Over 150 delegates, artist-educators, workshop leaders and vendors descended on the Hilton Meadowvale in Mississuga to celebrate Dance and Drama education in the province of Ontario. And what a celebration it was!
Starting on Thursday night with a special viewing of Kinky Boots at the Royal Alexandra Theatre hosted by Mirvish Productions, the weekend kicked into full swing on Friday night at the Opening Night Party in the Hudson Bay room at the Hilton. Graciously sponsored by Beau's All Natural Brewing, we were entertained by the Speck Brothers, who kept the mood lively (despite the Jays losing the series).
Saturday was filled with fantastic workshops by CODE teachers and artist-educators. Highlights of the day were the Panel Discussion on the Future of Drama Education, moderated by Christine Jackson who was joined by teacher Greg Danakas, scholar and researcher Kathleen Gallagher, Artist Educator Rob Kempson, and TDSB student and artist Nyame Outten-Joseph. Important questions about the future of Drama in Ontario schools were raised, and the follow-up discussion on Sunday morning allowed delegates to consider their own practice in this context. Thanks to Christine, a CODE past president, for organizing this great discussion.
An important part of our CODE conference is always the Trade Fair delegates, and to thank them for their contribution to the conference, an wonderful Trade Fair Cocktail party allowed delegates and vendors to mingle, supported by wonderful entertainment arranged by Prologue to the Performing Arts.
Our delicious dinner was capped off by two stellar Keynote presentations. We were treated to an inspiring and challenging keynote address by artist, educator, scholar, activist and dreamer Amanda Parris, who asked us to think about our practice in relation to those students who are in front of us. Intermingling scenes from her one-woman play 32C with her talk, we were entralled, entertained, and inspired.
Our Keynote performance was no less inspiring. Award-winning dancer and choreographer Jasmyn Fyffe and her dance company gave us an exceptional excerpt from her piece Pulse, which has us all in awe. Thank you to both Amanda and Jasmyn for being so amazing, and for sharing your gifts with us.
Sunday night wrapped up with a boisterous and fun cocktail party, where we were entertained by Toronto-based group Screeched inn. Their entusiastic east-coast repertoire kept us going until the wee hours of the morning.
The Conference Committee would like to extend its heartfelt thanks to the Hilton Meadowvale for their excellent service and assistence. We would also like to thank all of our Vendors and Sponsors, without whom the conference would not be possible.
Thank you to all of our workshop presenters, who year after year give us important and entretaining professional development that helps each of us grow as educators. Special thanks also to our Brock University volunteers, who helped keep us all informed about the minute-to-minute conference details.
Finally, thanks to all of the volunteers who make up the Conference Committee: Co-chairs Daniel Lalonde and Jeff Newberry, and members Beverley Bonk, Brooke Charlebois, Rob Kempson, Jessie Kennedy, Rochelle Matthews, Jennifer Mavity, Sarah Papoff, Shawn Rocheleau, Andrea Santangelo and Kim Snider. This committee, along with Ron Dodson and the Drama.Focus Arts Consulting Group, works hard to make sure that all aspects of the conference ran smoothly.
See you all in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the 2016 CODE Conference: Pick Your Path, from October 21-23, 2016 at White Oaks Resort.