Prismatic Arts Festival

The Talk 2017





The TALK: 6 sessions will bring together artistic leaders and key stakeholders in the culture sector to tackle some of the most pressing issues in the Canadian professional arts community

Free arts performances following conference events each day.

Accommodations at Atlantica Hotel – click on link to book your room at our discounted rate.





#1 As the World Turns: New Trends in Public Arts Funding (Sept. 18, 9:30am to 1pm, Room 401 Dal Arts Centre)

Public arts funding in Canada and elsewhere in the world is in the midst of changing to better serve artists, audiences and communities. This session will bring together artists and public arts funders from various jurisdictions to explore the factors that are driving changes to funding, to understand the different approaches to new funding models, and to discuss how artists have experienced these changes.

Moderator: Chris Shore (Executive Director – Arts NS)

Panelists: Claude Schryer (Senior Strategic Advisor – Arts Granting, Canada Council for the Arts), Marcel McKeough (Executive Director – Culture & Heritage Development, NS Dept. of Communities, Culture and Heritage), Claire Hopkinson (Director and CEO – Toronto Arts Council), Meena Natarajan (Executive and Literary Director – Pangea World Theatre, Minneapolis, USA)



#2 Outer Limits: Ensuring that No Artist is Left Beyond the Margins (Sept. 18, 1:45pm to 4:15pm, Room 401 Dal Arts Centre)

Are efforts to promote and support diversity in the arts leaving the behind artists who are at the outer edges: the most vulnerable, the most isolated, the least supported? What responsibilities do fellow artists owe to our colleagues to ensure that they are not left beyond the margins? How are funders and service organizations serving and supporting these artists? What are effective strategies to ensure that no artist is left beyond the margins? This panel will discuss the ways that we can best support marginalized artists in our communities.

Moderator: Nikki Shaffeeullah (Artistic Director of the AMY Project)

Panelists: Tamar Dina (Founder and Director of Music Liberatory- Halifax), Liliona Quarmyne (Dance Artist- Nova Scotia),), Rahul Varma (Artistic Director of Teesri Dunya Theatre – Montreal) , Santee Smith (Dance Artist, Artistic Director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre – Six Nations / Toronto) Paul Vienneau (Photographer, Musician and Writer – Halifax), and Paul Wong (Visual and Media Artist – Vancouver)



#3 Are You Being Served?: Are Service Organizations Meeting the Needs of Indigenous and Culturally Diverse Artists? (Sept. 19, 9:30am to 12:30pm, Room 401 Dal Arts Centre)

Prismatic invites representatives from national service organizations and artists’ associations to discuss the role that service organizations can and should play in promoting and supporting Indigenous and culturally diverse artists. What role do these organizations currently play in the Canadian arts ecology and what roles are these organizations expected to play in the next 50 years?

Moderator: Majdi Bou Matar (Artistic Director –IMPACT International Theatre Festival– Kitchener-Waterloo)

Panelists: Sara Meurling (Executive Director – Professional Association of Canadian Theatre (PACT)), Sue Urqhart (Executive Director – Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA)), Nancy Morgan (Executive Director – Theatre Nova Scotia), Arden Ryshpan (Executive Director Canada Actors Equity Association)



#4 Arrested Development: Are Touring Opportunities Influencing the Creative Process?(Sept. 19, 1pm to 3:30pm, Room 401 Dal Arts Centre)

Festivals, showcases and touring play a vital role in linking arts to audiences, but are these presenting formats (and the constraints that they present) influencing the creative process? Are artists self-censoring to make work more “tourable”? Are larger shows restricted for touring and showcase opportunities? What obligation do presenters have to take on challenging shows? Are there other ways to connect arts to audiences?

Moderator: Hugh Neilson (Managing Director – Great Canadian Theatre Company (Toronto))

Panelists: Shara Weaver (Co-Director – Propeller Dance (Ottawa)), Sarah Garton Stanley (Associate Artistic Director – English Theatre – National Art Centre (NAC)), Franco Boni (Artistic Director – The Theatre Centre (Toronto)), Norman Armour (Artistic and Executive Director – PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (Vancouver)), Lee Bolton (CAPACOA), Jorge Requena (Founder of The Mariachi Ghost and film maker – Winnipeg)



#5 A Different World: Promoting Equity and Diversity in Canadian Arts Education (Sept. 20, 9:30am to 12:30pm, Room 401 Dal Arts Centre)

Canada’s public and private schools play a key role in training young artists, transmitting Canadian and global arts history and practices, and providing the foundation for the next generation’s artistic work. What role do Canadian schools play in promoting equity and diversity in the arts? How are arts education programs promoting diversity and equity through their hiring and admissions policies, their programs and course work, and strategic planning?

