2023/2024 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

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.

Tottering Biped Theatre (Trevor Copp)
Carnival of the Animals

Dates: Thursday, November 2nd – Thursday, November 9th, 2023
(6 Shows)

Language:  English/French

Curriculum Connections: Environment, Ecology, French Education, animals and habitats

The Carnival of Animals is a classical music composition by Camille Saint-Saëns, often used to introduce children to the world of classical Western music with movements devoted to elephants, chickens, and turtles. Our production features Trevor Copp’s interpretation of these animals – watch him become a clucking, growling, and flapping parade of animals who bridge this wonderful music to the hearts of children and adults alike.

Each animal will also be introduced by  poems considering the ecological role these animals play in this world we share, poems that were longlisted for the Canadian Society for Children’s Literature awards

Trevor founded Tottering Biped Theatre (TBT) in 2009, a professional company that emphasizes highly physical and social-issue-oriented work. He completed Theatre Studies at Waterloo, an MA at Guelph, and Mime at the Marcel Marceau School in Paris He has been recognized with the Hamilton Theatre Award, the Burlington Artist of the Year Award, the Ontario Presenters Artist of the Year Award, and a Chalmer’s Fellowship. His work has been featured in the Canadian Theatre Review, TED.com, CBC Television, WholeNote, and the Dance Current.


Little Pear Garden Dance Company
Tales of Goddesses and a Painter

Dates: Monday, November 20th – Thursday, November 23rd
(4 Shows)

Language:  English

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

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 CanadaInspired 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 audiences of all ages and cultures.

Chris McKhool
Earth, Seas and Air

Dates: Monday, February 5th – Tuesday, February 13th, 2024
(7 shows)

Language: English

Curriculum Connections: Ecology, care for the environment, Music as a means of learning

In this concert Chris gets kids singing and talking about taking care of the Earth. For over a decade, Chris has taken his audience beyond the 3 R’s of ecology (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) to a new level of understanding of our global connection to forests, air, water and animals. Everyone leaves with the feeling that they can really make a difference! 

“McKhool is Canada’s greatest eco-troubadour for young people and his concerts are engaging and educational.”
– Mississauga Living Arts Centre 

Chris McKhool is hailed as a “Children’s musical star” (National Post) and has been delighting audiences with infectious songs and world instruments for over two decades, reaching over 1 million children and has appeared on Mr. Dressup, YTV’s Treehouse, TVO’s The Crawlspace and CBCA Champion of environmental issues, Chris won a 2005 Green Toronto Award of Excellence for his work in schools and communities across Canada, won a Parent’s Choice Award in the US. He is JUNO Award nominee and CFMA winner, and broke the world record for the Largest Bicycle Orchestra with over 800 bell-ringers at Yonge-Dundas Square! 


Kesha Christie
Anansi and Turtle Go To Dinner

Dates: Wednesday, February 14th – Friday, February 23rd, 2024
(7 Shows) *No performances on Monday February 19th to observe Family Day*

Language:  English

Curriculum Connections:  Culture: African/Caribbean, Folktales teach social values and this story teaches: Fairness, Respect, Sharing

In Anansi’s village, when a guest comes to visit, one should share their meal with that guest.  When turtle comes knocking Anansi does not want to share.

Kesha Christie is a dynamic storyteller and speaker. Kesha ignites the imagination and entices listeners with stories that entertain and educate. She connects people and culture through African and Caribbean Folktales, Aesop fables, and original stories. Kesha facilitates workshops and performs in schools, libraries, and festivals as well as at community and corporate events.

Mimi O’Bonsawin

Dates: Tuesday, February 27th – Wednesday, March 6th, 2024

Language:  English/French

Curriculum Connections: Well being/ Mental Health, Music Francophone & Indigenous Perspectives, Land Connection

The show focuses on the healing properties of music, how we can write a song together to express ourselves and feel good, how music can connect us to the land and ourselves and how the heart beat is a sacred rhythm.  It will include singalongs and movement that will be sure to delight teachers and students alike!

