Blog | Blogue

Claudia Salguero

Creating The Whale (Video)

Watch the video below to see Claudia Salguero create The Whale, the central piece of the Community Mural “Canadian Pride, Harmony in Cultures”!


Naomi Tessler

Full Circle

On Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 at 7:30pm, our Barrhaven Youth Theatre Ensemble anxiously awaited an audience of family members, neighbours, friends and fellow residents of Barrhaven to join us for our final show as part of our Neighbourhood Arts 150 project. Standing offstage and out of view, the youth scrambled with their scripts, hoping to carve out one last moment of rehearsal, working hard to overcome their nerves.

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Our final show-Tales of Barrhaven– would be quite different from our summer performances. Our summer shows were completely unscripted and improvised.   The youth needed purely to rely on the playback theatre skills they had learned throughout our spring session of the project and practice active listening to make sure they truly took in each audience members’ Barrhaven story in order to play it back.  The re-enactments the ensemble performed for our summer audiences were deeply memorable. They did a fantastic job of honouring each teller’s story and capturing the essence of their Barrhaven experience.

Over the course of our three summer show, the actors skill level in improvisation greatly improved and they had found their rhythm as an ensemble.   Tales of Barrhaven, challenged our ensemble in a different way.  For this show, there were two ensemble members who had taken part in our spring session and summer shows and 3 new actors who joined for the fall session.   This season they had to learn how to collaborate in creating their script and performing it. They had to master the art of memorization which was new for the group and they had to remember their blocking: where to be, what to do onstage for each moment of our play.   While they had worked tremendously hard and come quite far in their rehearsals—the cast was concerned about how the show would go, and as each audience member walked in, their fear escalated.


To begin our performance-it was a gift to have Victoria Steele- Executive Director of AOE Arts Council- offer a warm introduction to our play and I was grateful for the chance to share the full scope of our project.  Once that was complete–from the moment the actors took the stage until the moment of their bow— the full ensemble performed flawlessly! They remembered every line, every movement, all the blocking we’d worked on was seamless. It was a wonderful show and they delivered it with class, joy and ease.  The actors seemed to take great pride in sharing the Barrhaven stories we’d gathered in the summer which were weaved into our final show.  They delighted in using scarves to enliven the stories and bring to life objects, elements and animals.   They were excited to share their own Barrhaven memories that they had added to our piece and their many talents of dancing, singing, storytelling along with acting had the chance to shine.


It was a true delight to hear the feedback from the audience members who thoroughly enjoyed the piece (and the dessert afterwards).  The actors’ family members were so proud of their children and were sad to see the project come to a close.  I was most thrilled by the responses from the Barrhaven residents who had joined us and had shared a story at of our summer shows. It was these audience members who truly saw our project come full circle.  They recognised our intention of co-creating Tales of Barrhaven as they felt they had received a token of recognition as a member of the Barrhaven community in having their story woven into our final play.   One audience member arrived late, but sat down just in time for her story to unfold within our show. She was so touched that we had selected her story -as one out of the many stories shared with us this summer- to be part of Tales of Barrhaven.  This kind of response was a heart tap, an inner applause, a butterfly kiss for me.  My full vision for my Neighbourhood Arts 150 project had been executed, performed, felt and received on a somatic level by the ensemble and audience alike.


It has been a true honour leading Playing Back Our Neighbourhood Stories-a Barrhaven Youth Theatre Ensemble Project in this community.   I will miss collaborating with our ensemble and will look to the experience I’ve had with this project as a guide for community arts projects to come.


Much gratitude to Nepean Housing Corporation for their ongoing support in hosting us in their space, Loblaws for snack sponsorship for our weekly sessions and rehearsals, Patrice Stanley, Victoria Steele and AOE Arts Council for making this Neighbourhood Arts 150 Project possible.

