Call for Participants: Gathering Knowledge, Sharing Voices: Touring in the New Normal

Gathering Knowledge, Sharing Voices: Touring in the New Normal


Based on our past work with Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo, Lee Bolton, and La danse sur les routes du Québec, Ontario Presents is developing a new, free program to support IBPOC dance and theatre artists who are seeking to tour their work within Ontario and across Canada. A group of artists will be invited to participate in a peer learning community led by two mentors, Aria Evans and Nova Bhattacharya, in order to develop skills around touring and presentation, culminating in an opportunity to meet directly with Ontario-based regional presenters/programmers.

One of the goals underlying this program is to develop touring capacity for dance and theatre artists in Ontario beyond the GTA. The previous program focused only on dance, but we felt this was a good opportunity to share knowledge between practitioners of different forms and are more than doubling the number of participants so that we can open up the program to practitioners of both dance and theatre practices. Our focus will be to bring together a diverse group that is representative of a gender spectrum, geography across Ontario, and that is made up of folks practising a wide variety of forms of theatre and dance.

About the program:

  • Participants will form a peer learning group guided by artist mentors Nova Bhattacharya and Aria Evans. The program will include gatherings of the peer learning group to meet and learn from one another and the mentors, as well as workshops to address tour- readiness, designed to respond to the needs and questions of the participating group (topics may include understanding presenting networks, finding presenters for your work, and contract negotiation)
  • The program is free for participants and we will cover costs related to accessibility needs
  • Gatherings will take place through a mix of zoom and in-person (when possible)
  • The program will culminate in a day-long gathering in May 2022 (in person in Toronto if possible) that will include meeting with presenters from Ontario
  • The program is designed to increase independent artists’ capacities for touring; and is meant to complement our longstanding Theatre Connects program which seeks to increase presenters’ capacities for programming theatre and dance work.

Accessibility: If you require any supports in order to participate in the program, please let us know. We will work with you to ensure we have appropriate supports in place. The majority of meetings will take place via zoom, with approximately 15 people in a meeting.

Time commitment: participants are expected to be available and attend all six workshops, plus a full day gathering in Toronto in May (date tbd). Travel costs will be covered by the program where in-person gatherings are possible. The workshops will take place from 2-4pm on:
• Jan 12
• Feb 9
• Mar 2
• Mar 23
• April 6
• April 20

Criteria for this program:

  • Ontario-based dance and theatre artists that self-identify as members of Indigenous and/or racialized communities
  • Artists that are interested in touring their own work within Ontario and/or across Canada and need support to expand their capacity to do so
  • Participants commit to participating for the full duration of the program (Jan-May 2022; please see dates above).
  • For in-person portions of this program, we will ask that participants have proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

How to apply:

We want to get to know you, your work, your goals, and your unique voice! Please complete the application form. Applications will be reviewed by the program’s artist mentors, Aria Evans and Nova Bhattacharya.
If you have questions or need assistance with your application, we’re happy to help with the process. You can also request an alternate form of application, such as oral. Please contact Ceilidh ( or 416-703-6709 x4).
The deadline to apply is December 3rd, 2021.

Artist Mentors:

An award-winning dancer, choreographer and cultural leader, Nova Bhattacharya crafts vivid images that invite the viewer on a journey of heart and mind. Her critically acclaimed works have been presented across Canada, in Germany, India, Japan and Uganda. As founding Artistic Director of Nova Dance she has created a space where diversity of practice, opinion, and culture is embraced and celebrated. Deeply committed to nurturing and supporting new voices, she has been mentoring artists as in intrinsic element of her practice for many years.

Aria Evans is a queer, Tkaronto-based, award winning interdisciplinary artist who’s practice spans dance theatre; creation, performance and film. Aria is a certified Intimacy Coordinator and draws on their experiences with Afro-Indigenous + settler heritage to capture meaningful social and cultural themes through their interactive art. With a large-scale vision, collaboration is the departure point to the work that Aria creates with their company POLITICAL MOVEMENT.
Advocating for inclusion and the representation of diversity, Aria uses their artistic practice to question the ways we can coexist together. With a personal interest in intimacy Aria creates work that centers the needs of the artists involved.

Ontario Presents:

Ontario Presents is a province-wide network of touring and presenting organizations that workcollaboratively to facilitate an equitable distribution of live, diverse performing arts shows – and their engagement with all citizens – into communities across Ontario. The largest portion of our members are regional presenting organizations, from large performing arts centres to volunteer-run presenting series.

Ontario Presents operates a number of participatory programs and services that help members adopt inclusive approaches to build capacity, develop leadership and create opportunities to grow and diversify their audiences.

Our office is located in Tkaronto, on the traditional territory of many nations including the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, the Wendat, and the Anishnabeg peoples, including the Mississaugas of the Credit.

We are very grateful to the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts for their support of this program.

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