Mimi O’Bonsawin is a contemporary roots singer-songwriter from Northeastern Ontario. Through her rhythm and story-driven songs, Mimi embraces the beauty of the land, all the while yielding to her Franco-Ontarian and Abenaki rootsHer self produced French EP, “Elle danse” was nominated for Best New Artist & Best EP at the Trille Or Awards (2020) which recognizes francophone artists outside of QuebecWhen not creating or recording music, Mimi shares her passion for songwriting and art through workshops with youth in schools across Canada.

Carousel Players
Lig & Bittle

Dates: Tuesday, April 9th – Wednesday, April 17th, 2024
(7 Shows)

Language:  English

Curriculum Connections:  recognizing, respecting and valuing differencesDeveloping positive self imageStanding up for oneself and others. Relating to others and resolving conflictSpatial sense.    

Lig is very tall, and Bittle is very small. They both wish they could find someplace where everything is just the right size for each of them, where no one will notice that they are different. When Lig and Bittle hear about Perfeckt Phitt, they set out on a quest to this wonderful place where all their problems will be solved.

Carousel Players is one of Canada’s oldest and most respected professional theatre for young audience companiesFounded in 1972, Carousel has performed more than 220 productions to over 2.8 million children, youth and familiesTheir plays have been nominated for 14 Dora Awards in the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) category, the Innovation in the Arts Award from the City of St. Catharines in 2009 for our Niagara Artists in the Classroom program, and the inaugural Arts in Education Award from the City of St. Catharines.


Lua Shayenne
Yassama and the Beaded Calabash

Dates: Tuesday, April 30th – Wednesday, May 8th, 2024
(7 shows)

Language: English/French

Curriculum Connections: Care for the Environment, Ecology, French Language, Theatre as a means of storytelling

This is the story of a young girl who, with the help of the old Baobab tree, saves her village from drought and delivers a powerful lesson about the importance of respecting and honouring Mother Earth.

Lua is a 2016/17/18 K.M. Hunter Dance award nominee and a recipient of the 2013 BMO seeds Fund Award for Artists working in community.  She weaves contemporary narratives through dance, song and storytelling inspired by her African Roots and the Baha’i Faith.  She endeavours to bring African dance, music, storytelling and culture to grassroots organizations and schools all over Canada and Europe.

Qiu Xia He & Andre Thibault
China Speaks Your Language(E) or JouTou(F)

Dates: Wednesday, May 22nd – Thursday, May 30th, 2024
(7 Shows)

Language:  English or French

Curriculum Connections (both shows): French Education, Folk Music and Instruments, Music as a means of learning 

JouTou: French music with a more global and cosmopolitan perspectiveSome songs will be in the familiar folk traditions of Quebec and France, but others will take the listener to other lands such as La Camarque or Morocco via the gypsy routes of southern Europe using a variety of instruments from around the worldStudents and teachers are encouraged to dance and sing along!

China Speaks Your Language: is a musical performance, using multiple world instruments, that will introduce audiences to different cultures through the experience, discoveries and travels of the Silk Road Duo: Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault.   

Silk Road Music was founded in Vancouver in 1991, by Qiu Xia He 何秋霞 , the ensemble pioneered Chinese-Western musical fusions.  She is a one-time music teacher at China’s Xian Academy of Music and one-time professional pipa player with the Shaanxi Music and Dance troupe.  Joined by her musician husband, Andre Thibault, they’ve earned a Juno nomination, two West Coast Music Awards, two Canadian Folk Music Award nominations, and countless enthusiastic reviews. 

Qiu Xia He 何秋霞 : was born in Shaanxi, China, and taught the pipa (Chinese Lute) at the Xian Academy of Music.  Since settling in Canada she has become a well known virtuoso who has done everything from pipa solo concerts with several orchestras in America and Europe to festival touring around the world.  Qiu Xia has established herself as an innovative artist in both Chinese and non-Chinese communities.   

Andre Thibault: was born in Quebec, and is a multi-instrumentalist that specializes in many guitar styles but has also developed a very personal sound on the Middle Eastern lute (Oud), percussions, winds, and several types of indigenous flutes.  Andre’s fiery rhythms and stunning techniques express a distinctive character which made him one of the most sought-after players in Vancouver. 

Qiu Xia and Andre have performed in many Festivals and schools across Canada. For nearly two decades they have visited hundreds of schools in the GTA, and are looking forward to being back in Ontario. 

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


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