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Don’t miss the 26th annual One World Film Festival at the National Gallery of Canada from September 24 to 27, 2015. This is my first year as Festival Manager, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be presenting a wide-range of local and international documentary films that will inspire you to make informed choices about Canada’s future.¬†With an important federal election coming up, this is hardly the time to be apolitical! Pay-what-you-can tickets are on sale now.

ONE-WORLD-FF-POSTER-11x17-w-bleed_MP

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"In the Works"

"In the Works"

This year Odyssey Theatre took a chance by replacing their regular mainstage summer production with a modest festival called “In the Works.” The festival consists of 4 new play readings, 2 one-man performances, and a children’s theatre show called Briar Rose. Their mainstage production will take place, instead, at The Gladstone in the winter season, and will be Odyssey’s first indoor show.

The festival continues until next weekend, and there is still much more to see. But I thought I would attempt to start a discussion on the company’s decision: do you think it worked?

Taking all things into consideration (the learning benefits for the company, the potential loss of audience, the future benefits of the indoor show, the overall reputation of the company, etc.) was this festival worthwhile?

Feel free to post here anonymously!

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Puppets Up!

Yesterday I attended Almonte’s famed Puppet Festival called Puppets Up! I have attended the festival every year since its inception a few years back, and the talent and enthusiasm have never ceased to amaze me. The festival brings in fantastic shows from around the world (including the US, Mexico, Hungary, Africa…) and still celebrates its local celebrities, such as the former cast of Under the Umbrella Tree. And what’s more, the entire town gets involved! You see puppets in every window, around every street corner. Members of the community dress up and participate in the parade.

Charmer

Charmer

Kris Joseph mentioned in a previous note that we could learn a thing or two from small town communities. They really know how to celebrate their arts scene! When there’s a festival going on – whether it’s over a couple of months, or just for weekend – the whole town knows about it, and the whole town gets involved. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in Ottawa, not just the artsy folks, knew about the Fringe Festival?

Motorcycle

Motorcycle

I was pleasantly surprised to recognize a number of people from Ottawa at the Puppet Festival yesterday, including a bunch of my mum’s colleagues from the preschool. Aside from being a fun afternoon out, this was also an educational experience for them, learning how to make puppets from simple material and how to hold the attention of small children. The busker (“The Puppet Tamer”) with talking animals was especially impressive when it came to that.

Will you be my friend?

Will you be my friend?

There was a wide variety of people at this festival: all different ages, cultures, and backgrounds. For some small children, this was their first opportunity to see a live performance. And they were delighted! Some parents are worried their children won’t sit still for a 45 minute performance, but most of these kids gazed in awe at the beautiful stage creations, and mostly kept quiet, aside from the occasional: “Look at that, mommy!” I admit, my eyes often shifted from the performance to the children in the audience because they were such a joy to watch. During one show, I saw a four-year-old boy holding his two-year-old sister’s hand and encouraging her to dance with him when the music was playing. It was just so darling.

Of course, there were lots of kids at the festival. But I also saw a number of adults (without children) and a bunch of teenagers, riding around on their skateboards, and stopping to check out the shows. While most of the shows were aimed at a family audience, there was an adult puppet show in the evening that was definitely not for kids.

If you get a chance today (or next year, as this is very short notice) try and take a trip to downtown Almonte to check out Puppets Up! There is more information at http://www.puppetsup.ca. And you can…

Robin Hood

– Enjoy puppet shows for all ages, from around the world

– Experience the town of Almonte: bakeries, antique shops, book shops, toy shops, clothing…

– Learn how to make your own puppets

– Find out about other festivals, such as the Fibre Festival, happening this summer

– Check out the Puppet Parade

– Go for the Puppet Buffet at Iron Works

– Have fun!

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