Naomi Tessler

Unearthing Stories, Harvesting Community

Our final summer show we were all set up at Ken Ross Park on the deck of the community house-prepared for any weather at all, we were simply waiting eagerly for our audience members to arrive. We weren’t sure who was going to come or how many people were going to come, we just hoped we would have enough people so we could play their stories back.

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The actors in our Playing Back Our Neighbourhood Stories youth ensemble and I did a circle around the play structure, inviting young families to join us and when we returned to our performance space, the audience members had begun to trickle in. I felt relieved and the actors felt nervous.

Our show began with opening remarks made by MPP lisa Macleod who spoke about the spirit of Barrhaven and how pleased she was to see youth engaged in the arts in the community.

The audience warmed up to sharing their stories slowly but once they got into it, we heard a beautiful tapestry of colourful Barrhaven tales.

We heard stories about discovering the neighbourhood and being proud to live in a peaceful, active community. Stories about elders getting lost and being supported by community members and local police who went out of their way to ensure their fellow community member got home safely.

We heard stories about Barrhaven street parties, community coming together and growing stronger in the wake of tragedy.

Our youth ensemble listened to each story with full heart and soulfully played them back. The audience was deeply impressed by their intuitive responses and their innate improvisation skills.

Once the actors got going, they went full speed and pulled out fantastic punch lines and had the courage to deepen their physical expression.

During the technique: rant, the actors passionately ranted about the kinds of changes the audience members would like to see in their community. The actors love this technique and it was clear by the way their expressions and actions grew in intensity and connection to the audience’s story and truly captured the essence of their experience. One rant about traffic went so well that Counselor Michael Quaqish responded “these are the comments I get on my desk everyday!” We were grateful he joined us in our audience and great to know these concerns are being heard.

Our performance closed with audience members sharing that our show instilled a deep sense of: community, wanting to connect with each other, hope, diversity and pride about living in Barrhaven.

It was a positive experience for all involved and the actors were thrilled to have the support of their community behind them.

The BBQ supported by: Darryl Bartraw, Emily Veryard, Joe Veryard and Eric Seizew was a wonderful way to end our event. New connections were made and the whole audience enjoyed good food and great people.

Our raffle prize winners were thrilled to take home their special gifts from: Bella photography, Bows and Tiaras or Braves Haven. We are truly grateful for their contributions to our project!

It has been an incredible journey performing for the Barrhaven community this summer. Our youth ensemble has grown so much in their skills and in their self-confidence!

We thank the Nepean Housing Corporation, Farm Boy, Braces Haven, Bows & Tiarras, Bella Photography, Darryl Bartraw, Barrhaven BIA, AOE Arts Council, Neighbourhood Arts 150, Emily Veryard and all our volunteers for making our final summer show and community bbq a huge success: bringing out the stories of Barrhaven and bringing community together.

It was bittersweet as the ensemble said goodbye to each other at the August 19th show as some of the group will have too much school work to take part in the fall session.  However we are excited to welcome new actors to our ensemble in our fall session beginning September 19th.

We look so forward to sharing our final show, which will weave together all the stories of Barrhaven we heard this summer on:

Tuesday, October 24th, 7pm, Barrhaven Community House-16 Kilbarron rd.

We hope to see you there!







Beth McCubbin

Steps to making a clay tile….from a wet block of clay to a hard beautiful stone tile

Rolling out a block of clay;
Side boards are used to ensure the rolled tile will have an even thickness all over;
Tracing out the tile using the wood template;
Taking away the extra clay;
Carving the design into the wet clay;
Applying under-glaze paints to colour the tiles;
Nancy with her finished wet tile;
Tile completely dried after 5 days;
Tile with a clear glaze applied over top;
Tiles loaded into the kiln before firing;
Electric kiln fires for 10 hours reaching 2500 degrees fahrenheit;
Finished tiles….still burning hot in the kiln:

Nancy’s beautiful finished tile!

