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DEC 1 - DEC 5

Join the Canadian Stage team, along with an incredible collection of thought leaders from across the country, for the December 2020 Festival of Ideas and Creation. For this iteration of the Festival, we invite artists and audiences to delve deep into inspiration and idiosyncratic connection as we talk plants, cultivation, growth, and self-care.

What is the FIC?

The Festival of Ideas and Creation is a gathering of Artists, Arts Practitioners, and Thought Leaders from a variety of disciplines. The Festival is built to be a responsive space to consider creative practices. It is a space for artists and audiences to come together, and interrogate and investigate that which is pressing, new, or challenging in artistic creation communities. It is a space that will build and feed the creative imagination of all participants, presenting engaging panels, workshops, and lively guided discussion groups. The FIC will build networks and enhance community connections, foster curiosity and imagination, and connections between artistic communities and Canadian Stage.

All Events Will Happen Online




Welcome Event
Dr. Duke Redbird in conversation with Audra Santa

Tuesday December 1, 5PM EST
90 minutes
Followed by a Q&A moderated by Audra Santa

Dr. Duke Redbird shares his keynote presentation, first given as part of the Inaugural Indigenous Digital Delegation at MIT, Dish with One Spoon. Dr. Redbird will frame his talk "A Blink of an Eye, A Stroke of a Pen, A Click of a Mouse, Speed of Light"

  • Dr. Duke Redbird
  • Audra Santa


Presentation: The Geometry of Plants
Joseph Pitawanakwat

Wednesday December 2, 5PM EST
60 minutes

Joseph Pitawanakwat is a member of the Wikiwemikong First Nation and now resides in Peterborough via Manitoulin Island. Through Creators Garden, Joseph shares his passion for the healing properties of plants, the legitimacy of plant-based medicine, and the intricacies of how to sustainably harvest and use every part of many beautiful plants. Joseph combines three methods when researching any plant-based medicine – Traditional Proof, Scientific Proof, and the Doctrine of Signatures, an ancient method of interpreting plants by looking at their features and the storytelling inherent in their geometries.
(source: The Hive Centre).

  • Joseph Pitawanakwat


Workshop: Stillness in Action
Rose Cortez with Pamphinette Buisa

Thursday December 3, 11AM EST
90 minutes
Nurturing a holistic Mind and Body Practice

This workshop will include a 45-minute yoga movement practice, a 30-minute moderated conversation, and a 15-minute reflection on stillness.
Victoria-based Theatre Artist and Yoga teacher, Rose Cortez will lead a Yoga Movement workshop focused on the nurturing of a holistic mind and body practice during this time of Covid. How to we cultivate a practice of courageous self-care that allows us to bring our full selves to the call to action, as an artistic community in our current landscape. The workshop will be followed by a conversation with Pamphinette Buisa, member of the Canada women's national rugby sevens team and Youth Activist who is based in Lekwungen Territory in Victoria, British Columbia.
Moderated by Tawiah M’Carthy

  • Rose Cortez
  • Pamphinette Buisa
  • Tawiah M'Carthy

Wisdom Keepers: Braiding Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants
with Robin Wall Kimmerer, hosted by Sandra Laronde

Co-presented by Red Sky Performance and Canadian Stage
Thursday December 3, 3PM EST
90 minutes

Botanist and writer Robin Wall Kimmerer joins host Sandra Laronde in a conversation, as part of the Wisdom Keepers Series, that will illuminate our collective need for interdependence and connection at a time of crisis and injustice.

In her best-selling book, Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer deftly argues that the regenerative capacity of Mother Earth will help create the conditions needed for renewal. Her work makes a poignant case for cultures of ‘regenerative reciprocity’ and, as a global pandemic intensifies, her wisdom is timelier and more relevant than ever.

  • Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Sandra Laronde
Red Sky Performance logo



Plants as Teachers
Friday December 4, 5PM EST
90 minutes

In this time of change, (un)rest, and hibernation, how are plants modelling the way forward with their generations of experience? Why do we keep using the word “ecology” to describe arts industries? What can we learn from plants about diversity, purpose, resilience, and adaptation? Why do we think plants have become so popular on social media? What can we learn from plants as performance-makers and justice-seekers? Lean into the magic of plants in conversation with distinguished thinkers, practitioners, and artists.



Workshop: The Sensual is Sacred
Dainty Smith

Saturday December 5, 11AM EST
90 minutes
Space is limited, pre-registration required.

Dainty Smith, creator of Body Love, a workshop “designed to empower Queer and Trans exercise, performance development and increase performance opportunities”, will lead The Sensual is Sacred, an offering that asks participants the question: How can we look at our bodies and ourselves as sacred alters ?

Participants will be asked to think about deliberate acts of self love to create an intentional practice focusing on sensuality. Each participant will create a ritual that explores a sensuality that can be practiced everyday. This deliberate and vulnerable workshop attempts to respond to violence against bodies of all shapes, sizessizes, and abilities by re-centering care as a radical act. Using tools rooted in burlesque, we'll explore how glamour, softness, and pleasure help to reframe the fundamental relationship with our bodies.

  • Dainty Smith
  • Kalale Dalton-Lutale

Knowledge Café: Seeking Inspiration
Café Host: Mel Hague
Saturday December 5, 4PM EST
120 minutes

A series of small-group, guided conversations, the Knowledge Café will ask participants to explore ways in which we can evolve our understandings of connection and healing to widen our perspectives on community health. The Knowledge Café is a moderated conversation exercise, hosted by Associate Artistic Director Mel Hague.

Participants will be put into small groups; each with a facilitator/note taker and a topic or question for conversation. The groups will have 30 minutes to engage on the topic, after which they will move to another group and topic of conversation. The facilitator/note takers in each group will consolidate the ideas and learnings that came out of these discussions and will share them with everyone who participated.

