Professional Development Series

AMICUS LogoNative Earth Performing Arts is thrilled to announce our new Professional Development Series, part of the 28th annual Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival. The series, created with the support of the Amicus Foundation, consists of classes, workshops and a panel aimed at advancing the careers of Indigenous and non-Indigenous theatre artists. Designed to be accessible for all artists, workshops range from free to pay-what-you-can and are located in venues across Toronto.

Approaching New Plays: A Workshop with Elley Ray Hennessy
Tuesday November 10, 3pm – 6pm | FREE
COBA Studios: 585 Dundas Street East

A workshop facilitated by Gemini Award-winning actress and renowned voice and acting coach, Elley Ray Hennessy. Hennessy will teach actors to hone in on their instincts, make strong choices on the fly, and strengthen the skills needed to excel at a “cold read”.

Private Acting Coach Sessions with Kennedy C. MacKinnon
Thursday November 12,  11am – 6pm | FREE
Cahoots Theatre: 388 Queen Street East, Unit 3

Actors will also have a rare opportunity to register for one of twelve one-on-one Private Acting Coach Sessions with Kennedy C. MacKinnon, Stratford Festival’s resident Voice, Text and Dialect Coach. Bring a monologue, audition sides, or a particular skill you want to develop and learn from one of the greats!

Dance Master Class with Lara Kramer
Friday November 13, 11am – 3pm | PWYC
Dancemakers Studio: 9 Trinity Street, Unit 313

In collaboration with Dancemakers, Native Earth is offering a Dance Master Class with Montreal-based artist Lara Kramer (Ojibwa/Cree). This is a chance for experienced dancers to expand on their training and deepen their relationship with movement. The fee for the Dance Master Class is pay-what-you-can, and participants are asked to bring movement clothing and footwear.

The Exchange Experience:
Validating 500 Years of First Nation History
a workshop with Suzanne Keeptwo

Sunday November 15, 12pm – 4pm | PWYC
Native Canadian Centre: 16 Spadina Road

On the heels of a successful stint at Vancouver’s Talking Stick Festival, Suzanne Keeptwo (Algonkin-Métis) brings her participatory workshop The Exchange Experience: Validating 500 Years of First Nation History. This participatory workshop thrives on the many layered teachings of the Medicine Wheel in structure and content, leading participants of all cultural backgrounds in Canada’s First Nations history and culture. Please note that traditional medicines will be used during the workshop. The fee for The Exchange Experience workshop is pay-what-you-can and participants are asked to bring a blanket or shawl.

Developing New Designers Panel with François St. Aubin, Rebecca Ballarin, Erika Annie Iserhoff, and Trevor Schwellnus
Friday November 20, 3pm – 5pm | FREE
COBA Studios: 585 Dundas Street East

With the support of Setsuné Indigenous Fashion IncubatorTheatre Ontario and the National Theatre School of Canada, Native Earth welcomes aspiring set, lighting, sound and costume designers to join us for our all-star Developing New Designers Panel. The panel has been curated with a focus on skills, training and mentorship opportunities that help launch a new career designing for the stage. Our industry-recognized panelists include nationally celebrated designer and current Director of Set and Costume Design at the National Theatre School, François St. Aubin; independent theatre director and Professional Theatre and Education Manager at Theatre Ontario, Rebecca Ballarin; and costume designer and Artistic Producer at Native Women in the Arts, Erika Annie Iserhoff (Cree); and multiple Dora Award-winning scenographer and Artistic Producer for Aluna Theatre, Trevor Schwellnus.

The Professional Development Series events are either pay-what-you-can or free to attend.  Space is limited for free events; interested participants are asked to register by email.

For more information regarding the Professional Development Series, or to register for a free event, please contact Jessica Lea Fleming, Weesageechak Festival Producer by email at jessica[at]
or by phone at 416-531-1402 ext 32.