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Aspiring Surrey Actor Receives Shakespeare Grant to Help the Bard go Virtual

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RBC Emerging Artist grant gives Ryan Kniel a chance to share the magic of Shakespeare, even during a pandemic

This summer Ryan Kniel, a 20-year-old from Surrey was one of only 12 young actors from across Canada selected for funding from the RBC Emerging Artists Project. The funding came with a spot in a program called Riotous Youth – a paid internship with Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

Bard on the Beach was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the internship was in jeopardy. The RBC Emerging Artists Project stepped up to provide funding not only for the rising theatre stars but also their program mentors, and thus keep the program alive.

“I have been so lucky to have been a part of the Riotous Youth this summer, I have learned so much and met so many amazing people,” said Kniel. “One very important thing I have learned this summer is to have patience in practicing a craft, not just with others, but also with myself.”

The shift to virtual gave Kniel the unique opportunity to bring the famous Bard’s words to life in a virtual setting.

“I had some misgivings at the initial concept of online camps, but with collaboration on everyone’s part to find creative solutions to problems, it really turned out wonderfully,” said Kniel. “Learning how to film on Zoom, how to collaborate as an ensemble in an online environment and how to communicate with scene members that you don’t see in a physical rehearsal are all important skills in this new world of theatre.”

Kniel used live-screen recordings of Zoom meetings were used as a “stage”, allowing actors to alternate appearing on the screen, replicating a classical theatre format. And with the interns at home, a lot of the typical elements of theatre like sound, lighting, props, and costumes had to be created with whatever was around the house.

The program also gave Kniel the chance to get involved in Bard on the Beach’s “Young Shakespeareans” summer camps.

“A highlight for me was definitely the virtual Midsummer Night’s Dream workshops I helped run for kids interested in Shakespeare,” said Kniel. “On the last day the parents of the kids in our camp joined a zoom call to watch what scenes the kids had been working on all week, and everyone dressed up as their character with makeshift costumes that they found around their house. It was a perfect finale to the work that we had done, and it was such an uplifting experience to have an accessible way to share a creation with important people during an uncertain time.”

Kniel is currently entering his fourth year at the University of Victoria Theatre Performance program. The summer with Bard on the Beach brought his love of Shakespeare full circle.

“My first exposure to Shakespeare came when I was nine when my family had only recently moved to Vancouver from Surrey and decided to take us to see A Comedy of Errors at Bard on the Beach,” said Kniel. “We were lucky enough to get tickets for the front row. Out of nowhere one of the lead actors came off of the stage and sat right next to me to take a breather from the action. It was like a movie star had leaped out of the screen. It was the first time I truly experienced the magic of live theatrical performance, and I still look back on it as a major personal inspiration in my pursuit of theatre education and experience.”

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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Be Inspired by Art this Fall, as Surrey Art Gallery Celebrates 45 Years with Art from South of the Fraser

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Surrey, BC – Surrey Art Gallery is marking forty-five years of collecting, exhibiting, and artmaking in the community with the exhibition

Where We Have Been. Highlighting over forty artworks from the Gallery’s permanent collection, the paintings, photography, sculpture, and video installations reflect on the connection between place, nature, memory, and identity in South of the Fraser.

“In celebration of the Gallery’s 45th anniversary, the exhibition brings some of the Gallery’s oldest acquisitions into conversation with some of its most recent,”

says Surrey Art Gallery Assistant Curator Rhys Edwards. “The range of voices on display speaks to the diversity of artmaking throughout this region’s history, all the while illustrating how profoundly these artists have visioned the struggles, the beauty, and the complex realities that shape our community.”

