Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Photo gallery for Prologue Children's Festival 2016!

On May 18, 2016, we presented our Children's Festival in St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. What a great space to showcase our artists and to welcome educators, parents and children to celebrate arts education in the schools!

We prepared well with the help of our wonderful volunteers.

A pre-show was offered in the lobby with Cosima Grunsky and Philippe Flahaut, and with Little Big Frog friend Myque Franz from Faustwork Mask Theatre...

 ... completed with some craft activities and our cool tattoo to mark our coming 50th anniversary!

We had the chance to have with us Joan McCordic, one of the five co-founders of Prologue! (From left to right: Mel Hurst, Prologue's Chairman of the Board, Susan Habkirk, Prologue's former Executive Director and Joan McCordic.)

Mel and Wendy Hurst

Before the showcase, Christine Jackson (TDSB's Program Coordinator, The Arts) was chatting with Patty Jarvis, Prologue's Executive Director and enjoying conversation with Board member Kevin Ormsby, unaware that we had a surprise for her.

Mike Ford's trademark guitar
Mike Ford hosted the evening with amazing energy and performed short tunes between the numbers. Click here to watch his interactive and fun-filled performance.

The first act opened with TorQ Percussion Quartet performing on their impressive five octave marimba. Then, they invited two volunteers onstage to participate in hilarious music-making. The young people continually placed different objects on a table, so TorQ members could create different sounds, highly entertaining for all! TorQ closed with an energetic garbage cans jam.

Trevor Copp (Tottering Biped Theatre), performed his own take on the traditional French storytelling technique of mime. In this clip, you can see him turn into a giant before your eyes. Fascinating! His number was followed by Quintroversy Woodwind Quintet, "directed" by narrator Daniel Wheeler during their performance of Peter and the Wolf.

Christine Jackson was called on the stage to receive Prologue's very first Arts Champion Award. This new yearly initiative will recognize individuals who have played a major role in supporting Arts education. Christine graciously accepted her award with a soulful speech on the impact of arts education on the children. Almost a third of the public in the audience raised their hand when she asked who was in a theatre for the first time. It was very gratifying to see a concrete proof of the value of our showcases to introduce children to the performing arts.

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company charmed everyone with two beautiful dances.

Mike Ford closed the evening with students from St. Michael's Catholic School. A few weeks prior to the festival, he had led a song writing workshop for them, in which they created a song about the St. Lawrence neighbourhood. Every performer joined them at the end on the stage.

We're hoping to see you at Prologue Children's Festival next year! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to find out about our coming events and activities.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Interested in Asian Heritage Month?

May is Asian Heritage Month! Here's a selection of artists that you might want to consider around the month of May, to celebrate Asians (and South Asians) and their contributions to Canada. 
Click on the name to access the artist's page on our website and discover:

Khac Chi Bamboo Music
Funny Bamboo Music
A funny introduction to the unique Vietnamese musical instruments created over 4,000 years of history 

Little Pear Garden Collective
Tales of Goddesses and a Painter
A performance by Canada's foremost company of Chinese dance

Menaka Thakkar Dance Company
Wise Monkey, Foolish Crocodile
A timeless classic from an ancient Indian collection of animal fables by Canada's oldest Indian dance company

Silk Road Music
China Speaks Your Language
The beauty of Chinese-Western musical collaboration

Contact us at 416-591-9092 (1-888-591-9092), 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

BACKSTAGE, our eNews for artists on Pinterest

We just finished posting our BACKSTAGE issues on Prologue's Pinterest page! Looking good, isn't it? (You need to have a Pinterest account to have access to their pages!)

Slowly but surely, we're adding boards to our Pinterest page to help educators throughout Ontario choose the Prologue performance most suitable for their young audience needs.

For Prologue artists: BACKSTAGE December 2015
BACKSTAGE December 2015
eNews for Prologue's artists and companies

Click here to access the interactive December issue sent through Mailchimp. (You might need to zoom in!)

See previous issues.

For Prologue artists: BACKSTAGE February/March 2016
BACKSTAGE February/March 2016
eNews for Prologue's artists and companies

Click here to access the interactive February/March issue sent through Mailchimp. (You might need to zoom in!)

See previous issues.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Where do educators get their information about professional arts for young audiences?

