Sudbury arts and entertainment scene: YES Theatre extends 1939

Ora Sawyers

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The hit play 1939 at the Sudbury Theatre Centre and has been extended until April 7.

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“Jani Lauzon, our designers and this remarkable company of actors have created a profoundly special piece of theatre. At the dress rehearsal I was floored by the power of the piece,” said Alessandro Costantini, artistic and managing director. “It’s a great privilege to bring this story to our community and I know audiences will be moved by the brilliant power, humour and resilience of this incredible work. I am so proud of it and urge you to get out to the theatre to check it out.”

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Preparing for a visit by King George VI, students at a fictional residential school in northern Ontario are tasked with staging a production of Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well. But art can be a vehicle for self-expression and humour is a powerful form of resilience. While a traditional and rigid approach to Shakespeare clashes with their perspectives, the Indigenous students begin to draw parallels between their own lives and the characters in the play. Discover alongside them themes of resilience and defiance against colonial expectations.

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As Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy is dissected, 1939 evolves into a powerful statement of self-determination and a bold reclaiming of cultural identity.

Directed and co-written by iconic Indigenous artist Jani Lauzon, the play is set in a fictional residential school in 1939. It explores the systemic erasure of Indigenous cultures by these institutions and its agents by way of racism, discrimination, colonial violence and family separation.

Tickets for 1939 are available at $35 (plus tax) for youth and $53 for adults. 1939 is also included in the 2024 season pass. For more information, please visit

James Gray and Empty House win Meltdown competition

Over the weekend, Northern Lights Festival Boreal’s BLOOM mini-fest animated downtown Sudbury with a vibrant musical celebration. Sudburians and visitors alike enjoyed memorable performances from an exciting array of artists with roots around the world.

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On Sunday, the Meltdown competition closed out the festivities. Meltdown is a juried audition/showcase event and concert. Northern Ontario musicians competed for paid slots at the summer festival, which takes place July 4-7 at Bell Park.

“Northern Lights Festival Boreal would like to congratulate this year’s Meltdown winners”, said Tessa Balaz, executive director of Festival Boreal. “We had a unique and talented roster of artists, and we’re thrilled to welcome the judge’s picks to the festival line-up this summer.”

James Gray won the solo/duo category. Hailing from Almaguin, Gray is a contemporary version of an old-school traveling folk singer. Over the past decade, Gray has toured throughout Canada, Europe and Australia, seeing the world and sharing his beloved songs along the way.

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A unique finger-style guitarist, with vocals that are hauntingly beautiful, Gray, immerses himself in each and every song with a soulfulness and attack that is infectious and disarming. With a broad grin and good natured chuckle, Gray will often smile into the microphone and state matter-of-factly that he wants you to remember who he is.

Gray has been a musical guest at TED Talks held on the west coast of Canada. Music from his albums has received regular airplay on CBC radio.

In 2019 he won himself a spot at The Mariposa Folk Festival through their showcase auditions. Since then Gray has been invited to perform at four Mariposa events, two Troubadour Festivals and the Muskoka Music Festival. When not touring, he plays a regular circuit of pubs, theatres and house concerts throughout Ontario.

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Empty House won the band/ensemble category. Based in North Bay, anticipation for an Empty House album has been building since they formed in September 2023. The quartet’s ethereal melodies, echoing guitar riffs and introspective lyrics create a sonic experience that, as their name suggests, is as ambient as it is locked in.

Their live shows are noteworthy too, as they consistently prove to be an immersive journey that showcases not only the band’s songwriting but their ability to connect simultaneously with their instruments and the audience.

Cinefest bringing The Movie Man to local screen

Cinéfest Sudbury is set to bring The Movie Man to the big screen as part of its 2024 Red Carpet Patron program. The documentary, filmed in the Kawartha Lakes region, will screen at SilverCity on March 27 at 7 p.m.

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Keith Stata opened Highlands Cinemas in 1979. What began as a single screen transformed into a five-screen multiplex showing first-run films over the course of its 40-year history.