The Full List of Artists Includes:

Michael Abraham, Jim Adams, Sonny Assu, Sylvia Grace Borda, Karin Bubaš, Sarindar Dhaliwal, Lakshmi Gill, Ravi Gill, Jeremy Herndl, Doreen Jensen, Chris MacClure, Heidi McKenzie, Ulli Maibauer, Arnold Mikelson, Shani Mootoo, Ann Nelson, Fred Owen, Bill Rennie, Don Romanchuk, Adele Samphire, Nicolas Sassoon, Helma Sawatzky, Ranjan Sen, Jan Wade, Stella Weinert, Leslie Wells, and Joanna S. Wilson.

Register today at surrey.ca/artgallery or by phone at 604-501-5100 for pre-booked tours, which begin September 19. Pre-booked Gallery visits will be available at select times on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 5 pm – 9:30 pm and Saturdays 10 am – 5 pm.

While at the Gallery also visit three additional exhibitions.

Don Hutchinson and Ying-Yueh Chuang: Passages explores the whimsical possibilities of ceramic with fantastical creatures and lifeforms from two Surrey-based artists. In the video installation Proscenium, Carol Sawyer uses the stage as means to play with the audience’s perception of images, illusions, and performance, and artists Dan Tell, James Lash, and Sheri Lynn Seitz from the Colour Collective celebrate the City through a vibrant landscape painting and photographs in Searching for Surrey.

After dark, visit our offsite UrbanScreen venue for.

Varvara & Mar: We Are the Clouds to transform your movements into clouds, floating serenely across a brilliant blue sky projected in largescale on the west wall of Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre.

We will also be offering onsite art courses for children, youth, and adults ranging from watercolour and clay sculpture to drawing and much more on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings and Saturdays during the day! Register online, courses begin September 28.

Consider taking the Gallery’s at leisure drawing and ceramics Art Takeout courses at home as well and continue to visit us online for our Art Together offerings including Art in Conversation, Art in Motion, and Art from the Archives.

About Surrey Art Gallery

Internationally recognized for its award-winning programs, Surrey Art Gallery, located at 13750 88 Avenue in Surrey, is the second-largest public art museum in Metro Vancouver.

Founded in 1975, the Gallery presents contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, including digital and audio art. Its extensive public programs for children through to adults aim to engage the public in an ongoing conversation about issues and ideas that affect our communities and to provide opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process. Admission is free. Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Surrey Art Gallery Association.

Surrey Art Gallery will continue to present Art Together, a series of online programs that began in March and explore art and artists in the community, spark the imagination, and celebrate the ways that art can impact our lives.

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Canada’s Largest South Asian Youth Festival Creates a New Festival Experience in a COVID-19 World – 5X: Race to the Stage

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Embracing technology, 5X Fest launches a unique blend of
living and virtual in their new festival app

Summer festivals aren’t over and fun isn’t canceled. 5X Fest is excited to kick off its 2020 festival edition – 5X: Race to the Stage – in collaboration with global wellness and fan engagement platform Stepathlon.

Given that we can’t come together like we normally do this summer, 5X Fest has launched a free festival that combines live and virtual experiences in a totally unique way. This is not a Livestream. This is an entire festival on your phone, via the 5X Fest app. So much of the digital content and live streams we’re used to receiving throughout COVID-19, leave you as a spectator. 5X Race to the Stage isn’t a monologue it’s a dialogue, where you’re in the center of the action. With 40 in-app stages, festival-goers move around in the physical world to get from one stage to the next – much like a real music festival!

At each stage, users will be greeted with exclusive performances, merchandise, and surprises from 60+ top local and international creators. The ‘race’ starts August 28th, 2020, and until then, and all along the way, there are chances to win amazing prizes and loot, including international flight vouchers and staycations and a trip to Vancouver, Canada! Everyone who participates in the race then earns a spot at the 5X Mainstage for a two-day finale experience on October 10 and 11, 2020 featuring Avan Jogia, Kay Ray, Pallavi Sharda, ALOK, BFunk, Sandy Lion, Nav Banga and more! 5X Race to the Stage is the summer’s not to be missed South Asian pop culture event.

