2022/2023 Season

Principal and Administrative Information

We recognize that schools are constantly seeking out innovative and exciting methods of meeting curriculum goals. Having worked with our school board partners, teachers and principals can rely on the quality of KITS programming and will be able to choose the performance that best matches their school’s needs. As the Aurora Cultural Centre has established relationships with renowned professional artists, local schools will be able to rely on our expertise to coordinate with performers and providers of arts programming so that the program comes seamlessly to your school. Each year will feature different performance options so that the lessons learned are not repetitive. The performances will be multi-arts based so that students are exposed to many genres, including Francophone productions and Indigenous-created content.

Examples of how the programming is tied to the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Elementary Curriculum:

  • Language arts, storytelling, oral communication, mythology, folk tales, reading, animals and habitats, care for the environment, First Nations studies, dance, drama, choreography and movement, music

Character Building connections:

  • Respect, kindness & caring, teamwork, cooperation, fairness

General Themes:

  • Conflict/conflict resolution, survival, emotions/feelings, communication/language barriers

Upcoming KITS Performances

Njacko Backo
Puzzle Théâtre
Hogtown Brass
Little Pear Garden Dance Company
Bon Débarras
Carousel Players

Booking Inquiry

Are you a school Principal and/or Vice-Principal interested in booking a school performance? Please fill out the brief booking inquiry form below and our Education Manager will contact you to discuss booking a performance at your school.

Booking Inquiry Form

KITS I: Njacko Backo  

Dates: October 25-28 & November 1-4

Language:  English/French/Bilingual

Title:  African Voyage/Voyage Africain

FULLY BOOKED!

In this interactive performance, students will learn the important role that music, dance, and storytelling play in everyday life in Cameroon, Central Africa. Students will experience traditional dance and drumming, listen to a traditional story, and learn about the importance of community in Centre Africa. This program demonstrates to the students the true way that traditional music is played in Cameroon; percussion is not just drums, it includes a variety of instruments. The students will learn that this tradition is made up of different parts that have to be played together, everyone finding their own place in the music.

Entertainer, musician, composer, dancer, choreographer, author and educator Njacko Backo shares his uplifting music, energizing dance, and hope-filled stories with audiences of all ages and all walks of life. Njacko was born in Cameroon in 1958 and raised in the hills in a small village called Bazou, which means “The Walkers.” Musically and spiritually Njacko draws on the lessons he learned in Africa from his musical family, mentors and village life. Although he loved life in the village where he was immersed in music, his dream was to discover the world and to learn all he could about people and different cultures.

Curriculum Connections

Equity and Inclusion, Well-Being, French Education dance, drama, choreography and movement, and music, Experiential Learning

KITS II: Puzzle Théâtre

Dates: November 22-25 & November 28th – December 1

Language: English/French

Title: Wood/Bois

FULLY BOOKED!

A green leaf that grows on a dead branch, pieces of wood that come together to form strange creatures, some hostile, some comical… A curious world that surprises, amazes, and inspires. A world that also makes you think and wonder. Through the magic of puppetry, a tabletop landscape of a single tree surrounded by fallen branches, roots, and sticks, transforms into a world of strange and sometimes silly creatures all determined to claim one delicious green leaf! In keeping with its artistic approach, Puzzle Théâtre is once again drawing inspiration from a whole new medium to create an atypical, colourful puppet show, full of humour and unexpected situations.

Founded in 1996 in Bulgaria and established in Montreal since 2004, Puzzle Théâtre has a unique style by combining various types in the traditional and the contemporary: drama theatre, object and puppet theatre, Puzzle Théâtre distinguishes itself by the coloured amalgam of styles and the great diversity of means of expression that it proposes.

Curriculum Connections

Environment, Ecology, Character Development, Resilience, French Education, animals and habitats, care for the environment, Theatre as a means of storytelling

KITS III: Hogtown Brass

Dates: February 21-24 & February 27 – March 2

Language: English

Title: NO FUN ALLOWED!

NO FUN ALLOWED! is designed to break down preconceived notions of how we should attend and participate in musical performances, particularly within the culture of stuffy Classical concerts. Performers Hogtown Brass focus on basics like rhythm, melody, dynamics, and pitch, but also touch on the physics of sound and how it relates to instrument families and music. Students are encouraged to applaud when they feel like it, to clap along with jazz and Latin tunes, and to be engaged, rather than passive listeners.

Hogtown Brass is a dynamic Canadian ensemble comprised of accomplished musicians from a variety of diverse artistic backgrounds. Featuring the trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuba, they are known for their unique arrangements and new compositions, collaborations with vocalists and instrumentalists, along with an affinity for both standard and non-traditional performance spaces, Hogtown Brass is on a mission to reinvigorate the entire concert experience for their audiences.

