Virtual arts listings for the week of April 20: 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
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 email@example.com.
- Queer, Far, Wherever You Are (5pm weekdays, ongoing): Canada's largest LGBTQ theatre Buddies in Bad Times is curating a digital performance and blog series to help bring some quality queer content to the comfort of your homes (er, phones).
- Glad Day TV (ongoing): The world's oldest LGBTQ bookstore has taken what was once its physical programming and turned it into virtual TV channel with multiple times to tune in each day. There's over 20 events a week, which includes drag shows, comedy specials, readings, workshops and more. Check out this week's schedule here.
- The Canadian Play Thing (ongoing): The Canadian Play Thing is a virtual 100-seat live theatre, where audiences gather to hear actors read plays by Canadian playwrights - emerging and professional. Admission is free to audiences and there is no charge to participate as an artist. Where workshops, readings, and productions in rehearsal have been canceled for reasons of social distancing, the Play Thing provides a temporary home for theatre families to reunite and share their work.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Citadel Theatre (ongoing): Edmonton's Citadel Theatre is presenting the "Citadel Stuck in the House Series," a series of live performances from Edmonton artists who have lost income due to cancelled projects or gigs.
- Tika (7pm ET Fridays, ongoing): Musician Tika is hosting a weekly performance showcase she's dubbed "Tika's Circle." Each week she invites a different curated selection of musicians to join her on Instagram Live and share their work. Artists so far have included Desiire and Jordan Alexander.
- Urgnt Live (7pm ET Fridays, ongoing): This live series was created to support Toronto-based musical artists and DJs being affected by the cancellation of all live events. A crowd-funded endeavour, its hope is to raise resources and recognition of these performers. Performers include Skratch Bastid and Clairmont the Second.
- TO Live (ongoing): TO Live is presenting "Living Rooms" featuring local Toronto artists performing from their homes.
- Soulpepper's Fresh Ink (ongoing): In a new virtual series called Fresh Ink, hear readings of new works by several playwrights at an event hosted by Weyni Mengesha, Frank Cox-O'Connell and Guillermo Verdecchia. Check on the Soulpepper website to get the link to Zoom on Friday.
- Second City House Party (ongoing): Live streaming improv and sketch comedy twice weekly. Check out their website for lineup information.
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 Wednesdays): 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!
- Sandra Dumais's illustrator workshops (2pm ET Tuesdays & Thursdays, ongoing): When social distancing went into effect, Canadian illustrator Sandra Dumais started her own virtual art school, and though the class is technically for kids, she attracts students of all ages.
- Bead With Me! (ongoing): Live beading classes with Nalakwis, the Indigenous artist behind the #beadthisinyourstyle challenge.
- Esie Mensah (7pm Thursdays): Every Thursday, join celebrated dancer and choreographer Esie Mensah for her AfroWine dance class delivered directly from her home.
Talks series, movies and festivals
- Hot Docs at Home (Thursdays): Following the postponement of the 2020 Hot Docs Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a small selection of exclusive first-run feature documentaries that would have debuted at the Festival will now premiere on CBC, the free CBC Gem streaming service and documentary Channel. CBC will also partner with Hot Docs to expand the at-home audience experience with interactive, livestreamed Q&As with filmmakers and other original digital content at CBC Docs. This week's is Elizabeth St. Philip's documentary 9/11 Kids.
- Images Festival (April 16-22): The festival's ON SCREEN program will be presented via live-stream on their website. Over 75 extraordinary works from some of the world's most innovative and daring filmmakers and video artists will be available to stream, starting April 16th.
- 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.
- TIFF Stay at Home (7pm ET Fridays, ongoing): Miss watching movies with other human beings? TIFF is here with a new weekly screening series and conversation. Every Friday at 7pm, Cameron Bailey sits down for a Q&A with someone connected to the selected film of the week and then you get to watch it on Crave and tweet about it with everyone else whose tuned it. More here.
- Virtual Paradise Theatre (ongoing): Toronto's newly restored Paradise Theatre may be shut down for the time being, but they've risen to the occasion by teaming up with New York-based distributor Film Movement and industry group Arthouse Convergence to bring art house movies to your homes. Check out this week's lineup here.
