As part-time jobs go, being a historic museum interpreter is anything but run of the mill and that’s why Adrianna Prosser likes it. “It’s so much better than ‘would you like fries with that,’ ” she says. “It’s an amazing job.”
Prosser’s training as performing artist has come in very handy in her role as a docent but the actress has taken it a step further and actually created three site-specific plays like her latest effort, The Secret Life of a Schoolmistress, playing at North York’s Zion Schoolhouse this Friday and Saturday (November 4 & 5 at 8 pm).
“My supervisors have really nurtured where I’m coming from as a performing artist,” says the writer/performer. “It’s a lot of work to do for just two performances but there’s always the hope of a re-mount and we sometimes develop our plays into school programs. It’s really about driving a need for further research because as interpretive staff giving tours over and over again, it can get a little boring.”
Many artists would question the value of a residency that didn’t come with some kind of financial reward but not James Ridyard. In fact, it was Ridyard who proposed the terms of his stay at High Park’s Colborne Lodge museum last winter and it wasn’t money he was after, it was history.
Although Ridyard’s artistic practice is mostly concerned with landscapes, the painter is nevertheless fascinated by the past, with “trying to figure out exactly why I like things that are old and mysterious. I’d long been looking for how to put my work into a historical context, not just ripping off issues of historical representation but looking for history that’s actually present today.”
Ridyard certainly found what he was looking for. Located toward the south end of High Park, Colborne Lodge was the home of Park founders John and Jemima Howard, who deeded the 165-acre property to the City in 1873 on the condition that the park remain “for the free use, benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Toronto and it be called High Park”.
The Royal Ontario Museum welcomes its big spring show Saturday (March 5), the fascinating, family-friendly, Water: The Exhibition. Imported from New York’s American Museum of Natural History but augmented with 22 additional Canadian components, the show mixes living plants and animals, interactive displays and old-fashioned specimen jars to examine water from myriad perspectives. READ MORE
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable David C. Onley, is hosting the Lieutenant Governor’s New Year’s Levee at Fort York National Historic Site on Saturday January 1, 2011 from noon until 2 pm. A tradition in Canada since 1646, the Levee is a special opportunity for the public to meet the Queen’s representative in Ontario, while enjoying family entertainment and refreshments. Everyone is welcome and admission is free.
Regularly held at Queen’s Park, the Levee’s move to Fort York this year was planned to encourage Torontonians to learn about the early history of the Lieutenant Governor’s office in the location where Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant Governor, Major-General John Graves Simcoe, actually lived.
For this special occasion Fort York National Historic Site will be open from 11 am to 3 pm. Plans for the City of Toronto’s Bicentennial Commemoration of the War of 1812 will be on display and the public will also be able to tour Fort York’s historic buildings.
Photo by Kathy Mills taken at Fort York, Simcoe Day 2008
NOTE: LiveWithCulture.ca is taking a break for the holidays and will be back on January 4, 2011.
The Art Gallery of Ontario kicked off the press launch of its newest exhibition this morning with a genuine Indian Maharaja, his excellency Y.S. Mandhatasinhji of Rajkot, above, posing with one of the show’s most dazzling attractions, the 1934 Phantom II Star of India Rolls Royce. The AGO’s Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts opens Saturday with a wide-ranging exhibition featuring 200 objects and works of art spanning nearly three centuries.
Imported from London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, Maharaja includes paintings, jewelery, weapons, costumes, decorative art and furnishings. The support of sponsors Fairfax Financial, Rogers Communications, the Globe and Mail and Scotiabank has allowed the AGO to waive admission fees for anyone 25 and under until the show wraps on April 3, 2011. Said AGO Director Matthew Teitelbaum at the press launch: “We think that this exhibition is part of a signal of a new Art Gallery of Ontario, which, simply stated, is about invitation, it’s an invitation to different communities and age groups in Toronto so that they might all feel that the AGO is their home.” READ MORE