Moderator: Roberta Barker (Associate Professor, Theatre Studies – Dalhousie University – Fountain School of Performing Arts)

Panelists: Gideon Arthurs (CEO – National Theatre School of Canada (Montreal)), Richard Taylor (Theatre Artist and Community Development – Halifax), Shahin Sayadi (Artistic Director, Onelight Theatre – Halifax)


Session 6 Dragon’s Den: Canada Council Information Session on New Funding Programs (Sept. 20, 1pm to 3:30pm, Room 401 Dal Arts Centre)

Prismatic welcomes representatives from Canada Council to walk participants through the process of applying for funding under the new funding programs. Emerging artist will be able to better understand the new online application processes. Established artists will be able to explore how the new programs can support their artistic work and organizational programming. All participants will be able to provide feedback to Canada Council on their experiences using the Portal.
**This session is free and open to the public**



Registration for eTALK is now open:
$35 single session (lunch not included)
$90 day pass (includes lunch)
$180 conference pass
$75 festival pass
$225 conference and festival pass (access to all Prismatic events)




Asheq – Onelight Theatre

September 19 | 4:00pm | Dal Arts Centre - Dunn Theatre | Free | Get Tickets

Join us for a workshop presentation of Onelight Theatre’s newest production in development, Asheq: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover. Developed under the artistic leadership of Shahin Sayadi, Asheq is a story of forbidden love, a family that is divided by long-held secrets, and a community that is trying to…


Cris Derksen

September 17 | 7:00pm | Rebecca Cohn Auditorium | $15-$20 | Get Tickets

In a world where almost everything — people, music, cultures — get labelled and slotted into simple categories, Cris Derksen represents a challenge. Originally from Northern Alberta she comes from a line of chiefs from North Tall Cree Reserve on her father’s side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s. She’s…


Mohsen Sharifian & Habib Meftabouchehri

September 19 | 7:00pm | Dal Arts Centre - Dunn Theatre | Free

Master musicians, trained in classical and fold music traditions of Southern Iran, Mohsen and Habib will have you on your feet when they perform high energy music that blends ancient sounds with modern electronic and world music influences. Award-winning Iranian musician, Mohsen Sharifian, brings the traditional music of the Bouchehr…


Paul Wong

Sept 14-23 | Artist Talk Sept 16 | 3:00pm | co-presented with SMU Art Gallery | Free

Free Paul Wong is a media-maestro hailing from Prince Rupert, BC. He is an award winning artist, curator and organizer of public interventions and is known for pioneering early visual and media art in Canada since the mid-1970s. His work varies from conceptual performance to narratives, meshing video, photography, installation, and performance…


Rebecca Thomas

September 14, 17 | 6:00pm, 7:00pm | Halifax Central Library, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium | Free, $15-$20 | Get Tickets

Rebecca Thomas is a Mi’kmaw woman living in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia). She is the daughter of a residential school survivor whose family is rooted in Lennox Island First Nation, Prince Edward Island. Rebecca is outspoken when it comes to confronting Indigenous stereotypes, as well as educating her colleagues and the…

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Reeny Smith

September 14 | 6:00pm | Opening Gala - Halifax Central Library | Free | Get Tickets

Reeny Smith is a talented, 25 year-old R&B/Pop artist from North Preston, Nova Scotia who has been singing and playing the piano since the age of five. She credits her inspiration for music from time spent with family and friends at her local church, Saint Thomas Baptist, where she plays…

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Studio Black!