Changes in technology, dwindling ticket sales, a popcorn-eating bear and his 50 cats all contribute to the chaos. The Movie Man follows Stata as he is beaten down with issues and complications due to COVID-19. With no family and few friends to help, he is confronted with insurmountable challenges.

Individual tickets are on sale now at; at the box office, 40 Larch St., unit 103; or by calling 705-688-1234. All red carpet patrons are granted complimentary admittance.

The Red Carpet Patron program offers access to six yearly film screenings, exclusive perks at Cinéfest Sudbury, and more. Passes are available now at

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Laurentian University’s literary journal calling for submissions

Sulphur, Laurentian University’s literary journal, is calling for submissions of prose and poetry by emerging and established writers.

Short stories, flash fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry of all kinds can be emailed to [email protected]. Please include a cover letter indicating any previous publications.

“We’re excited about this edition,” said co-editor Abigail Oshell. “Sulphur offers such a unique experience of student and community representation for aspiring and established writers.”

The deadline for submissions is April 1. Full guidelines for submission can be found at

Established in 2011, Sulphur was founded by students of LU’s English program, including award-winning writers Brenden Vidito and Rebecca Salazar. Continuing as a student-run literary journal, 12 issues of Sulphur have been published to date, featuring the work of some of the best writers from the Sudbury area and beyond.

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Sudbury Music Festival opens April 4

The 2024 Sudbury Music Festival will be held from April 4-13. Participants will have the opportunity to experience live performances, carrying on a 77-year tradition.

The majority of participants will perform and receive feedback face-to-face with their adjudicator. School choirs, bands and other large ensembles outside of Greater Sudbury will have the option to submit video recordings for adjudication or perform in-person.

“Festival co-ordinator Louis Simão and the organizing board have been working for the past several months to ensure Sudbury and area music students have a chance to perform and compete as they have over the past 77 years,” said Ralph McIntosh, board chair. “After two challenging, but successful online festivals, we are all looking forward to the return of more live, in-person events.”All relevant information, including the 2024 syllabus, is now available on the festival website at

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Competition classes, open to the public (admission is $5 at the door), will take place at Knox Hall, 73 Larch St. Attendees can indulge in the enchanting world of classical music, presented by talented competitors ranging in age from six to 60 years old.

“Our aim is, and always has been, to create as meaningful an experience for the participants as possible,” McIntosh added. “The return to a predominantly in-person format will be a welcome change for the performers, parents and other supporters.”

The 78th edition of the festival will require the support of community volunteers to assist with the supervision of the various festival activities. We invite music lovers and music education supporters willing to volunteer their time. Please contact Simão at [email protected] or 416-532-8209.

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Festival Boreal presents Don Ross

Northern Lights Festival Boreal is proud to partner with Sudbury’s newest concert venue, Knox Hall, to present one of Canada’s most skilled and inventive guitarists.

Don Ross will perform at Knox Hall, 73 Larch St., on April 5.

Joining him for an exciting double-bill will be Kent Nishimura, a rising finger-style guitar talent from Osaka, Japan. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. They can be purchased at

Ross has just released a new solo album, Water. It is his 18th solo album, and his 21st including collaborations. For this new recording, Ross decided to launch a Kickstarter fundraising campaign and do the release 100 per cent independently. He managed to raise his financial goal in 28 hours, and was able to make many musical concepts come true as a result. The album features collaborations with legendary guitarist/songwriter Bruce Cockburn; fretless bass wizard Michael Manring; Washington State-based guitarist/composer Sean Hall; singer/guitarist Brooke Miller; and PEI-based quintet The Atlantic String Machine.

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Ross was born and raised in Montreal and has lived in various parts of Canada over the course of his life. The son of a Mi’kmaw Indigenous mother and a Scottish immigrant father, he graduated with a bachelor of fine arts (music) degree from York University and started working full-time as a musician in 1988.

In 2021, Ross won the prestigious Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts. He currently lives in Charlottetown, PEI.

