LSM Newswire

Thursday, June 30, 2011

ISPA 2011 Toronto Congress A Huge Success


The International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) recently wrapped up its successful 25th annual June Congress, which took place in Toronto from June 15 to 18. The Toronto 2011 ISPA Congress demonstrated the truly outstanding quality of Canadian artists and local venues, and offered a unique chance to showcase Toronto as a vibrant and diverse city of the 21st century.

David Baile, ISPA’s Chief Executive Officer remarked, “With more than 300 registered delegates, this has proven to be one of ISPA’s most successful June Congresses to date. There is no doubt that Toronto ranks among the world’s top cultural destinations and I am confident that Toronto has had a long lasting impact on ISPA delegates as this Congress will have a long lasting impact on Toronto.”

Toronto 2011 ISPA Congress Chairs Jennifer Gordon, Principal, Searchlight Recruitment Inc., Claire Hopkinson, Executive Director, Toronto Arts Council, andMervon Mehta, Executive Director of Performing Arts, The Royal Conservatory of Music declared this Congress a triumph. “It was a tremendously positive experience” said Claire Hopkinson. “Not only did we have the opportunity to share experiences from across the globe, but for those of us who live and work in Toronto, we had the gift of seeing our city through the eyes of our international delegates. I wish I could bottle the enthusiasm and appreciation that so many of them expressed regarding Toronto’s diverse cultural vitality, our arts institutions, and the talent that this city breeds and welcomes from across Canada.”

More than 330 cultural leaders and executives from 29 countries attended the “enlightened and commendable” (Toronto Star) four-day event, which included topical presentations by leading Canadian and international speakers and artist showcases and was built around the theme of Groundbreaking. Among the many highlights at the Congress were the keynote speech by Des McAnuff, Artistic Director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival addressing the opportunities and challenges of live performance in the internet age; The ISPA Awards, which were presented to Karen Kain, Michael Levine and Luc Plamondon at a gala dinner at The Carlu; and Pitch New Works Now — the annual ISPA pitch session in which ten creators (among whom eight were Canadian) pitch their new work in just seven minutes to an audience of international cultural curators.

Ross Manson, the Artistic Director of Toronto’s Volcano performance company said, “I've pitched at ISPA twice now - both times for works-in-progress (Another Africa and Until We Say Yes). There is nothing like it for putting a performance idea before the theatrical world. My company has received feedback, interest and made connections around the globe as a result. One thing I've learned is that at ISPA, pitching is not necessarily about selling a show, but rather about testing an idea and finding where on earth (literally) like-minded colleagues live. Seen in this way - as an international conversation - it's invaluable.”

ISPA delegates visited many of the jewels in Toronto’s cultural crown and attended sessions and performances at The Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, the Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall and The Carlu.

ISPA June Congresses have been held for the past 25 years on six continents in 18 countries and 23 different cities. Toronto is one of the rare cities that has hosted the conference twice. The next ISPA June Congress takes place in Seoul, Korea from June 13 to 16, 2012.

Full 2011 Toronto ISPA Congress details can be found at

ISPA was founded in 1949 by Patrick Hayes with a mandate to develop, nurture, energize and educate an international network of arts leaders and professionals, who are dedicated to advancing the field of the performing arts. Today the ISPA network spans over 50 countries and includes more than 350 performing arts leaders.

The ISPA Toronto Hosting Committee would like to acknowledge the generous support from government and private sector partners including: the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, BMO Financial, and many local and international Business and arts organizations.



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