INNOVATION & RESILIENCE
IN CANADA’S CULTURAL SECTOR

Tupiq A.C.T. (Arctic Circus Troupe)

Kuujjuaq & Montréal, Quebec Project: Circus for social change
Discipline(s): music, theatre, circus

Tupiq A.C.T. (Arctic Circus Troupe) is a non-profit circus company that aims to preserve and promote Inuit culture and traditions. Tupituqaq Creative Process: "The creative process of this Tupituqaq (the old tent) show started with our collective passion for Inuit legends. We met with all of the artists who came to Montreal, decided on a few legends that would fit nicely together, and created a sequence that might give a good story.

Once we settled on a story, we decided on characters, figured out how many artists we needed, thought of the atmosphere and circus disciplines we wanted to showcase. We pieced together how each character would move, how they would talk, what attitude they had. We created each character to have their own personalities inspired by the legends we read.

We assigned everyone a character who would be the most suitable to bring that character to life, and then we started practicing. We had some good friends, and a few new people to help us with our creation, to help us move in different ways, show us how we could tell a different story, to emphasize a movement, work new skills like shadow theatre and give us insight on how the characters would look like in a show setting.

The finalization of the creation was in Inukjuak in March 2020, we spent a week making our characters more complete and working on ways to express our message to promote a healthy lifestyle. On March 13th, the day of the presentation to the community of our creation, the pandemic was declared by the Québec government.

In the midst of a pandemic, we found ways to keep being creative and turned a planned show into the filming of Tupituqaq, thanks to our sturdy partners. This movie was done in a very unique context over about four weeks. Filming took place on the weekends so the artists could continue to attend work and school. Performing while respecting public health policies with procedural masks made things hard for the circus artists to breath properly, made the audio a little harder to hear, and made filming longer because of limited sequential movements. Despite all of the hardships, everyone in the production had an amazing time.

Special impacts:

Tupiq A.C.T in now in the process of finalizing a Pedagogical Package that will accompany, facilitate the screening of the 37 minute digital show. With the support of partner organisations, the tool gives more background cultural and historical information on the characters and storyline of the show and also suggests activities to do in class or in a community organisation set up to encourage storytelling and capacity building on subjects and skills that are addressed in the show. Through this collaborative process, Tupiq ACT is building its network of supporters within Nunavik and its credibility being associated with recognized institutes like Avataq, Makivik and KI in the editing of this tool. This action will allow Tupituqaq to travel not only in the North but hopefully in the whole world!

Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples
Source: Survey

Link to website

INCIRQUE (Kyle Sipkens)

Toronto base, operating throughout Southern Ontario., Ontario Project: Physical Distancing Officers
Discipline(s): festivals, theatre, multidisciplinary, circus

"Physical Distancing Officers" adapted INCIRQUE's roaming Stilt walking characters to support Business Improvement Area's, Malls, Farmers Markets, and open air events.

Special impacts:

For BIA's, Malls, and communities where small businesses were severely impacted by closures during COVID, these "Physical Distancing Officers" used Clowning to promote distancing, alleviate anxiety for visitors returning to public space, educate visitors on protocols, and encourage safe ways to connect.

These Stilt characters were highly visible, supported crowd management, and used principles similar to therapeutic clowning to help rebuild communities and support small business.

This service won a 2021 Service Excellence Award from Festivals & Events Ontario!

Equity seeking: 2SLGBTQIA+, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Source: Survey

Link to website

INCIRQUE (Kyle Sipkens)

Toronto, Ontario Project: Juggling Mental Health
Discipline(s): festivals, theatre, multidisciplinary, circus

Juggling Mental Health offers free online juggling tutorials that also support mental health.

Special impacts:

Through COVID lockdowns, 4 out of 5 people experienced a decline in their mental health - including anxiety and depression. Before COVID, that number was 1 in 5 people.

Kyle Sipkens is a professional street performer who realized each time he was juggling, it was helping his anxiety and depression. Juggling is more than an artistic skill, it increases brain matter and is a great anxiety coping strategy!

When the province put out a call for ideas to support mental health support, Kyle decided to create a video series of juggling lessons that also teach coping skills for anxiety or low mood.

While the project didn't receive any grant support, the need for mental health support was urgently needed. So Kyle and his partner Jake produced a free-to-use video series on youtube, facebook, and instagram to use Circus Arts to both entertain and support health of anyone (particularly in remote areas) with internet access to connect through juggling, and add a "tool" to their "tool box" for personal resilience.

Equity seeking: 2SLGBTQIA+, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Source: Survey

Link to website