Important key results from Prologue's online Client Survey
Between October and December 2015, Prologue sent a survey to over 5,000 clients currently in our database (including teachers, principals, parents in school councils, librarians, arts coordinators as well as public and/or volunteer presenters). The response rate was over 20%! 

One of the questions we asked them was: Where do you get information about professional arts for young audiences? (They could select more than one source.) Here's what they said:

80% = Colleagues/word of mouth
67% = Websites
62% = Print documents
43% = Conferences/showcases
25% = Newsletters
10% = YouTube
9%   = Facebook
5%   = Twitter
4%   = Pinterest 

As you can see, the marketing channels used by our clients are still quite traditional! Which is why website, printed catalogue and presence to various conferences are still on top of Prologue's marketing efforts.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Prologue's ARTISTS EXCHANGE: 5 TIPS for new Canadian artists

For the first time, our Artists Exchange (held on February 24 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts) was done in partnership with North York Arts, in our desire to reach artists in the north of Toronto. We really enjoyed this experience, thanks to North York Arts, its fantastic space and delicious food !

This Artists Exchange featured Kevin Ormsby (founder/artistic director of KasheDance) and Fana Soro (musician/Dancer/educator). It was intended for artists wanting to tour schools and to navigate the Ontario school system, and searched to highlight the challenges faced by new Canadians in this realm. 

Melissa of North York Arts follows up after Fana's presentation 

After a short session led by our new admin-assistant Carrie to break the ice, we heard Kevin and Fana tell their respective story about their arrival in Canada and adaptation to North America's different approach to arts education.

Patty Jarvis, Prologue's Executive Director, introduces both artists.

Fana, from a small village of 500 in Ivory Coast, moved to the big city (Abidjan), and then to... Norway, where he lived for years before arriving to British Columbia, and then move to Ottawa. Over the years, Fana faced increasingly diverse audiences.

Kevin saw the world while traveling with a major dance company. Then, he had the opportunity to deliver sessions in the schools and see how different the experience was with the audience.

5 TIPS to take away from this Artists Exchange

1) You need to learn about the system in your new environment
One Iranian artist in the group told how she was surprised when she discovered that after-school arts programs in Toronto were not tackled with the same academic approach as the art classes in her country of origin.

When he moved to Canada from Norway, Fana discovered that all school systems are not equal and he learned how to ask the right questions to understand the decision making process within each new system.

Prologue prepared a PowerPoint presentation to this effect, which you will find it at the end of this post.

2) School performances are VERY different from public performances 
The level of engagement required by the school system surprises many new Canadian artists. "In the schools, you have to think about the audience. It not just about your art", explained Kevin, "you have to understand what you bring to them, what they're teaching you."

3) It might be the first chance a school audience has to interact with someone of your cultural background
"You have to put yourself in the kids' shoes", said Fana. On many occasions when performing in remote places, kids would ask him why he was wearing his pyjamas (referring to his West African outfit). It would be the first time they saw such clothes. He would explain to them how everyone is wearing this in his country of origin.

"Kids will go back and teach their parents!" 
– Fana Soro

4) The diversity within a school audience may mean that you need to adapt your work to make it relevant
When Kevin found out in one of his dance workshops that some of the school girls were prevented by their religion to make certain movements, he realized he had rethink his approach, and his assumptions. A tip suitable for any artist who wants to work in Ontario's school, especially in the big cities. 

"Is your material relevant to your audience? How reflective of your audience are your stories?", asked Kevin. (Shakespeare might not be the best tool to engage students when 90% of them are from a different country!)

5) Educate yourself about diversity and cultural pluralism 
Accept that you will need to get some training and tips from your peers. Kevin pointed out that resources are available through programs such as Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), which aims at creating useful tools and guides related to cultural pluralism (Kevin is also a Program Manager for CPAMO).

Patty also mentioned that conferences organized by entities, such as Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators (CODE) or Ontario Music Educators' Association (OMEA) offer great opportunities for new artists to meet with peers and stakeholders in their field.

Let's not forget meeting opportunities such as Prologue's Artists Exchanges, offering the participants a direct access to Patty and the staff to ask their questions, and a chance to meet other artists facing the same challenges.

Prologue's PowerPoint presentation


Ministry of Education
People for Education (great links!)
Settlement – School Systems in Ontario
Cultural Human Resources Council
Prologue's blog "Showtime!"