Summer arts round-up

Watch for these virtual and a few in-person offerings

Hilary Duff

As Ontario tentatively re-opens and more of us roll up our sleeves to get jabbed, the ongoing pandemic has meant the cancellation or postponement of summer arts events in Sandy Hill for the second year. But all is not lost! IMAGE checked in with a few neighbourhood theatre and music groups to see what pivoted plans are in the works.


Odyssey Theatre

A screenshot from last year’s mask-making workshop with Clelia Scala and a minotaur mask.
Photo Odyssey Theatre

Know any kids who consider themselves a maker of masks or have a passion for puppets? If so, you might want to register them for one of Odyssey Theatre’s popular mask and puppet design workshops this July.

For the second year, the online sessions will be led by Clelia Scala, a Kingston-based mask and puppet designer who has worked with Odyssey on past productions. Each workshop is $20, which covers the cost of a supply kit and shipping.

Odyssey’s youth apprenticeship program will also be hosted online this August. The free program is an excellent opportunity for high school students to learn more about the theatre profession through workshops taught by award-winning actor, playwright, and director Eleanor Crowder (Bear & Co.). Applications are due on June 23 and the program is open to thespian-loving teens across Canada.

As temperatures cool in September, Odyssey will be launching a Zoom reading series featuring folktales from cultures around the world. The online story time is a warm-up for Odyssey’s first-ever podcast series, coming this October— stay tuned to IMAGE!

Meanwhile, we will have to wait another year until we can again attend one of Odyssey’s Theatre Under the Stars productions. Artistic director and Sandy Hill resident Laurie Steven and the board made the decision in April to cancel its shows for a second summer—meaning the anticipation continues to build for this Commedia dell’arte theatre group’s 35th anniversary.

Visit to learn more about this summer’s online offerings.

Remember when we could see each other in real life? A photo from Odyssey Theatre’s 2019 Youth Apprenticeship Workshop where youth came together to create a performance for their family and friends.
Photo Odyssey Theatre


A Company of Fools

June would normally be a busy month for Fools, but COVID-19 has foiled their plans yet again! Not only has a Company of Fools been unable to rehearse for an upcoming performance—they can’t even enter their indoor space! Even if they could, general manager Keith Jackson says it’s not quite the same to prepare while masked and distanced. All this in mind, the troupe made the decision to postpone their performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest until 2022.

Until then, the Company will partner with the Ottawa Public Library for a second year of online acting and movement workshops for kids (ages 7-9 and 9-12) and teens. The free weekly workshops are set to begin in July and will run through the end of August. Once announced, updates and registration can be found at

“We do miss Strathcona [Park]”, says Keith Jackson. “It is our biggest crowd and we do hold opening night there. The community is extremely supportive and we appreciate it. We’ll be back!”

Programming updates (including the potential of fall performances) can be found at


Music and Beyond

Julian and Andrew on Marlborough

Don’t be surprised if your doorbell or building buzzer rings one day and you find yourself serenaded by a professional cellist. Julian Armour is the Artistic and Executive Director of Music and Beyond (and the cellist), and he will again be offering a series of pop-up concerts around Sandy Hill and other Ottawa neighbourhoods starting in July. Dates and locations are kept secret to minimize crowds and maximize spontaneous musical joy.

Armour says Music and Beyond is also looking forward to filming and releasing more high-quality performances on their YouTube channel—they have posted more than 200 since the pandemic began.

“We’ve been wanting to really explore ways that we can do things digitally and promote it around the world,” says Armour of the opportunity presented by COVID-19. “With the Viennese Winter Ball [a Music and Beyond fundraiser event] we got donations from all across the United States and from Europe. Those people aren’t coming to our live event but on the other hand maybe we have a model where we can do a live performance and a virtual one.”

In the meantime, be sure to mark your calendars for April 2, 2022—the date of Music and Beyond’s first officially scheduled concert! The festival will be hosting one of the few North American stops for the Vienna Piano Trio’s farewell tour.

Find out more at and subscribe to Music and Beyond on YouTube:


Art in Strathcona Park

The August event in support of the Mental Illness Caregivers Association of Canada (MICA) is on hold for a second year — meaning another postponement of the event’s 20th anniversary festivities. Art in Strathcona Park is the primary means of fundraising for MICA. Those interested in still donating to the organization can do so at


Do you have other arts events we should know about (in-person or virtual)? Email us at

A minotaur mask from last year’s Odyssey workshop, inspired by Greek mythical beasts.
Photo Clelia Scala