In a COVID-19 world where many are feeling isolation fatigue along with increased stress levels, a key differentiator of this event is its focus on encouraging the mental and physical health of its users by combining creativity and movement. For example, participants will move across the virtual festival grounds via real-life steps and activities (yoga, dancing, meditation) and/or through content creation, engagement, daily contests, challenges, and events. Ensuring the platform and ‘race’ is entirely inclusive, the participants’ ability to complete the virtual journey and reap rewards is agnostic to gender, location, or physical ability.

The platform also follows a ‘reward the many, not the few’ approach, where prizes are awarded daily and include a mixture of real-life prizes and one-on-one online activations such as musical workshops, workouts, cook-offs, and more, that users will enjoy from the safety of their own homes. By keeping audiences engaged from ‘screen to stage’, 5X hopes to motivate young people to stay active and connected pre, during, and post-race; help to relieve stress and anxiety, and eventually bring disparate communities together. In previous Stepathlon programs, 95.2% of participants reported a positive change in their health and 73% felt a reduction in stress.

Since registration kicked off on July 16, the 5X team has been sharing teaser content to demonstrate just a small taste of what festival-goers can expect during Race to the Stage. Check out their Instagram for clips from their panels featuring some of the best creatives from music, fashion, and the arts, including Lisa Ray, Jazzy B, Kay Ray, Swati Shetty, Komal Minhas, Gabriella Demetriades, and more. Throughout 5X Race to the Stage, participants can expect even more exclusive content from their favorite creators and influencers.

“There are approximately 210 million South Asian millennials in North America and India alone; we want to unite and evolve our community beyond physical boundaries. We create a space where artists can meet artists, novices can meet masters, and fans can be inspired to find their inner artist,” shared Tarun Nayar, Executive Director, 5X Festival. “We have always aspired to be a global brand and online community, and although COVID-19 has been devastating for everyone, it has also been a catalyst for us to fast-track towards this goal.”

Festival goers around the world will tell you that part of the festival experience is moving across the grounds, exploring the various stages and art installations, catching raw performances with all the ad-libs, discovering new talent, and connecting with other culture lovers. 5X Race to the Stage brings that same experience to the digital world, in a way that no other festival has. It is an opportunity to join an amazing community, meet your favorite creators, win prizes – and stay healthy!

The 5X Race to the Stage app is available now on iOS and Android devices. The journey begins on August 28 and will continue through to October 9th with the finale 5X Mainstage two-day experience taking place on October 10 and 11, 2020. For more information, please visit www.5xfest.com.

5X: Race To The Stage, is produced in collaboration with Stepathlon, whose Founder and Chairman Ravi Krishnan also holds the title of 5X Festival’s Non-Executive Chairman. Founded in 2012, Stepathlon is a proven platform that has engaged over 500,000 participants across 1,010 locations in 65 countries. 5X and the Stepathlon teams worked in partnership to develop a virtual, music-centric experience tailored to the global South Asian millennial audience, a purpose-made especially urgent due to the current realities of a COVID-19 world.

5X Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Surrey, City of Vancouver, Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Canada, the BC Arts Council, and the Province of British Columbia.

About 5X Fest

5X is a global brand and online community that champions the South Asian youth culture for ages 16-35. They bring the liberated spaces of social media into a real, physical experience. Their flagship Surrey festival, taking inspiration from both SXSW and Afropunk, features the best of South Asian music, art, fashion, and film. For more information, visit www.5xfest.com.

About Stepathion

Stepathlon is a unique health and wellness program that effectively combines wellness and social participation. The Stepathlon Platform is a race around a ‘virtual world’ where real-life steps and activities (yoga, swimming, and 14 other activities) are combined with gamification (virtual racecourse) and engagement (contests, challenges, and events) to motivate participants to adopt and maintain healthy habits – anytime, anywhere. Stepathlon focuses on the three key pillars of well-being – movement, nutrition, and mental health to help people break the cycle of sedentary behavior and manage their health and wellbeing through a ‘Sports Marketing approach to Wellness’ which focuses on activation and engagement. For more information, visit www.stepathlon.com.

