Affinity Groups

Are you an artist/arts worker caring for children, older adults, or those needing full-time support?

Balancing Act offers affinity groups for artists and arts workers with caring responsibilities; a supportive space to dialogue and exchange resources. Welcoming new members always, Balancing Act’s Affinity Groups are a confidential, peer support, caregiver-friendly, ‘come when you can and as you can’ space. Featuring guest artists from time to time, and active listeners to support the room.

Upcoming

For the 2023-24 season, Balancing Act is partnering with the WHEAT Institute (Expressive Arts Therapy Training) to provide therapists to lead both our affinity groups and one-on-one therapy. Please reach out to balancingact@theatredirect.ca if you have questions or would like to keep up to date on these opportunities.

Past

Monday June 19, 1-2:30pm ET

Single/Solo Parents Affinity Group with Guest Artist Sally Morgan

Interdisciplinary dance/performance artist Sally Morgan will lead the group through “Wandering/Wondering Together”, an embodied practice that includes writing, reflection, and discussion.

Check out Sally’s current gallery exhibition This Body of Work: rendering, reassembling, and performing motherworlds (with the Sense Archive)

Register for this group HERE

Monday May 15, 12:30-2pm EDT (zoom) *Note the 12:30 start time

Affinity Group welcoming All Parents and Caregivers!

Register HERE

Featuring Guest Artist Shira Leuchter and Active Listener Ella Cooper

Shira Leuchter (she/her) is an actor, performance creator, and creative dramaturge. Much of her work includes performance, live art, and installation. Her work is rooted in the meaningful consideration of the role of the audience and the nature of their relationship to the performance. Shira makes performances that invite audiences to imagine new ways to be together. She’s interested in what happens to a performance if we replace traditional dramatic conflict with collaboration, with an invitation to make something together.

Shira’s live art performance Lost Together was awarded the 2018 SummerWorks Festival Production Prize and was presented at Progress Festival, Nightwood Theatre, and In the Soil Festival. It will be presented by OFFTA in Montreal in the spring of 2023. She’s received commissions from organizations like the Gardiner Museum and Harbourfront Centre. unspuntheatre.com

Shira’s work has been written about in academic journals and she has contributed writing to Canadian Theatre Review. She is co-editing an upcoming CTR issue on the topic of care. She’s been a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto, Toronto Metropolitan University and Concordia University. She’s a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and holds an MA in Theatre and Performance Studies from York University. She’s an Associate Artist with Theatre Direct and a member of the Steering Committee for Balancing Act Canada.

Shira identifies as a disabled, Jewish (Ashkenazi) artist. She has two young daughters who are both very cool and funny people.

Monday, April 17, 1-2:30pm ET: Caring for Aging Adults and Parents

This session is for artists/arts workers caring for aging adults. It is a peer support session, facilitated by the wonderful Roula Said.

You can register for the Affinity Group HERE

Monday, March 20, 3-4:30pm ET: THINKING OF BECOMING A PARENT?

Balancing Act’s March 2023 Affinity Group is directed towards artists and arts workers who are thinking of becoming a parent.

From financial considerations, to professional concerns, and personal challenges, the prospect of becoming a parent can seem very daunting, even before the physical experience comes into play.

We will be joined by Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster and Julia Hune Brown, two artist caregivers and members of our community who have recently become parents, to share their experiences and learnings and also respond to questions from those in the room. Questions can also be sent in advance to balancingact@theatredirect.ca.

We recognize that this can be a vulnerable time. This Affinity Group will be hosted as a webinar on Zoom and our Affinity Groups are confidential, peer support, friendly, ‘come when you can and as you can’ spaces. Active Listener Blessyl Buan will be present to support the room.

To register: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/march-affinity-group-thinking-of-becoming-a-parent-tickets-574901073587

Monday, February 13, 1-2:30pm EST (Zoom):

Solo/Single Parents Expressive Arts Affinity Group

Balancing Act hosts an online Expressive Arts Session exclusively for solo/single parents in the arts.

Expressive Arts Therapist Norma Araiza will facilitate a revitalizing session to reconnect with the self and engage in some artistic play!

Registration via email: balancingact@theatredirect.ca. For ease, feel free to copy the following: “Please register me for Balancing Act’s solo/single parents group on Monday, February 13”

Expressive Arts Therapy (EXAT) encourages participants to explore the joys of creative expression within a variety of art modalities, providing a channel for healing, meeting the individuals exactly where they are at the moment, and without any expectations.

Monday, January 23, 2023, 1-2:30pm EST (Zoom):

All Caregivers/Parents Affinity Group: Recovery and Re-emergence

Guest artist Blessyl Buan, dance artist, community healer, and mother of 4, will offer her personal story about re-emerging as an artist in midlife; reckoning with identity and wellness while caregiving as a creative. This will open a discussion on recovery from burnout and re-awakening the artistic voice.

With active listener Victoria Mata.

