About The Conference

The Northern Conference for the Arts hits toronto December 4-6 2017


About Dream Big North 2017

Dream Big North 2017 is a theatre summit that will gather professionals from the provincial theatre community to create and encourage relationships between rural and urban theatre producing companies and organizations through dynamic facilitated networking sessions and discussions. Conference programming will include a Creators Exchange, a low-pressure pitch session for artists facilitated by the Playwrights Guild of Canada. The conference will also host two panel discussions: The Dynamics of Urban and Rural Theatre in Ontario and New Models for Provincial Interaction.

Dream Big North 2017 is proud to partner with organizations like Pat the Dog Theatre Creation and The Proscenium Club to present two special full-length showcases of new theatrical works by artists from Northern Ontario.

The opening night showcase will be Streetheart by Sarah Gartshore. Streetheart shines a light on one of the most marginalized groups of people in any city – the homeless. The show is based on conversations that the playwright had with homeless people in Sudbury, Ontario.

The on the closing night of the conference, The Proscenium Club, a theatre troupe hailing from North Bay, will be showcasing their newest touring work The Life and Death of John the Milkman written by Joshua Bainbridge. Set in 1959, the play tells a story about four women who are ready to claim their rights, their identities, and their own independence, at any cost.

Meetings with stakeholders on next steps to take place during the day on December 6th along with an additional performance of The Life and Death of John and the Milkman in the evening.

How Dream Big North came to be

In 2015, “DREAM BIG NORTH” – the Northern Conference for the Arts emerged as a partnership between several cultural spaces within Northern Ontario. The result was a multi-day gathering of arts leaders exploring issues of regional relevance, arts ecology, funding impacts and the collective futures for Northern Ontario and the greater arts community of Canada. This large-scale event engaged more than150 people including artists, government and culture-sector workers, arts administrators and art enthusiasts. This event held workshops, panel discussions, keynote speakers, performances, and gatherings. 

DREAMING BIG: “Dream Big” promoted enthusiasm for the possibilities of the arts within the funding climate of that time. The subtext of “Dream Big” was both a statement of our times and a proactive call to never give up on our future. At that time, our response to the ever-changing conditions in which art is conceived, produced, and engaged, was:

Don’t be discouraged.

Don’t give up.

Don’t be ashamed to DREAM BIG.

ACTION: With the current success of the arts on a federal level within Canada and the shifting climate of the arts within the province of Ontario, new relationships can be explored leading towards new dreams of a better tomorrow within the arts. The Dream Big North – “Theatre Summit” (The Summit) proposed for December 4th – 6th, 2017 is the first of a series of micro-events continuing the conversation of regional relevance in relation to larger issues. The Summit will bring several rural performing arts groups from Northeastern Ontario to engage in a 2-day summit with invited representatives of the Toronto theatre scene. This engagement is a strategy to open doors between professional rural theatre groups and those programming in Ontario’s theatre hub – Toronto. Conversations will deal with inter-regional strategies for collaboration, provincial constraints, and what collective futures can we explore together?