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Celebrate Virtually with the Fort Langley Jazz and Art Festival

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 Interactive online fest “brings home the joy of jazz”  September 4 – 5

Necessity is the mother of invention, and so the annual Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival has found a fun, safe way to return for Summer 2020 – and, in the process, reach more people than ever before! This year’s festival will look very different than in previous years.

Restrictions on public gatherings have led to the creation of a virtual festival with two nights and one day of virtual programming from Friday, September 4 to Saturday, September 5, bringing artists together with audiences from across Western Canada.

Streaming on the festival’s Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and website, the festival will feature more than a dozen live-streamed and pre-recorded concert performances of exclusive world-class jazz, blues, gospel, and soul acts – all of them free to view.

This year’s festival includes a strolling Mardi Gras-style parade, a virtual art walk, salsa dance lessons, virtual dance parties, live interactive hosting, conversations with artists, community profiles, and more.

 ALL-STAR BLUES SHOW

Host Jim Byrnes welcomes blues-rocker Taylor James, the queen of blues, Dalannah Gail Bowen, and Tom Lavalin & The Legendary Powder Blues, who will be performing a live-streamed ticketed concert on Friday, September 4 at 7:00 pm. Tickets for the live-streamed performance are $19.50, with a very limited number of in-person concert tickets also available for purchase here.

MIMOSA QUINTET, LAILA BIALI TRIO & SIOBHAN WALSH: TRIBUTE TO ARETHA FRANKLIN

Vancouver quintet Mimosa – widely renowned for their stunning blend of jazz, Brazilian samba, cabaret, and French ’60s pop will open the show, followed by Juno award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and jazz pianist, Laila Biala. The final act will be powerhouse R&B vocalist Siobhan Walsh, who will perform A Tribute to the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin. This concert live-streams Saturday, September 5 at 7:00 pm. Tickets for the live-streamed performance are $19.50, with a very limited number of in-person concert tickets available for purchase here.

INTERACTIVE SALSA DANCE PARTY

Visit any of the festival’s social channels to view a free salsa dance lesson led by Roger Chen of Vancouver’s Salsastudio. Then, on Saturday, Sept. 5, during a performance by acclaimed world/Latin band Mazacote, everyone will be invited to turn on their phone, join in with the salsa dancing, and share in a “moment of joy” to be heard and seen across the community.

**CONTEST** HOST YOUR OWN BACKYARD FESTIVAL

This year’s virtual festival is the next best thing to “being there.” But why not make it even better by inviting friends over and having a small festival gathering at home? To make the most of the virtual celebrations, the festival has put together these helpful tips for at-home hosting for the ultimate backyard jazz festival so you and your friends can celebrate safely. Host a small, intimate party for your closest friends and family while staying safe, having fun, and enjoying the music!

Better still, nominate yourself on the festival’s social channels for your chance to win a Backyard Festival prize pack. This festival prize pack includes everything you need to host an intimate backyard celebration watch party for your closest friends and family. Win a night to remember by filling out the contest entry form here. Prize details can be found on the linked page!

Contest Requirements

Fill out the contest entry form here

  • Must be 19+ to enter
  • Must be able to pick-up the prize from the Fort Langley Area
  • Winner must be able to host the backyard festival on either September 4th or 5th.

Follow @FortLangleyJazzFest on Instagram and FortLangleyJazzandArtsFestival on Facebook to be the first to know about the festival.

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City of Surrey to host virtual Surrey Fusion Festival livestream and interactive cultural video series

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Surrey, B.C. | In participation with Culture Days, Surrey Fusion Festival will host a 90-minute livestream followed by a four-week interactive cultural video series on social media.

Presented by Coast Capital Savings, the livestream will take place on September 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. broadcasted on Facebook and YouTube Live. The interactive video series will be hosted on the City of Surrey’s event social media accounts from September 25 to October 25, 2020.