Monday, December 12, 2022, 1-2:30 EST (Zoom): Restorative Holiday Session with Roula Said

Dive into Seven Waves Movement with Roula and wash away some seasonal stress! Restore and resource yourself with soothing sequences that will invite you to spiral, circle, undulate and shake out the dusty places. What do you need? Just a bit of space to move your feet and a chair. Can be done seated.

Roula Said is a singer, dancer, musician, actor and poet of Palestinian heritage based in Toronto, Canada.  Roula has been studying, teaching and performing Arab music and dance for over 30 years. From within her tradition as practiced here in the west (where she has also explored many other styles of movement, music, voice and dance). Roula has created Seven Waves Movement and Embodied Voice, original and innovative methodologies rooted in the Arab Arts and open to the world. She is also a member of Wild Soma Collective, along with Andrea Nann, Shannon Litzenberger and Julia Aplin, exploring embodiment as a world-making practice and an architecture connecting us to ourselves, each other and all of life. As a musician and poet, Roula sings and plays qanun (table-harp) and percussion to accompany traditional Arabic songs and original songs created from her Sufi-inspired poems. Deeply interested in ceremony and meaningful transitions, Roula also works as a wedding officiant and a death doula, supporting and empowering individuals and families to expand into areas of greater choice, agency and even beauty when it comes to death care.

https://www.roulasaid.com/

Monday, November 14, 2022, 1-2:30 EST (Zoom): All Parents and Caregivers

Featuring special guests The Sense Archive: Ruth Douthwright, Sally Morgan, and Jessica Winton, who are collectively working on This Body of Work, exploring critical feminist performance(s) of motherhood and maternal agency through lived bodily/cellular experiences. With active listener Victoria Mata.

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 1-2:30pm EDT (Zoom): Caring for Aging Adults and Parents

This session is focused on caregiving for aging adults. Expressive Arts Therapist Norma Araiza will support the room in conversation, as well as facilitate a therapeutic expressive arts activity.

Monday, October 17, 2022, 1-2:30 EST (Zoom): Guest Speaker: Artist and Curator Jenn Goodwin

Jenn Goodwin is a Tkaronto/Toronto based dance artist, curator, and artistic producer/programmer. A settler, feminist, mover and mother of two, much of her art and producing practice focuses on dismantling barriers to art for both artists and publics, temporary art in public space and championing artists and communities by way of their art practices. With Active Listener Blessyl Buan.

Monday, September 19, 2022, 1-2:30pm EDT (Zoom)

Welcoming Guest Artist Sanita Fejzić, award-winning Bosnian-Canadian writer and playwright, PhD candidate in social and ecological justice, and mother to two children. Supported by active listener Victoria Mata. Open discussion to follow.

Monday, June 20, 2022, 2-3:30pm EDT: Caring for Aging Adults and Parents

Balancing Act’s first affinity group for artists/arts workers who are caring for aging adults and parents. With special guest Reshmi Chetram, who will speak to her lived experience. Supported by active listener Victoria Mata. Open discussion to follow.

Monday, May 16, 2022, 1-2:30pm EDT (Zoom)

Welcoming guest artist Anne-Marie Ouellet. Anne-Marie is a francophone playwright and director whose recent creations have featured children of all ages. This affinity group will be in French, with English translation.

Venez nous rejoindre lundi le 16 mai, de 13 h à 14 h 30 (HE), alors que Balancing Act accueille l’artiste invitée Anne-Marie Ouellet pour notre prochain groupe d’affinité.Anne-Marie est une dramaturge et metteure en scène francophone dont le récent diptyque (La chambre des enfants et White Out), présenté au Centre National des Arts, a intégré les jeunes à la programmation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 1-2:30pm EST (Zoom)

With guest artist Maiko Yamamoto, a Vancouver-based artist who creates new, experimental and intercultural works of performance.  Since 2003, Maiko has been Co-Artistic Director of the Vancouver-based performance company, Theatre Replacement, founded with James Long. Active listener Blessyl Buan will be present.

Monday, March 21, 2022, 1-2:30pm EST (Zoom)

We are excited to welcome guest artist Kanika Ambrose, a Toronto-based playwright and librettist, who will speak to the interweaving of her experiences as a new mother and a writer. With active listener Ella Cooper.

Monday, January 24, 2022, 1-2:30pm EST (Zoom)

We are so pleased to welcome as our guests Lenka Clayton, founder of An Artist Residency in Motherhood, and Tracey Norman, a Toronto-based choreographer who recently participated in the ARIM. Both will speak to their experiences in this unique residency, and be available for questions. Open discussion to follow.

Monday, December 20, 2021, 1-2:30pm EST (Zoom)

The Fireside Edition! Come and share your latest tips, tools, and tricks.

Created by Dancer & Choreographer
Kate Kamo McHugh with Isabel

Cinematography Colin Boyd Shafer, Music Once Again by Benjamin Tissot

If you require any assistance with accessibility including access to the internet or a device, or if you have any questions, please contact us at balancingact@theatredirect.ca.