Virtual arts listings for the week of March 30: 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

Gay Jesus will be one of the performers at Buddies in Bad Times' virtual arts festival Queer, Far, Wherever You Are. (Sly Pereira)

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): Buddies in Bad Times kicked 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.
  • 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 "Citadel Stuck in the House Series", a series of live performances from Edmonton artists who have lost income due to cancelled projects or gigs.
  • House of Hush (8pm MT, April 3): Edmonton's House of Hush Burleseque group are livestreaming their shows. Their second livestream is happening this Friday via Zoom conferencing.
  • Nightwood Theatre (7:30pm ET, April 3): Nightwood Theatre Presents a Livestream Reading of All the Little Animals I Have Eaten by Governor General Award-nominated playwright Karen Hines. A cast of five performers will read the play from their homes via Zoom conferencing. 
  • Rae Spoon (4pm ET, April 2): Award-winning musician Spoon will be playing a 50 minute concert from my studio on the territory of the Lək̓ʷəŋən peoples the Songhees and Esquimalt, W̱SÁNEĆ Nations (Highlands District, BC).

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!
  • Whitney French's Writing Workshop (5:30pm ET, March 30): Inspired by the character Pilate Dead in Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon," this workshop creates space to explore the power of creating unforgettable characters in writing.

Talks series, movies and festivals

  • 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 (ongoing): Toronto International Film Festival Stay-at-Home Cinema, screening on Crave, shares the magic of filmgoing, together at home — with special guests!. This week's offerings include some Canadian legends: Away From Her with a vitual Q&A featuring Sarah Polley and Beetlejuice with a virtual Q&A featuring Catherine O'Hara. 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.
  • 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.
  • Ladies Who Skype (8pm ET, April 1): Comedian (and co-host of CBC podcast Chosen Family) Tranna Wintour joins drag performer Uma Gahd for a night of chit chatting and comedy on Facebook Live.
  • Remote Art Talks (ongoing): Artifier and Partial Art Gallery are presenting Remote Art Talks, a web series focused on artists. Line-up to be announced shortly on their Instagram.
  • PAVED Arts (7pm ET, April 2): Paved Arts is presenting Virtual Artist Talk and Tour with Pippa Lattey and her exhibition Into Orbit, which has not been able to open to the public due to COVID-19. Lattey and curator David LaRiviere will be available for questions and conversation about the show.
  • The Art Gallery of Hamilton (ongoing): The Art Gallery of Hamilton is holding an online film screening series. On Friday, April 3 they will be hosting a special online discussion of the film Corpus Christi with AGH film program curator Ryan Ferguson.

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
  • 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't 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!

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 See more of our COVID-related coverage here.

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