Touching Ground

Touching Ground has been a multi-year, multi-faceted learning and creative process about the Indigenous and layered histories and contemporary landscapes of the place called Toronto –  to gain a deeper understanding of where we are and how we got here. This process will culminate in the Touching Ground Festival: a suite of original multi/inter-disciplinary art works, unified by our themes.

Touching Ground Festival at The Ground Floor, Evergreen Brick Works, Fort York and other Toronto-wide locations, May & June 2017! Stay tuned for details about workshops and activities leading up to the festival.

Touching Ground grew out of Jumblies Scarborough residency and 2011 production of Like An Old Tale. It was not so much a project as an integral impulse or commitment that would through all that we did. When we moved to the The Ground Floor in 2014, in the new downtown development of CityPlace, this became the central thread of our work in our new neighbourhood, around the city and farther afield.

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Touching Ground had engendered many interwoven connections and activities – some of them becoming prominent projects, which will be featured at the Touching Ground Festival. These include:
Talking Treaties: a multi-arts exploration of Toronto’s Treaty history, launched in Spring 2016, led by Ange Loft, in partnership with First Story Toronto.
our Lands:
City Place Chronicles:

From October 2016 through April 2017, we are bringing together artists and community members to engage in a process of creation, production and presentations, performances and events, with community participation at all stages. Activities will be based at The Ground Floor and other city-wide locations.

Some of the new works to be developed and presented are:

  • Talking Treaties Pageant and Installation pageant, in partnership with First Story Toronto, at Historic Fort York, for National Aboriginal Day 2017.
  • Underneath, A CityPlace Cantata, a choral work for community and professional musicians, composed by Martin van de Ven with Rosary Spence, libretto assembled from community fragments, news-clips, the text of Treaty 13 (the Toronto Purchase) and a poem by Victoria Freeman.
  • Touching Ground Sounds, in partnership with Continuum Contemporary Music: a site-specific work for chamber ensemble and community voices and soundscape, composed by Norbert Palej, performed in the Kiln Rooms of the Evergreen Brickworks.
  • On Tuesdays, a musical site-specific audio tour, composed by Kyle Brenders, with community-inspired text assembled by Ange Loft, performed by Making Room Choir (Parkdale), two contemporary opera singers and jazz ensemble.
  • The View From Here, a short operatic comic film (based on comics created by community members and Miranda Sharp), composed by Norbert Palej, libretto by Liz Rucker and film direction by Sofia Bohdanowicz.
  • What Was My Backyard?, a short participatory musical theatre piece for children (and all ages), including a dancing mastodon, composed by Britta Johnson.
  • Soft City-Place, a baby and child-friendly fabric arts zone, fancifully replicating the neighbourhood, from buried lake to condo towers.
  • Site-Specific Choroegraphy – a series of commissioned short works for community performers, with choreographers Penny Couchie, Lilia Leon and Brian Solomon, and original music by Juliet Palmer and Brandon Valdivia.
  • Interactive evolving galleries and exhibitions of photographs and background on the project at The Ground Floor and Evergreen Brickworks.

This is still a flexible itinerary and other components and new works will be added as resources and opportunities dictate. The final presentations and performances will take place at: The Ground Floor and environs, Historic Fort York, Evergreen Brickworks and other Toronto locations.