  • Mel Hague
  • Facilitators To Be Announced

All Events Will Happen Online

Augusto Bitter photo
Augusto Bitter
Augusto Bitter is a performer, writer, facilitator, and artistic producer based in Toronto. They are a Resident Artist at Aluna Theatre and have been in-residence at Canadian Stage, Theatre Passe Muraille, and hub14. They’ve trained with Teatro delle Radici (Switzerland), Manifesto Poetico (Paris), Canada's National Voice Intensive, Aluna Theatre's Interpretation Lab, and the University of Toronto. Augusto is also a youth educator with Soulpepper and Story Planet. They are developing a new piece—Reina—with musician Y Josephine, and their short film cannibal will be a part of Toronto Queer Film Festival 2021. Food is their love language.
Pamphinette Buisa photo
Pamphinette Buisa
Pamphinette Buisa is born in the Algonquin Anishinaabe territory, also known as Ottawa, ON, and lived most of her life in Gatineau, QC. She has been living on Lekwungen Territories, also known as Victoria, BC, to pursue her Olympic dreams and is a member of the National Senior Women's Rugby 7s team. In addition, Buisa is studying Political Science with a minor in Social Justice and is passionate about amplifying the voices of those in marginalized communities. Through organizing, rallies, and events, Buisa strives to evoke intersectional approaches to her work to create intentional and deeply rooted relationships.
Rose Cortez photo
Rose Cortez
My name is Rose Cortez and I’m a Yoga Teacher and Theatre Artist living on Lekwungen Territory in Victoria, B.C. I’ve dedicated my work-life-balance to uplifting and empowering folks to bloom in Yoga & Arts for over a decade in B.C, Canada. I have been an advocate for Representation in Theatre Arts and Yoga since 2006 in Toronto. I’ve had the honour with humility and respect to be able to visit many Indigenous communities and territories with the intention of learning about their values, cultures and teachings. As a Yoga Teacher my most recent work is co-creating a Yoga, Arts & Nature Retreat in 2019 with Haida Arts & Culture in Old Massett, Haida Gwaii. My latest new project is sparking up a Yoga & Art Installation with Bloom Yoga Blocks with the intentions of courage, connection and change. Stillness in Action is a continuum of this lifelong healing work & journey of creative collaborations with Yoga, Artists and Athletes across Canada.
Kalale Dalton-Lutale photo
Kalale Dalton-Lutale
Kalale Dalton-Lutale is a Black queer playwright and performer originally from Tkaronto/Toronto. Her work embraces surrealism, mothers, loss and pop culture. Her plays includes Pinky Swear (Geordie Productions, nominated for a Tom Henry Award, directed by Mike Payette 2017), Crybaby (presented by Black Theatre Workshop and Playwrights Workshop Montreal, directed by Jesse Stong 2019), When We Were Young (Geordie Productions Festival Reading, directed by Dean Flemming 2019), and i am entitled to rest (New Words Festival Directer by Murdoch Schon, 2019), and Habibi’s Angels: Commission Impossible (Talisman, directed by Sohpie Gee). Kalale is a recent playwriting graduate from the National Theatre school of Canada.
Mel Hague photo
Mel Hague
Mel Hague is a Toronto-based Curator and dramaturge. Mel is the Associate Artistic Director at Canadian Stage. Previously, Mel has worked with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Obsidian Theatre Company, Factory Theatre, Banff Centre Playwrights Colony, bcurrent performing arts, fu-Gen Asian Canadian Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre, Queer Acts Festival, The Paprika Festival, and Mulgrave Road Theatre. Mel was the Director of the Rhubarb Festival from 2014-2019 and was selected as a Leader in Residence at the National Theatre School of Canada (2018/19). Selected Dramaturgy work includes Venus’ Daughter by Meghan Swaby (Obsidian Theatre Company, February 2016), Up the Garden Path by Lisa Codrington (Obsidian Theatre Company, April 2016), Black Boys by Saga Collectif with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (November 2016), and lulu v.7 aspects of a femme fatale (red light district with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, April 2018). Mel sits on the Board of Directors for the Summerworks Festival.
Robin Wall Kimmerer photo
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, professor, and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of the bestselling book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants and Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses which won the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. She has a PhD in Botany from the University of Wisconsin and is a distinguished professor in environmental biology at the State University of New York.
Sandra Laronde photo
Sandra Laronde
Sandra Laronde is an arts leader, creator, and the Executive & Artistic Director of Red Sky Performance. She is from the Teme-Augama-Anishinaabe (People of the Deep Water) from Temagami, northern Ontario. She is the host of REDTalks and the Wisdom Keepers Series.
Tawiah M'Carthy photo
Tawiah Ben M'Carthy
