Community Arts Guild

CAGuildClick here for the current activities of the Community Arts Guild


Year 1 (2008 – 2009) – Nesting

  • The City of Toronto’s Cultural Services invites Jumblies to undertake an East Scarborough residency and provides us with a home-base in the Gardener’s Cottage at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre.
  • Jumblies begins to connect with various local groups and agencies: the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park Neighbourhood Action Partnership, Toronto Community Housing, Tamil Seniors from Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (formerly West Hill Community Services), Family Residence (a City-run shelter), Willow Park School, Newcomers Services for Seniors (a TDSB program) and more.
  • We design an introductory art activity that can involve lots of people and respond to the question, “Who lives here?”
  • This leads to the Nesting project, involving a process of charting relationships with people known or not, nearby or distant, present or past and creating sets of 5 nesting figures and accompanying written stories.

Year 2 (2009 – 2010) – Like An Old Tale: Workshop

After a year of workshops and explorations, we produce the work-in-progress Like an Old Tale, a two-week evolving event at Cedar Ridge, using Shakesepeare’s The Winter’s Tale as the framework for telling other tales, with twenty-one storytellings, using puppetry, sculpting, dance, music, fabric arts, mask, audio and film screenings presented by over two hundred community members and several dozen artists from Scarborough, Etobicoke, Davenport West, Parkdale and Nipissing First Nation.

Year 3 (2010 – 2011) – Three Lands of Scarborough

During the third year, we continued to build and strengthen relationships and partnerships and develop creative material for our upcoming big production. To continue our now-annual tradition of evolving galleries at Cedar Ridge, in April we presented The Three Lands of Scarborough – exploring the Goodlands, Badlands and Dreamlands of the area, partly to develop visual imagery and text for Like An Old Tale. This evolving installation later became the inspiration for Jumblies’ Four Lands touring project.

Year 4 (2011 – 2012) – Like an Old Tale

Springing from the people and places of East Scarborough,
a multi-community, multi-disciplinary participatory performance
. Conceived and designed by Ruth Howard, adapted from The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare 
with an original musical score by Juliet Palmer, directed by Varrick Grimes, and choreographed by Penny Couchie, with lead artists Sean Frey and Beth Helmers – and many other collaborating artists and community members. For complete production credits, visit the Like an Old Tale Website.

We launch into an intensive production and rehearsal process in September, leading to the final presentation of Like an Old Tale  from December 8 to 18 at Commercial Studios at Pharmacy and Eglinton. The production incoporates  dance, opera, puppets, projections, stilts, food and hundreds of participants from Scarborough, around the city and farther afield. The number of associate artists, interns, community members, and partner organizations involved exceed our projections (with 600+ project participants and 45+ professional artists involved.

Year 5 (2012 onwards) – Legacy

Following the production of Like An Old Tale, the Community Arts Guild started on its journey towards becoming an independent Jumblies Offshoot, under the artistic direction of Beth Helmers. Amongst other projects, Beth and her team of artists produced a pageant at a local primary school, and the Lost and Found Triptych, expressing stories by Tamil Seniors of things lost and found, through an audio drama, short film and large-scale puppet show and theatre piece (Train Payanam). Train Payanam was first presented at the Central Scarborough Hub in 2014, and then remounted in Scarborough and at Young People’s Theatre in 2015.

To follow what the Community Arts Guild is up to nowadays, go to their own WebsiteFacebook page.