September 25, 2018 | Contact East wrapped up last week in St. John’s, NL and saw over 250 arts professionals perform showcases, attend professional development workshops and conduct business over the four-day conference. Once again, Contact East extended its reach, bringing artists from central and western Canada, the US, and as far as Australia, to Newfoundland’s rocky shores.
Thirty-five multidisciplinary artists from around the globe, including the 2018 Polaris Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher (CA), NL award-winning theatre company Artistic Fraud (CA), fingerstyle guitarist Van Larkins (AU) and more showcased their art at the 28th edition of this premier event.
Contact East saw record attendance during the professional development workshops, which included topics such as An Introduction to Unconscious Bias, The Debwewin Collective: Indigenous Land-Based Research Project, The Opportunities and Challenges of Presenting Circus Art and more.
Presenters representing venues and festivals from around the world were in St. John’s to see performances and scout out talent. Throughout the years, Contact East has seen thousands of dollars invested in booking artists to perform in theatres and at festivals throughout Atlantic Canada and around the world.
"Attending Contact East is an important part of our programming year," says Barbara Slack of Highlights Rural Touring Scheme in the UK. "The quality of the artists and professionalism of the event, enables us to enhance our programme and book Canadian talent, which otherwise would not be possible."
In addition, Contact East also handed out their annual Achievement Award which is presented to a deserving individual who has made a significant contribution to the performing arts touring sector in Atlantic Canada, thereby furthering the objectives of the Association. The recipient is selected by the APA Board of Directors from nominations from the Association membership and/or the sector at large.
The 2018 recipient is Tim Yerxa, Executive Director of the Fredericton Playhouse. “I am deeply honoured to receive this award from the APA," says Yerxa. "I consider my peers in the association to be more than colleagues, they are my friends. To be recognized in this way by such a meaningful and relevant organization in my life is a testament not only to the hard work of my own team at the Fredericton Playhouse, but also to the contributions that the APA has made to my own work in the presenting field.”
APA has announced Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island as the host city for 2019. "The City of Charlottetown is excited to welcome Contact East, Atlantic Canada's performing arts conference, back to Charlottetown in 2019," said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. "Charlottetown is a cultural hub in Atlantic Canada and continues to work diligently to ensure our calendar of cultural offerings remains vibrant, and that our local performing artists have ample opportunity to develop and showcase their craft. Hosting Contact East in our community will also serve as a platform to profile the regional cultural sector to our citizens and visitors through public performances by top International artists in theatre, music, and dance."
Contact East 2019 will take place September 26 - 29, 2019. Showcase submissions will open in March of 2019 and more details will be released as it becomes available. Sign up for our eNews and be the first to know!