Tawiah M’Carthy is a Ghanaian born Theatre artist and professional based in Toronto. He is a founding member of Blue Bird Theatre Collective and Saga Collectif. Tawiah’s playwright/creator/ performer credits include The Kente Cloth (Summerworks 2008), Obaaberima (Buddies in Bad Theatre, 2013 Dora Award winner for Best Production), Black Boys (Saga Collectif) and Maanomaa, My Brother (Blue Bird Theatre Collective). He has worked with various arts organizations across the country including Obsidian Theatre, Shaw Festival Theatre, Stratford Festival Theatre, Factory Theatre, The NAC, fu-GEN Theatre, The Cultch and Native Earth Performing Arts. He is currently the Artist Outreach and Development Coordinator at Canadian Stage and the Program Director for 2021 Emerging Creators Unit at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Tawiah is a Dora Award-nominated Playwright and Performer.
Jospeph Pitawanakwat photo
Jospeph Pitawanakwat
I am Ojibway from Wiikwemkoong, married with one daughter. I am the Founder & Director of Creators Garden, an Indigenous outdoor, and now online, education-based business, focused on plant identification, beyond-sustainable harvesting, and teaching every one of their linguistic, historical, cultural, edible, ecological and medicinal significance through experiences. My lectures and intensive programming are easily adaptable to make appropriate and successfully delivered to a variety of organizations, including over 100 first nations communities, 20 Universities and 12 colleges and dozens of various institutions throughout Canada and the United States and beyond. I am currently a Masters Student in the MES program at York University, but have learned from hundreds of traditional knowledge holders and uniquely blending and reinforcing it with and array of western sciences.
Dr. Duke Redbird
Dr. Duke Redbird, elder, poet, activist, educator, and artist
With a legacy stretching back to the 1960s, he is a pillar of First Nations literature in Canada, and has practiced a number of art disciplines including poetry, painting, theatre, and film. He was a trailblazer throughout the '60s and '70s giving voice to Indigenous people at major institutions and folk festivals across the country. From 1994-2009, he was an arts & entertainment reporter for CITY TV in Toronto.
He holds a Master’s degree from York University and received an Honorary Doctorate from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University in 2013. Duke Redbird is also featured on Native North America which received a Grammy Award nomination for best historical album in December 2015.
Duke recently recorded his poem The Power of the Land with The Sultans of Strings.
He occupies the position as Elder with the following organizations: Myseum Toronto, The Toronto Biennial, SummerWorks, the Toronto Arts Council’s Banff Leaders Lab, and is Artist in Residence with the Urban Indigenous Education Centre at the Toronto District School Board.
Audra Santa photo
Audra Santa
Audra Santa is a Musician, moderator, and medial woman, Audra Santa is a creative communicator who acts as a bridge between worlds.
Audra creates spaces for stories to unveil truths and conversations to deepen connection. She has hosted and produced interviews, podcasts, and videos, including elevating Indigenous voices as host of DWF Live.
As a musical artist, Audra’s multi-disciplinary work embodies soul and sensuality, a commentary on a woman taking back her power. Her self-directed music videos are artful and provocative, with her latest single receiving rave reviews in the UK and Europe, building anticipation for her upcoming EP ‘The Boudoir Project’.
Audra also works as an energy intuitive and spiritual mentor, applying her layers of study in psychology, spirituality, and health to help guide others on their paths.
audrasanta.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Anji Shukla photo
Anji Shukla
Anji Shukla is a single black boss lady, committed mother and lover of all things beautiful. Formerly a designer of fashion and jewelry, now designing landscapes and florals, searching for beauty in everything and appreciative of every drop goodness out there.
Jazz Shukla photo
Jazz Shukla
Smart, athletic boss lady. Neuroscience major. Thinker. Searching for the things that bring humans joy.
Dainty Smith
Dainty Smith
Dainty Smith is a Toronto-based Actor, Burlesque Performer, Playwright and Producer. Dainty believes that through the art of storytelling and a willingness to be exposed that genuine human connections can be made. Dainty studied performing arts at George Brown College and is a powerful self-taught storyteller and performer. Her diverse array of stage performances includes Rock. Paper. Sistahz for B Current Theatre, Caminos Festival for Aluna Theatre, The Rhubarb Festival for Buddies In Bad Times Theatre and The Luminato Arts Festival. She is the founder of Les Femmes Fatales: Women of Colour Burlesque Troupe, the first burlesque troupe for women and femmes of colour in Canada.
Cheyenne Sundance photo
Cheyenne Sundance
Cheyenne Sundance is the owner and manager of Sundance Harvestt, a year-round urban farm in Toronto, ON, that's rooted in food justice and eradicating systemic racism in the food system. Sundance Harvest grows a variety of produce and runs a free educational program called Growing in the Margins for low-income youth who are a part of a marginalized group (BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ and youth with disabilities). As an organic farmer, Cheyenne has worked in both rural and urban settings where she tended to fields of vegetables, fruit forests and livestock. Her farming has always been with a social justice framework since being able to grow your own food is the foundation of independence. She is a food justice educator with experience working in community organizing and political resistance movements.