Nishimura was born in Osaka on March 1, 2003. When he was five years old, after mentioning that he wanted a guitar of his own, his parents gave him an acoustic guitar for Christmas. He began to play and sing along to Japanese rock and pop hits.

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It was around this time he happened to hear a tune by Kotaro Oshio — a superstar in the Japanese finger-style guitar music scene — which prompted him to declare to his family, ‘I will perform as an acoustic guitarist from now on.’

At the age of 12, Nishimura released his debut album, First Step, on Slice of Life Records. In April 2017, he entered Japan’s premiere finger-style guitar competition and finished as the youngest grand champion in the history of the competition.

Nishimura released his second solo album, entitled 2, in May 2017. It included 13 original arrangements and one original composition, Desert Island.

YES Theatre offers PA Day theatre camps

Exploration and fun are the key words for YES Theatre’s PA Day camps for youth aged eight to 12. Three full-day theatre camps will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 8 and June 10.

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The program includes collaborative activities and games designed to build imagination, confidence and creative expression. Students will enjoy learning drama fundamentals such as role-playing, tableaux and stage-blocking. Character work and story-telling activities building on the theme of relationships and respect will challenge students to think critically and creatively.

YES Theatre’s education programs contribute to emotional, intellectual and social development. Participation also helps to develop self-confidence and problem-solving skills.

The instructor for the theatre camps will be Kailin Kohls, who has also led several of our summer camps in drama and musical theatre.

Enrolment is limited to 20 students per camp. Parents may register their children for more than one camp – payments will be collected for one camp at a time.The cost is $65 per day (includes HST) and $60 for current YES Academy students. After-care until 5 p.m. is available upon request for an additional $10 per day.

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For more information, including the registration form, please visit To register, email completed forms to Ralph McIntosh at [email protected]. An online payment link will be provided upon receipt of the forms.

Submissions open for Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards

Cultural Industries Ontario North (CION) is pleased to announce submissions are open for the 2024 edition of the Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards, which take place from June 27-29 in Sudbury.

With more than 11 award categories to be celebrated during NOMFA 2024, CION encourages regional filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, musicians and sound engineers to complete a submission form for eligible projects released between Jan. 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2023.

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Candidates have until March 15 to submit their bid. The jury will consist of Canadian music, film and TV industry executives, practitioners and representatives.

Successful applicants will be invited to attend the awards ceremony and conference.

“We are thrilled to be able to once again host the Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards ceremony and conference” said Patrick O’Hearn, CION’s associate executive director. “NOMFA has traditionally been a venue for Northern Ontario musicians and filmmakers to gather; network with fellow industry members; and grow their careers, all while celebrating the successes of Northern Ontario’s music, film and TV industries. We can’t wait to finally bring this amazing group of talent together again.”

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Interested parties can review the NOMFA award categories, eligibility requirements, and nominee submission forms at A $15 fee applies to all submissions.

Cinéfest Sudbury opens film submissions for CTV Best in Shorts competition

Cinéfest Sudbury organizers, in partnership with CTV, are thrilled to launch the Best in Shorts competition for 2024. The film competition provides Northern Ontario filmmakers the opportunity to advance their careers; have their work screened to a festival audience; receive exposure within the film industry; and have a chance to compete for a variety of cash prizes.

First prize in the open and post-secondary categories is $1,000 and second place earns $500.

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Up to $1,250 will be granted to secondary school students who display notable talent in areas of animation, documentary, experimental, music video or narrative film-making. Eligible entries that do not exceed five minutes will also be entered into the Ontario Youth Film Festival competition, a province-wide program developed specifically for high school students.

The film that best celebrates aspects of life in Northern Ontario will receive a prize of $750.

All entries must be accompanied by an application form, which can be downloaded at Finalists selected by the jury will be announced following the submission deadline on July 12 at 4:30 p.m.

The 36th edition of Cinéfest Sudbury takes place Sept. 14-22.

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