- Revue Cinema and Designing the Movies (ongoing): As part of their Designing The Movies series, the Revue Cinema is hosting live tweet-alongs to films. More details are on their Facebook page.
- Humpday With Hampshire (Wednesdays, ongoing): Hosted by Schitt's Creek star Emily Hampshire, this weekly virtual talk series interviews with celebrities in their natural habitats — "be it their bedrooms, kitchens, garages or closets. They'll share advice on how to get through this unprecedented time with humour, kindness — and your sanity intact."
- 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).
- Rose Beef Turns To The Internet With: Nihilism (8pm ET Mondays, ongoing): Featured on the most recent season of CBC Arts series Canada's a Drag, performer and activist Mikiki is taking to the internet for the next few Mondays with paint-alongs, readings, sermons, hijinks and virtual screenings of The Golden Girls.
- Remote Art Talks (ongoing): Artifier and Partial Art Gallery are presenting Remote Art Talks, a web series focused on artists.
- Nia Centre for the Arts (7pm ET, April 21st): As part of the DIGTL series, Nia Centre for the Arts hosts a conversation with Toronto based artist Gordon Shadrach on Tuesday, April 21, taking a look at his early works, the inspirations behind his portraits, as well as sharing pieces from his recent solo show Net Worth, at United Contemporary.
- Neptune Theatre (8pm ET, Tuesday-Friday): Off the Leash is a series of conversations with Neptune Theatre's Artistic Director Jeremy Webb and a special guest each night. They'll discuss their connection to the Neptune, their careers and their ideas for the future.
- Myseum (3pm ET, April 22nd): Art in the Time of COVID-19: Theatre and Dance edition is a panel conversation exploring how art and artists are valued during this time. This edition is Moderated by Rania El Mugammar and panelists include Julie Tepperman (Convergence Theatre), Nick Green (The Social Distancing Festival), and Nicholas Isaiah King Rose, (dancer at the National Ballet of Canada.)
- The Festival of Literary Diversity (8pm ET, April 25th): The Power and Politics of Prizes is a preview event for the 2020 edition of the FOLD featuring a panel conversation on Canada's literary prize culture with Billy-Ray Belcourt, Samra Habib, Kagiso Lesego Molope and Casey Plett, moderated by Catherine Hernandez. Registration is required.
Dance and viewing parties
- Club Quarantine (9pm ET nightly, ongoing): This online queer dance party created by some inspired Toronto folks has already become wildly popular nightly fixture of COVID life (Charli xcx and Kim Petras have even stopped by). 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.
- Hunhouse (9pm ET Fridays, ongoing): This is a "zoom party for queer womxn, trans & non binary folx." It happens every very Friday at 9pm EST sharp. They announce the code on the day and they feature local, female DJs and performers.
- Connected Reggae Party (9pm ET Thursdays, ongoing): If you're hungry for some roots rock reggae, lovers rock and a little dancehall, this is the virtual party you've been looking for. Featuring DJs Noble Works, Shai and Roots Redemption, this party happens every Thursday on InstaLive at 9pm.
- Transmission (7pm ET Saturdays, ongoing): Organized by MTL 24/24 — a non-profit whose mandate is "to enhance night culture and to foster the development of Montreal's nightlife" — as well as Breakglass Studios and Live Analog Dance Rhythms, Transmission is an online dance party happening every Saturday.
- Daybreak (8am ET Monday-Friday, ongoing): If you need some music in the morning to help you start your day, look no further. Chris Dubbs is usually heard on Toronto radios, but during the lockdown you can also catch him spinning reggae tunes on Instagram Live. Tune in Monday to Friday from 8am-9am.
- Social DisDance (ongoing): Dance party that streams three times daily.
- Allysin Chaynes and Champagna's Weekly Drag Viewing Party and Uma Gahd's Weekly Drag Race Viewing Party (8:45pm ET Fridays): Just because we're watching RuPaul's Drag Race from home doesn't mean we can't be entertained by some of Canada's best queens in the process.
- Aga Khan (ongoing): The Aga Khan has launched a 3D virtual tour of their Bellerive Room, and they have more lined up to come. Visit their website to see the online collection of their archives and for their full #MuseumWithoutWalls program.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. See more of our COVID-related coverage here.