Sept 20th | 7:00pm | Park Lane - Theatre 5 | co-presented with FIN | Get Tickets

After an award-winning Season One, the ground-breaking series Studio Black! returns to the big screen. These new stories, The Contented Lady and the Rutabaga Rascals, No. 2 Construction, The Devil at the Dance and The Wedding Picture once again demonstrate the amazing range of the talented actors in this African…


Wabanaki Confederacy Singers

Sept 14th | 6:00pm | Halifax Central Library - Paul O'Regan Hall | Free

Wabanaki Confederacy are a Northern Powwow styled singing group based out of Eastern Canada. This group strives to blend a traditional style of Mi’kmaq singing with a more current style of Northern Powwow. Wabanaki translated roughly means “People of the First Light”. The name of their group was chosen out…


Music Liberatory

September 15 | 7:00pm | Bus Stop Theatre | Free | Get Tickets

Music Liberatory aims to dramatically increase the number of female instrumentalists by providing vision and alliance. With emphasis on maintaining and developing the leadership of women of colour, Music Liberatory offers free music programs to women and girls and collaborates with artists and other groups working to create feminist music…


MT Space – The Raft

September 16, 17 | 7:00pm, 4:00pm | Dal Arts Centre - Dunn Theatre | $15-$20 | Get Tickets

Waterloo Region’s first and only multicultural theatre company MT Space Theatre and Tunisia’s El Hamra Theatre present international co-production, The Raft. The Raft: They are illegal immigrants crammed onto a small raft. They came together to share an escape and a dream. They escape countries that are torn apart by…

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Stephanie Yee – Broken English Karaoke

September 16 - 20 | 9:00pm | Bus Stop Theatre

Stephanie Yee is a multidisciplinary artist known for creating thoughtful and immersive work that interrogates concepts of community and identity. Using performance, video, sculpture and installation, she creates spaces where the audience can negotiate a work’s meaning together. Blurring the lines between real and imagined scenarios, Yee’s practice aims to…

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Devprayag Collective – Rohit Chokhani & Ashley Rose

September 18 | 4:00pm | Bus Stop Theatre | Free | Get Tickets

Devprayag Collective is a multicultural couple that demonstrates real challenges we face as Canadians today and their relationship epitomizes how these dilemmas intertwine. One is the dominant gender – the other is the dominant race. One is the marginalized race – the other is the marginalized gender. What happens when…

Dinuk Witerajne

Dinuk Wijeratne

September 18 | 7:00pm | Halifax Central Library | $15-$20 | Get Tickets

Sri Lankan-born Dinuk Wijeratne is a JUNO, SOCAN, and EMCA-winning composer, conductor and pianist. Described as ‘exuberantly creative’ by the New York Times his boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, Tabla players and DJs, and takes him to international venues. Dinuk…


Keonté Beals

September 18 | 7:00pm | Halifax Central Library | $15-$20 | Get Tickets

Keonté Beals, born and raised in North Preston, Nova Scotia, is a talented, local singer whose passion for music started at age 7.  Keonté dazzled audience members with his first solo performance, at 16 years old, in his home church, Saint Thomas Baptist Church in North Preston. This event opened…

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Liliona Quarmyne

September 18 | 5:30pm | Dal Arts Centre - Dunn Theatre | Free | Get Tickets

Liliona is an exciting, dynamic and unique addition to the Halifax performing arts scene. She wears many hats – choreographer, dancer, actor, dance teacher, singer, community organizer and facilitator.  Liliona’s work has included dancing with Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata in Montreal, choreographing for the Noyam African Dance Institute in Accra, Ghana, and creating multiple solo pieces. Her work has…


The Mariachi Ghost

September 20 | 8:00pm | Bus Stop Theatre | $20-$15 | Get Tickets

Winnipeg-based music sensation, The Mariachi Ghost, has been commissioned by the Prismatic Arts Festival to develop a new theatre / music hybrid performance: Rencor Vivo.   From driving rhythms and soaring melodies to brooding synths and dreamy vocal breaks, The Mariachi Ghost is known in Canada and United States for fusing traditional Mexican songs, progressive rock and…

Photo Credit: David Hou

Santee Smith – Kaha:wi Dance Theatre

September 21, 22, 23 | Dal Arts Centre - Dunn Theatre | co-presented with Live Art Dance

Her name is Tekaronhiáhkhwa Santee Smith and she is an Onkwehon:we woman from the Mohawk Nation,Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River.     Six Nations. Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. Re-Quickening.   As beautiful as it is arresting, Santee Smith’s ground breaking piece Re-Quickening explores the intersection of Indigenous and new dance performance. Created through a process unique to her culture,…