Beth McCubbin

Finished tiles from 510 Rideau

In Inuktituk nuna, ᓄᓇ means earth, nature, land.
Really nice version of the medicine wheel and the four directions…with a feather.
The syllabics ᓄᓇᕗᑦ means Nunavut.
Kawennihes is the tile makers Mohawk name. The Iroquois Confederacy symbol is also seen.

A representation of the original Two Row Wampum treaty belt. A Wampum is a traditional shell bead that was often kept on strings and used in storytelling, ceremonial gifts, and recording important treaties and historical events. In 1613 a mutual treaty between the Dutch Government and the Five Nations of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) was recorded on The Two Row Wampum treaty belt. The agreement is considered by the Haudenosaunee to be the basis of all of their subsequent treaties with European and North American governments.

This wampum records the meaning of the agreement, which declared peaceful coexistence between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch settlers in the area. The pattern of the belt consists of two rows of purple wampum beads against a background of white beads. The purple beads signify the courses of two vessels — a Haudenosaunee canoe and a European ship — traveling down the river of life together, parallel but never touching.  The three white stripes denote peace and friendship.


Beth McCubbin

Workshop at the Shawenjeagamik Centre

This was a great workshop, the Shawenjeagamik Centre at 510 Rideau is a really nice place. It is an outreach, drop-in centre branch of Odawa Native Friendship Centre. Unfortunately we planned our day on the same weekend as the big June Pow Wow at Vincent Massey Park in Ottawa…so attendance was not as we expected. But the folks who came made up for the numbers in enthusiasm! Thank so much to Carrie and Jamie for organizing the workshop with 510 Rideau…and to Nancy who made it all so worthwhile!

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Showing Nancy how to ‘erase’ mistakes on a wet tile. Photo credit: Andrew Alexander
Making and designing tiles. Photo credit: Andrew Alexander
Transferring an image onto the wet clay. Photo credit: Andrew Alexander
Pressing an image into the wet clay. Photo credit: Andrew Alexander
Painting finished design. Photo credit: Andrew Alexander
Théâtre Belvédère

L’AVENIR (partie 2 de 2)… les enfants

Chose promise, chose due : voici les réponses des enfants de 3e année de l’école Le Prélude. Nous avons aussi inclus une réponse d’un adolescent rencontré au Centre de ressources communautaires Orléans-Cumberland. Serez-vous en mesure de l’identifier ?

Bien sûr, tout est beaucoup plus fantaisiste que dans le blogue précédent mais… il y a quand même encore ici une préoccupation pour le développement urbain et la survie de la langue française. Un thème récurrent : la liberté individuelle !

La parole aux enfants…

Prélude-groupe« Les personnes seraient gentilles avec tout le monde et ils seraient habillés comme en 1990. »

« Je verrai mes grands-parents et tout le monde sur un poney et on fera des courses d’équitation pis on va gagner la plus grande médaille d’or connue du monde. »

« Les personnes portent n’importe quoi qu’ils veut et conduisent sur n’importe quoi qu’il veut. »

« Les gens sera habillés en couleurs brillants que tu pourras voir de loin et ils aimeraient aller danser avec tous les autres. »

« Il sera habillé en bleu pis il sera des Legos. »

« J’aurais beaucoup, beaucoup de Legos et aussi, je me promènerais sur mon dragon et j’aurais des ailes et les autres personnes auraient de la magie, comme moi, et tout le monde porterait qu’est-ce qu’il voudrait. »

« J’aimerais que il y ait des animaux, beaucoup d’animaux qui passent au forêt parce que une fois j’ai vu un renard. »

« J’aimerais que tout le monde peut s’habiller comme des vétérinaires et que on aide les personnes et les animaux autour de nous. »

« J’aimerais que tout le monde soit gentil et que tout le monde parle plus français. »

« Moi, j’aimerais que tout le monde soit heureux et que tout le monde a des rouges-gorges parce que ils chantent super bien. »