Curriculum Connections

Classical Music and Brass Instruments, Music as a means of learning, Experiential Learning

KITS IV: Little Pear Garden Dance Company

Dates: March 28 – 31

Language:  English

Title:  Tales of Goddesses and a Painter

FULLY BOOKED!

In this story exploring the creation of cave paintings along the Silk Road, audience members follow the Chinese Empire’s best painter as he travels and is inspired by the many cultures along the way. This visually stunning performance introduces the history of the Silk Road through classic Chinese storytelling and dance, and includes audience participation to learn some basic movements from a number of ethnic dance styles.

Started in 1994 as a Peking Opera collective, then transformed into a professional dance company in 2007, the Little Pear Garden Dance Company is one of the most sought-after dance troupes in Canada. Inspired by the rich and diverse tapestry of Chinese dance vocabularies, the Company has created an acclaimed and powerful body of work that encompasses both classical and contemporary productions, warmly received by audience of all ages and cultures. The Company is actively involved in many projects of dance development and promotion, and has enjoyed a consistent presence in festivals, performing seasons and tours. Their current artistic director is Ms. Emily Wing-Mei Cheung.

Curriculum Connections

Introduction to Chinese culture and history, Dance as a means of storytelling, choreography and movement, music, Character Development, Equity & Inclusion

KITS V: Bon Débarras

Dates: April 11 – 14

Language:  English/French

Title:  Playing Hooky/Jouer à Hooky

1 SHOW LEFT!

Bon Débarras takes you on a whirlwind musical journey through various communities from which they have drawn their inspiration, including Québec, Acadia and Louisiana. Feet stomping, hand clapping, leg slapping, and full-on singing are to be expected from both performers and the audience alike. Presented in schools and various children’s festivals throughout Canada and France, this show, with its songs, tales, lilting and called dances, will not fail to move you and give you a spring in your step.

Bon Débarras unites the worlds of music, dance and poetry through a collaboration between Montreal artists Dominic Desrochers, Jean-François Dumas and Véronique Plasse. On guitar, banjo, violin and harmonica, the group carries an identity, a style and an energy-filled zest for life quite unique and beautifully served by the versatility of the musicians as well as their daring jigging and vivid body percussion. Bon Débarras’ energy taps into the rhythms of today and ventures boldly on the multi-faceted road to tomorrow’s dreams, in an atmosphere that transcends boundaries and ages.

Curriculum Connections

French Education, Folk Music and Instruments, Music as a means of learning, Acadia/Québec History through Music, Experiential Learning

KITS VI: Carousel Players

Dates: May 2-5

Language:  English with Cree

Title:  The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito

FULLY BOOKED!

In this story of a misfit searching for her place in the world, Mary Jane is a mosquito who doesn’t have wings. At home in Petit Le Paw she is teased by the other mosquitoes, who won’t be friends with her. She is sent off to school, and then to live with her auntie in the city, as she searches for a place where she can fit in and make friends. After many adventures, Mary Jane learns to make friends sharing her language, her kind heart, and her songs with the world. This musical show explores themes of feeling like an outsider, dealing with bullying, moving to a new place, and feeling different from what is considered normal. As Mary Jane tells her tale through song and story, Tomson Highway has woven in Cree words and phrases that are taught to the audience through playful interaction. With live music throughout, and supported with puppetry and fanciful costumes, this is an engaging piece for younger audiences.

About the Playwright Tomson Highway,
 award-winning playwright and the author, was born in a tent near Maria Lake, Manitoba in 1951. A member of the Cree Nation, he is a registered member of the Barren Lands First Nation, the village for which is called Brochet. He grew up in the spectacularly beautiful natural landscape that is Canada’s sub-Arctic, an un-peopled region of hundreds of lakes, endless forests of spruce and pine, and great herds of caribou. His parents, with no access to books, TV or radio, would tell their children stories, and Tomson fell in love with the oral tradition of storytelling. Internationally recognized and beloved for his play The Rez Sisters, Tomson Highway was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1994.


Carousel Players
is an award-winning professional theatre company for young audiences based in the Niagara. Guided by their mandate: “We believe live theatre develops artistic awareness, learning skills and a sense of well-being in children,” their work is committed to ensuring that young people engage with theatre, and how it transfers into their everyday lives.”

Curriculum Connections

First Nations languages, Visual arts teachings, Storytelling, Belonging, Character Development

2019/2020 Kaleidoscope in the Schools Teacher Feedback

Professional Development for Educators

The KITS program also includes free preparatory professional development workshops for educators and school administrators in advance of their school’s show which provides them with the tools to discuss artistic themes with students and develop teaching methods to integrate artistic and creative ideas in the classroom. These workshops have been created and delivered by professional theatre practitioners who have a formal dramatic arts background. The professional development workshops are designed to help elementary school teachers who are largely generalists deliver on the drama curriculum and create a more meaningful and long lasting impact on the student viewing the performance. Advance workshops provide professional development to approximately 150 teachers in Aurora.