“While we all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19, the City will be celebrating Surrey’s diversity with a one-of-a-kind virtual multicultural event,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Surrey Fusion Fest will go virtual this year, so join us to discover traditional food, art and music from cultures across the globe from the comfort of your home.”

This year’s family-friendly livestream will feature a series of segments including cultural performances, musical entertainment, art lessons, Surrey history, Indigenous education, dance lessons, cooking segments and kids’ activities. The interactive video series will feature up to 30 educational videos including “how-to” cooking, dance, arts and crafts activities from participating cultural pavilions from previous years.

Additionally, the video series will see participation from the City of Surrey’s Museum, Heritage and Performing Arts Centres. “We are thrilled to welcome back Coast Capital Savings as the Presenting Sponsor of Surrey Fusion Festival’s virtual celebrations,” said Councillor Laurie Guerra, Chair of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee. “We are thankful for their continuous support over the years; without their contributions this event would not be possible.”

Culture Days is an annual Canadian national celebration of arts and culture. At the end of each September, millions of people attend thousands of participatory arts and culture events across the country. Culture Days programs invite the public to get hands-on and behind-the-scenes to highlight the importance of arts and culture in our communities. This year the celebrations run from September 25 to October 25, 2020.

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Feed Your Inner Artist with Surrey Art Gallery’s Art Takeout Courses!

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Surrey, BC – Explore your creativity this summer with Surrey Art Gallery’s new Art Takeout courses. These six-week hands-on, interactive programs are a fun way for all to try new mediums and artistic techniques at home. Participants pick up their course materials from Surrey Art Gallery, and each box includes art supplies, links to video lessons, and the opportunity to join in a live online session, to share artwork created.

There are two Art Takeout courses to choose from. Drawing in the Field focuses on learning and practicing drawing skills, including en plein air (in the open air drawing), art journaling, sketching, blind contour, multiple perspectives, and more! This six-week course, led by artist educator Alexandra Thomson, runs from July 20 to August 24, costs $15.

Hand Building with Clay! reimagines the sculptural possibilities of clay. Inspired by contemporary ceramic art, participants learn a variety of techniques including pinch, coil, and slab construction, as well as surface pattern techniques with artist educator Amelia Butcher. This six-week course runs from July 27 to August 31 and the $35 cost includes firing and glazing as well.

“For all ages and abilities, Surrey Art Gallery’s Art Takeout courses invite you to try new artmaking techniques while having fun with family and friends during the summer,” says Alanna Edwards, Surrey Art Gallery Engagement Facilitator. “It’s a way to still feel connected to each other and the artmaking community during this time.”

“I love the feeling of being outside, with the sky, the earth, and all the plants,” says Drawing in the Field artist educator Alexandra Thomson. “Drawing outside is an amazing feeling. I feel connected to the thing I’m drawing. It’s a really careful observation that has an almost meditative quality.”

Art Takeout boxes can be picked up from July 13 for Drawing in in the Field and July 20 for Hand Building with Clay at Surrey Art Gallery. To register for either program, phone the Call Centre at 604 501 5100, or sign up online at surrey.ca/artgallery.

About Surrey Art Gallery | Internationally recognized for its award-winning programs, Surrey Art Gallery, located at 13750 88 Avenue in Surrey, is the second largest public art museum in Metro Vancouver. Founded in 1975, the Gallery presents contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, including digital and audio art.

Its extensive public programs for children through to adults aim to engage the public in an ongoing conversation about issues and ideas that affect our communities and to provide opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process. Admission is free. Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Surrey Art Gallery Association.

In response to the temporary closure of our exhibition and artmaking spaces, Surrey Art Gallery presents Art Together, a series of online programs that explore art and artists in the community, spark the imagination, and celebrate the ways that art can impact our lives. Although the Surrey Arts Centre is temporarily closed, Surrey Art Gallery is open online. Visit us virtually, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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