« Que ce soit avec des maisons super futuristiques, des grandes maisons. Je rêve un eu mais, ouais. Ça ce serait vraiment l’idéal, des quartiers magnifiques. Ce sera encore plus grand. Il va définitivement y avoir des moyens de transport super modernes pour voyager d’ici au Centre-ville et Ottawa, c’est vraiment une ville qui va grandir et Orléans aussi. »

Et la réponse de deux comparses du futur…

Ha ben… On peut rien vous dire. Ce sera pas tout à fait comme ça mais, inquiétez-vous pas. Chez nous, ben, chez vous plus tard, c’est encore très très beau.

Très tranquille, paisible et sécuritaire.

Et il y a plein de choses à faire. Et ça, c’est grâce à vous, à ce que vous faites pour rendre votre quartier plus beau, aujourd’hui…

On espère que QUARTIER(S) : morceaux d’avenir aura aussi contribué à enjoliver le Orléans-Cumberland du futur !

Théâtre Belvédère

L’AVENIR (partie 1 de 2)… les adultes

Comme le titre de la pièce le dit, dans QUARTIER(S) : morceaux d’avenir, nous avons célébré le 150e anniversaire de la Confédération en nous tournant vers l’avenir. Nous avons imaginé des personnages qui venaient visiter le Orléans/Cumberland de 2017, en provenance de l’an 2167, mais, avant tout, nous avons demandé à des résidents adultes d’imaginer ce que deviendra leur quartier et à des enfants et adolescents de rêver à ce qu’il pourrait devenir dans 150 ans.

Vous verrez que les adultes sont très préoccupés par l’étalement urbain et par la préservation de la culture francophone. Les enfants sont plus… hé bien, vous verrez dans la deuxième partie.

C’est maintenant à votre tour d’imaginer… D’imaginer que vous assistez à la représentation de QUARTIER(S) : morceaux d’avenir et que ces deux hurluberlues du futur ont voulu découvrir la vision des gens de 2017 de leur univers à elles…

lespersonnagesCrédit photo : Andrew Alexander


Les jeunes spécimens de l’école le Prélude, pis les autres que j’suis allée rencontrer, au RAFO, au Centre de ressources communautaires Orléans-Cumberland… Je leur ai aussi demandé de me partager leurs rêves pour leur quartier.

Leur rêves !?

Ben oui ! Leurs rêves pour le futur ! On va pouvoir ramener dans le futur ce que les jeunes du présent d’aujourd’hui pensent que le futur va devenir dans le futur, mais qui est peut-être pas devenu !

Heu… Han ?

Comment ils aimeraient que ça soit chez nous !!! Sans l’avoir vu!

Et voici les réponses des adultes…

« Je pense que les gens d’Orléans, surtout les francophones, veulent garder la visibilité d’Orléans dans la région. On a travaillé fort pour obtenir l’accent sur Orléans, il y a plusieurs années, parce que personne le mettait. »

« Je pense que ça va avoir encore grandi. On va peut-être toujours avoir une petite distinction avec le cœur d’Ottawa parce qu’on a la ceinture verte qui nous sépare. On garde un sens d’appartenance à une communauté qui s’appelle Orléans. Est-ce qu’on va être rendus à Cumberland ? Je sais pas mais on s’avance tranquillement vers là. J’espère qu’on va pas seulement être résidents mais qu’il y ait beaucoup d’emplois dans la région. »

« Ça va être plein, plein, full, rempli. Il y aura plus de place pour bâtir des maisons. »

« Je pourrais pas imaginer. Ça se put qu’il y ait des fermiers qui pourraient vendre leur terrain pour qu’il y ait des maisons bâties. J’ai hâte de voir qu’est-ce que ça pourrait donner. »

