It may be hard to believe, but it’s only been a few weeks since we started physical isolation. Only a few weeks ago that Broadway announced it was going dark, with theatres and galleries across North America following suit. In only a few weeks, the way that we consume entertainment has changed as we completely for the foreseeable future.
While this would typically be the time the blog release its picks for the top local performances to catch in Hamilton this month, we instead offer some Canadian-focused picks for streaming. For while venues may have ceased their operation, artists have not stopped creating, and many have found ways to share their voice and talents online.
On March 19, the National Arts Centre announced a partnership with Facebook to provide funding to Canadian professional artists to livestream their work. Additional funding announced recently by the Slaight Foundation, RBC Foundation and Sirius XM Canada has allowed the project to be extended and more artists to be included in the project. While this format has lent itself primarily to music performances, artists across the country in a variety of genres have made submissions. At this point, performances are being announced roughly a week in advance, with full programme information available directly on the National Arts Centre’s dedicated series page. Performances occur at all hours of the day (typically from 11am-8pm EST), and events can be watched directly from the dedicated page, or through Facebook live.
Cirque du Soleil
The Montreal-based entertainment company and the largest contemporary circus producer in the world currently only has one performance video to offer on their website and brand new platform #CirqueConnects, but it’s simply stunning and worth the hour long watch. However, the company has been increasing their YouTube content steadily over the past few years, and this is a great time to check it out. From virtual reality and backstage tours, to face-painting tutorials to workout sessions led by artists, there is no shortage of content. If that weren’t enough, this is a great time to support the company as they try to avoid bankruptcy in light of widespread closures due to COVID-19.
Hamilton Shows Up
While it lacks in the professional quality that the other offerings on this list provide, Hamilton Shows Up is the only local compilation on this list, with most of the performers featured being artists that live and work in Hamilton. A Saturday-evening series that started on March 21, the program has seen two separate editions thus far, with the first raising over $2,000 for local artists. Like any variety programming, the quality between performers varies and the streaming technology is not always reliable; however, project founders Cobalt Connects and Steel City Music are clearly still making adjustments to the format. This may be fixed in the next edition, as the City of Hamilton recently announced start-up support for the project. If you are looking for a way to support local artists while practicing physical distancing, this is it.
My Living Room
Originally from Winnipeg, but now based out of Hamilton, Indigenous singer-songwriter iskwē began an Instagram-live series that airs daily from her account at 7pm. Part talk show, part talent show, her guests (featured over a split screen) have represented a who’s who of Canadian pop culture. From TV hosts, to musicians, to curators, friends and artists that she likes, iskwē is an engaging interviewer that has a way of making audiences feel like they are being directly included in these intriguing conversations. My Living Room is a fun and unique way to get a glimpse into the creative process of not just the Juno-nominated performer, but a number of Canadian artistic professionals.
Orchestre symphonique de Montreal
One of Canada’s finest orchestra’s also has an incredible video archive that they are able and willing to share with the public. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8pm EST, tune into the Orchestra’s website to stream an archived concert. If that time doesn’t work for your schedule, there are other shorter clips to choose from available at any time that typically showcase a single work or single performer. As many of these recordings feature some of the most popular works and performers in classical music, it’s a great way to introduce yourself to the genre if you aren’t already familiar, or hear some of the best the world has to offer.