June: Watch - An Artful Pledge Update

By Guelph Arts Council Staff


Did you know that those who routinely attend, participate, and watch local events, performances, and artists report better satisfaction and health in their daily life? We can attest to this fact.

June’s artful pledge theme was “Watch” and boy did we see some amazing things by and for Guelphites.


Melissa Gobeil, HATCH Project Coordinator

This weekend I saw the performance of a lifetime. A thousand, yes one thousand performers, including Guelph Chamber Choir, came together for Apocolypsis, as part of the Luminato Festival at the Sony Centre in Toronto. It was incredible - an epic, apocalyptic story that took the audience on a sensory journey of light and dark.  They created a fully immersive experience, as the choir was dispersed throughout the audience, and at one point a whole choir developed right behind our row, where I could feel their breath, and smell their mints.

The first section of the performance was all about the end of the world, very discordant, and but in the end, the resolution was really beautiful; we really were taken into the depths and up to the heights. To see a thousand people on stage, constantly shifting and morphing, walking all through the audience and across the stage, was almost overwhelming, and a singular experience: uplifting, inspiring, and incredibly memorable.

Katie Wilde, Office Manager, Membership Coordinator

Early this month I saw my first Guelph Dance Festival ever. At the River Run Centre, in a series of intimate pieces, each performer was moving in their own way, and I mean moving in both senses of the word. Particularly exciting was the Q&A with the artists after the performances. There were some heated moments with the audience relaying their reactions to one of the pieces, and we got to hear first hand from world-renowned dancer and choreographer Margie Gillis on the controversy surrounding her Governor General’s Award and the arts-bashing interview that backfired on the now defunct Sun News. It was a pleasure and a real treat to be offered the opportunity for such candid interaction with these great Canadian artists. Thanks, Guelph Dance!

Just this past weekend, to brighten up a rainy Saturday, a friend and I made a jaunt over to Guelph Little Theatre to catch the recently revived one act festival, called the Ward One Acts. This was my first experience in a black-box style. The cushy theatre seats were blocked from view, and we entered directly up a ramp onto the stage where folding chairs were set up around 3 sides of the stage, and we were face to face and foot to foot with the actors and the set.

We spent the afternoon enjoying 3 short plays in these close quarters while the rain pattered steadily on the industrial metal building.

Pillar of the Community, written by Sean Jacklin and directed by Nick Swan, had us audience members sitting as if attendants of a funeral, where we watched the characters closest to the deceased slowly unraveled to awkwardly and emotionally reveal the stark contrast between this man’s professional public life, and the private one they each knew.

Lost In Her, written and directed by Guelph local Rochelle Richardson, is a lovely and lyrical piece about a young married couple and their two friends, struggling with internal and external challenges, giving voice to queer issues by illustrating the ultimate universality of any relationship’s communication and mental health struggles. Time and identity were played with in an interesting and artistic twist as well in this new play.

You Kiss by the Book, written by Jonathon De Souza and directed by Peter Busby was a truly dizzying trip through 17 styles of theatre. Interpreting, re-interpreting, and re-re-interpreting the first kiss scene from Romeo and Juliet, there were some awfully fun and poignant moments of acting. I found the scene where two high school kids are being rather poor students of Shakespeare, while inadvertently having a Romeo and Juliet moment of their own, particularly believable and funny.

I had never seen theatre like this, and while it was not your conventional storyline play, the mini festival was a joyous experience that the rain couldn’t dampen.


Patti Broughton, Executive Director

Two months into my new role as GAC’s Executive Director, and the journey of meeting members of Guelph’s arts community continues. Yesterday afternoon we put on a little event called Inspiration Monday. The main driver of the event was to provide an opportunity for the community to learn about the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s new investment strategy and granting programs. I watched the wheels start turning in people’s minds as they thought about what Trillium funding could mean for their projects. Watching the second part of the event was especially inspiring for me. We asked people to bring something they were working on or that inspired them, and I watched eyes light up as people talked about their passions. As an arts manager, it’s the inspiration and creativity of the artists I have the privilege of working with that inspire me to keep dreaming, planning, connecting, writing, budgeting, fundraising, and all the other things that make up a “day in the life”.

Taryn McIntosh, Summer Co-op Student

June is my first artful pledge since beginning my work at Guelph Arts Council. Reading through the artful pledge updates from previous months, I am amazed at the amount that is always happening in the city and very inspired to become even more involved in the arts in Guelph! When I think about ‘watch’ing Guelph, I immediately think of a few of the local festivals that I look forward to every year. The annual Hillside Festival is probably my favourite Guelph event, and I fully partake in the tradition of ‘counting sleeps’ until the festival begins (only 24 left!!) especially as the summer festival season starts. Another annual event in June that I love is the Backwoods Festival. I recently attended this year’s Backwoods, which is a small music festival that started in the backyard of a Guelph teenager’s home and has grown every year since then. This year it was held in a community hall and featured young bands from Guelph, most of which are made up of current students and alumni of Guelph high schools. I am very grateful to be part of the Guelph community and smaller communities of creative people within Guelph. The talent that is visible when opportunities are given to artists here always amazes me, which is part of the reason I’m so happy to be working with Guelph Arts Council!

I’m looking forward to a great month with Guelph Arts Council and I can’t wait to attend all of the events happening in and around the city in July.

Next month we cross over to the Artful Pledge Part Two July's theme is Attend. Be there!

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