This workshop will help teachers prepare for their KITS performance by providing:

  • Pre & post-show activities and discussion questions related directly to your KITS performance
  • Simple methods for implementing the drama curriculum to your students
  • Ways in which to use the performer’s Study Guide as a jumping off point

Frequently Asked Questions

Kaleidoscope in the Schools (KITS) is a unique school-based program created by the Aurora Cultural Centre. The program elements include fully subsidized in-school performances and workshops by professional performing artists, as well as professional development resources to enable pre- and post-show activities.

The Aurora Cultural Centre is a not-for-profit charitable corporation delivering community arts and cultural services on behalf of the Town of Aurora. Since 2010, the Centre has welcomed the community to create and participate in diverse arts experiences for all ages. We proudly program vibrant gallery exhibition spaces, a range of instructional classes for children, teens and adults, an eclectic live music series, special family events, and summer arts camps, The Centre is a registered charity, generously funded in part by the Town of Aurora. We are proud to have earned the Imagine Canada Trustmark, demonstrating excellence in not-for-profit operations. Our professional staff is supported by a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors and enthusiastic team of volunteers. Learn more: auroraculturalcentre.ca/our-story.

Presently, the Kaleidoscope in the Schools program is offered to all publicly funded elementary schools in Aurora. As the program grows, the Aurora Cultural Centre’s long-term goal is to grow to provide the program to JK to grade 4 students in performance plus and underserved schools throughout York Region.

The Aurora Cultural Centre believes very strongly in keeping the Kaleidoscope in the Schools program free to the parent/guardian so that all children can have access to this program regardless of their family’s financial situation. The program was launched with the generous support from the Town of Aurora, the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Seed Grant, and individual donors including a major gift from Aurora residents Isobel Ralston & Jan Oudenes.

The 2021/22 season is funded through the Town of Aurora, the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Grow Grant, the Aurora Optimist Club and individual donors.

The Kaleidoscope in the Schools program has been specially curated to serve those students from ages 4-9 as countless academic research studies have proven that it is a uniquely pivotal time in development of young minds. Creativity with no inhibitions flourishes and shared experiences like watching an impactful performing arts presentation breeds understanding, tolerance and personal expression.

The Aurora Cultural Centre has reviewed the school board director’s objectives, and worked extensively with your school board’s superintendents and curriculum consultants to learn and understand the curriculum. Artist groups provide a review of the performances and its ties to the curriculum for programming consideration.

Principals/vice principals are invited to rank their performance selections and provide information about their school HERE. You will be contacted by the Aurora Cultural Centre to inform you of what performance your school has been provided.

Performances are approximately 40-60 minutes in length, including student Q&A.

Workshops are approximately 40-60 minutes in length.

The performance takes place in your school’s gym.

The space requirements for the workshop vary based on the performers’ needs. Generally speaking workshops will require either a classroom, or a large space such as the library, media room, or gym. Exact details will be provided by the Aurora Cultural Centre once your school’s performance has been selected.

Time and budgetary constraints mean that performers can only provide workshops to a select number of your students. It is our hope that as your student body moves through the program, every grade 4 student will be able to experience a workshop through the KITS program.

The technical requirements for the performance vary based on the performers’ needs. As part of the KITS program, the Aurora Cultural Centre will provide all of the required tech either by a contracted technician that we host, or by the artist(s) themselves. Exact details will be provided by the Aurora Cultural Centre once your school’s performance has been selected.

We may need access to your stage, however this varies based on the performers’ needs. Exact details will be provided by the Aurora Cultural Centre once your school’s performance has been selected.  We also ask that you provide chairs/benches for teachers, administrators, and Centre staff during the performance. A microphone will also be needed for the teacher/administrator introducing the performance and facilitating the post-show Q&A. Everything else will be set up by us as part of the KITS program.

The equipment requirements for the workshop vary based on the performers’ needs. Generally speaking workshops will require tables and chairs. Everything else will be set up by us as part of the KITS program. Exact details will be provided by the Aurora Cultural Centre once your school’s performance has been selected.

As part of our need to document this program, the Aurora Cultural Centre will take photos and videos of students from behind without faces showing during the performance. We will work with the workshop teachers to seat students strategically who have photo/video permission so that we may capture faces on photo/video during the workshop. Exact details will be provided by the Aurora Cultural Centre once your school’s performance has been selected.

Thank you to our program supporters:

Founding donors:

Isobel Ralston & Jan Oudenes

Sponsors:

Ontario Trillium Foundation Logo