Update (June 16, 2021): Grand OnStage remains on hold for in-person performances until the Regina Rosen Auditorium reopens. Alternative offerings are being presented in the meantime with in-person performances expected to resume later in 2021 as circumstances allow.
Grand OnStage performances are supported and amplified by engagement that aims to build community and expand the reach of the presenting program. Through master classes, pre-and post-show artist talks, workshops, partnerships, artist residencies, and more, the engagement program supports greater access and opportunities for engagement with the performing arts for all. The Kingston Grand Theatre and Grand OnStage also offer young people the opportunity to experience world-class theatre, dance, and music through a live performance school programs and arts learning.
Engagement and Learning Highlights
In 2019, an Elder-in-Residence program was introduced to share knowledge, traditional teachings, and offer cultural support to Grand OnStage patrons and artists. Grandmother Kathy Brant is the current Elder-in-Residence. She is Mohawk of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy and has worked with Indigenous communities for close to 25 years.
In 2020, engagement opportunities including post-show artist talks and partnerships were delivered as part of the Virtual Grand OnStage program that launched in September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, Kingston Grand Theatre launched a new Local Arts Residency for Kingston-based artists in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the performing arts. The residency, which takes place in Kingston Grand Theatre’s Regina Rosen Auditorium is open to Kingston-based artists and collectives working in varying performing arts disciplines and provides participants space and support to explore new ideas, create, self-direct their research and time, and nurture new directions in their work.
Conversations with local, emerging artists - A new audio series titled On the Contrary, created by young emerging artists, for young emerging artists in Kingston has launched. This program is co-hosted the City’s Arts Program Assistants and artists, Kemi King and Gloria Digby and features and profiles young, emerging Kingston performing artists to learn about their practice, how they’ve navigated COVID-19, and what they see shifting in the sector in Kingston and beyond. The series aims to create new links between artists and audiences and promote the Grand Theatre as a space that supports and engages local artists. This series is presented by the City of Kingston, the Arts & Culture Services department, and Kingston Grand Theatre.
All episodes are now live for listening through SoundCloud:
Episode 1 - get to know your hosts Kemi King and Gloria Digby! Kemi King (she/her) is a writer, director, performance artist, and divisor and Gloria Digby is a performer, choreographer, and educator.
Episode 2 - a conversation with Fonts the Duo, a brother-sister duo originally from Caracas, Venezuela. One half of the duo, Jessica Rosales is currently working towards her Musical Theatre Bachelor and Honours Bachelor in the Arts at Queen’s University joint with St. Lawrence College. Fonts the Duo combines folk, pop, alternative, and funk and have been singing and writing songs for years.
Episode 3 - Nicole Daniels (she/her) is a Katarokwi/Kingston-based artist and arts professional. She works primarily in encaustic painting, and sees working with encaustics as an education in the act of letting go. Nicole is the Coordinator/Curator for Next Door and presently works for Skeleton Park Arts Festival. As an arts professional, Nicole aspires to support and uplift emerging artists.
Episode 4 - Denzel (AKA Djimon) takes dance performance and instruction with joy pushing to exceed his limits and the limits of those around him. He has competed in Battle of the Year Zimbabwe 2009, Battle For Your Life New Jersey 2013, and Dreamstar Zimbabwe 2015. With foundations in popping, locking, housing, b-boying, hip hop and afro-beats dance styles, Djimon facilitates both choreographed and freestyle dance classes and events to all ages making dance more accessible to everyone.
Episode 5 - Billie the Kid is a K’ai Taile Dené and Nehiyaw spoken word poet and storyteller. Originally from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, she currently resides in Kingston, Ontario, the traditional home of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Huron-Wendat. Her poetry breathes life into narratives as she explores relationships with family, friends, food, and the dynamic nature of dreams. Billie holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University, and has performed at events across Turtle Island from CUPSI to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. In 2020 she took second place at the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam, and later that year she released her second chapbook, ‘Caress me if I’m wrong’.
Episode 6 - Paul Smith (he/il) is a Thursday-born performer, creator, and facilitator from Stittsville, ON. on the unceded lands of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation within Treaty 27. While based in Katarokwi/Kingston, he’s been seen with Queen’s Players, The Kick & Push Festival, Theatre Kingston, 6AM Productions, and foldA. Using the teaching of Sankofa, he explores how narratives that centre marginalized bodies can be adapted into stories of reclamation, innovation, and protest, and is passionate about the symbiotic relationship between theatre and film.
Episode 7 - Nicholas Crombach is the artist behind the new City of Kingston permanent public artwork "Horse and Cart" located in Victoria Park. Nicholas Crombach has been awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award. His solo exhibition, The End of the Chase, travelled in 2018-2019, exhibiting at New Art Projects in London UK, Art Mûr Berlin and Art Mûr Montréal. In 2019 Crombach produced an exhibition of collaborative works with artist Nurielle Stern entitled Whale Fall, presented at The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo. Crombach's work has been reviewed in Border Crossings Magazine and Vie des Arts. Most recently, Crombach was commissioned by the City of Kingston to create Horse and Cart which was installed in Victoria Park in June 2021. From 2016-2017 Crombach participated in a year-long residency at The Florence Trust (London, UK) and has been invited to take part in a MASS MoCA residency (summer 2022) in Massachusetts.
Learn more about Kingston Grand Theatre and Grand OnStage engagement and learning opportunities below.