hosting 30-minute live art tutorials and "paint-alongs."
  • The National Ballet of Canada (ongoing): Principal dancers Jurgita Dronina, Guillaume Cote and Heather Ogden are delivering ballet classes from home. Check the National Ballet and Dronina's Instagram accounts for class times and updates. Her first class was an hour-long workout — on pointe! 
  • Mend It (7:30pm ET, every Wednesday): Toronto-based designer Emily Nicole Neill has created a virtual weekly workshop where people can work on hand-sewing skills, mend clothes and make new friends. Up this week? Learn how to repair socks!

Talks series and festivals

  • The Princess Bride Virtual Screening and Q&A: (7pm, Friday, March 27 ET). Audiences across Canada can join TIFF Artistic Director and Co-Head Cameron Bailey in the first of a series of virtual Q&As and screenings. Audiences can tune in to watch Cameron and award-winning actor and star Mandy Patinkin (Crave's Homeland) for a chat via Instagram Live @tiff_net before being invited to screen TIFF's 1987 People's Choice Award winner, The Princess Bride, on Crave."
  • iskwē (7pm ET nightly): Every night, the award-winning musician iskwē is hosting a series of Instagram live conversations from her living room called, appropriately enough, Live from My Living Room, with guests drawn from the music and arts worlds (appearances so far have included Lights and Anthony Carone of Arkells).
  • Social Distancing Festival (ongoing): A self-described "TV Guide of exquisite art," the Social Distancing Festival is Toronto playwright Nick Green's response to the raft of cancelled and postponed shows around the world.
  • Mine at Buddies in Bad Times (7pm ET, March 25): Buddies in Bad Times is celebrating Jenna Harris' play Mine with a livestream talk. The show's opening was cancelled this week so the actors and creative team will be on Instagram Live to discuss isolation, art, the 90's and more.

Dance and viewing parties

  • Club Quarantine (9pm ET nightly): This online queer dance party created by some inspired Toronto folks has already become wildly popular nightly fixture of COVID life. You can join in every night on Zoom by finding the code on their Instagram. Entry is free, but do consider making a PayPal donation.  
  • Queerantine: A Queer Online Dance Party (7pm ET, March 27th): This one-off fundraiser organized by Vice Versa Productions and LSD NIGHT will go down this Friday to raise money for queer artists. "With the help of Zoom software, we will be bringing together some global queer DJs for a big ol dance party and chat room to bring you closer to your queer peers!" Find it here
  • Uma Gahd's Weekly Drag Race Viewing Party (8:45pm ET, every Friday): Just because we're watching RuPaul's Drag Queen from home doesn't mean we can be entertained by some of Canada's best queens in the process. One example is Uma Gahd, who is hosting a virtual viewing party with special performances every week!


  • 14 Day Creative Challenge (March 25-April 7): Canadian performer and educator Haley McGee is holding an international challenge for artists starting this week. Sign up and you'll get short daily emails from McGee that include a creative task. Most will be writing prompts and exercises, but they could also be tailored to work for musicians, dancers and visual artists too. Join in here.

CBC Arts understands that this is an incredibly difficult time for artists and arts organizations across this country. We will do our best to provide valuable information, share inspiring stories of communities rising up and make us all feel as (virtually) connected as possible as we get through this together. If there's something you think we should be talking about, let us know by emailing us at

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