« Ce serait quasiment une ville parce que ça continue à progresser en terme de population, de quartiers résidentiels. D’une terre à l’autre, c’est complété avec de l’immobilier. Éventuellement, peut-être que ça va rejoindre le village de Carlsbad Springs, le village de Navan. Ça, c’est tout en grande progression. C’est appelé « ville » comme c’est là, mais ça va peut-être devenir une « multi-ville ». Peut-être qu’éventuellement, Ottawa, ils vont être trop gros. Il y aura peut-être un autre nom de ville. Je sais pas. Si ça va parler français ? C’est dur à dire. Tous les projets de maisons, c’est pas mal bilingue… C’est appelé à être un mélange des deux langues. »

… suite des réponses dans le blogue suivant…




Beth McCubbin

Aanii !

9.1                Ojibwe; Aanii – Greetings! Hi!

This workshop introduced me to just how diverse the Minwaashin Lodge community can be. There was a wide variety in ages again at the workshop, but only one of the participants was Indigenous, an Ojibwe elder woman. The others were made up of women and children who were drawn to the community centre for what it stands for, for the traditional way of life and values it represents. The conversation which occurred while the participants were all working on their tiles was very interesting. One of the women grew up right next to a reserve in northern Ontario where her and her family had always respected and learned from the traditional practices of the First Peoples living in the area. And the other woman, invited by her friend to come along, was of European descent, strong in her own traditions.

The woman from northern Ontario spoke of a number of Indigenous traditional teas and medicines which she still uses from her childhood, and the Ojibwe woman spoke of her past and upbringing too. She had attended a residential school and was never taught the ways nor language of her people. She is now in the process of learning her Native language, Ojibwe. As an adult she had worked as a teacher and has always been very proud of her heritage. Her tile, seen above, represents this for her…Aanii !

9.2A memory of northern Ontario maybe?
9.3 This is the logo for Minwaashin Lodge.  In their large community room where the clay workshops are held at the centre, there is a lovely textile hanging that was the inspiration for this tile.
 Life-Cycle Service Model from Minwaashin Lodge website
9.5some nice little colourful hands…
9.6                  fingerprints, hand prints and carefully drawn marks and little flowers
9.7After struggling with carving the wet clay, difficult and new for many participants, this young girl carefully painted a tile with under-glazes…


Although I absolutely love every single tile that I’ve seen so far, this tile is definitely one of my favourites, watching its process was fantastic! It was inspired by the crack/wrinkle in the clay which can be seen in the middle of the tile, which became the nose of this wonderful face. The discussion between the young boy and myself when I was asked to help him mix the proper colour for the skin tone was incredible. In the end he told me that I had gotten it exactly right, Phew!

 The Tile Project, Beth McCubbin, September 26


Odyssey Theatre

Spreading Roots with Odyssey Theatre Tree Puppet and Masks

When Odyssey Theatre asked us to make them a tree for their community arts project, it was a bit of a head scratcher. The tree had to be: white, 6’ tall, able to fold into the back of a small car, light weight (so that actors can easily pick it up during performance)
strong, and built with separate branches and detachable roots
And here it is!

Spreading Roots tree puppet - rag & bone

We used flexi-firm for the roots and branches. We use this interfacing/stabilizer fabric for a lot of projects. Inside the trunk is a removable piece of sonotube. Each branch is stiffened with wire, and slots into its own pocket on the trunk. The leaves are translucent organza – orange, yellow and pale green, twisted onto the branches with florists’ wire.

When the director of the project, Rebecca Benson, came over to discuss the tree design, we mentioned that we also make masks with flexi-firm. Masks? She needed eight masks: two bunnies, two squirrels, two bees and two birds. Oh boy. We had a lot of fun making these.



The show takes place at various community locations around Ottawa this month. Check their website for places, dates and times. The project is part of the AOE Arts Council’s Neighbourhood Arts 150 project, the same program that funded our Snippets of Canada 150 project. We’re looking forward to seeing the show – and maybe we’ll see you there!

Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre, September 25