The Pop-Up Experience 2021

Outside the March, in collaboration with SummerWorks, announced “The Pop-Up Experience”, a series of FREE in-person and virtual public engagements with four crackling new immersive projects in development by the artists of OtM’s TD Forward March Program – “popping up” around Toronto’s Bloordale neighbourhood, as the city’s streets begin to come back to life.

This month-long artistic incubation was anchored at The Pop-Up Shop (1282 – 1284 Bloor West), as well as the Wildseed Centre for Activism and Art (76 Geary Ave) and Outside the March’s new studio space (258 Wallace Ave). Passersby throughout the month were often able to watch and listen in on the work-in-progress in real time, and even engage with and impact the creative process.


August 2nd – 8th 
Rainbow on Mars
created by Devon Healey and Nate Bitton
The Pop-Up Shop: 1282 – 1284 Bloor West

Rainbow on Mars is a sensory reclamation of blindness encountered through the metaphor of a cave inspired by Plato. This is a large scale, narrative-driven, physical piece depicting the journey both into and of blindness. Rainbow on Mars dramatizes the journey from our usual grip on eyes that are blind as flawed/damaged to experiencing the beauty in blindness. This show is one for the senses; it will ignite and stimulate audience members through the sensory rich language of sounds, smells, touch. We invite the audience into blindness making use of movement, sound and narration as a way to immerse audiences in blindness as opposed to simulating it.

Throughout the Pop-Up Experience, Devon and Nate worked in collaboration with Co-Conspirator Mitchell Cushman, Acclaimed National Ballet Choreographer Robert Binet, Multidisciplinary Designer Melissa Joakim and performers Cynthia Jimenez-Hicks, Jeff Yung and Jeff Ho to explore creating a movement score for the world of the show, that existed both as physical choreography, and also as story-integrated descriptive audio, accessible to audiences across the site spectrum.


August 10th – 15th 
The Children of the Bear
created by Todd Houseman
The Pop-Up Shop: 1282 – 1284 Bloor West 

The Children of the Bear is the story of a young family growing up in a low-income neighbourhood in central Alberta. The confined walls of the family’s living room quickly give way to a world of Knights and Wizards—just like the video games into which the family regularly escape—creating an expansive free-ranging immersive parable. Audiences are free to explore simultaneous storylines, making choices and discoveries as they unravel the kingdom’s complicated colonial history and lore.

Throughout the Pop-Up Experience, Todd worked in collaboration with Co-Conspirator and Site-Specific Theatre veteran Louise Casemore, Director Mitchell Cushman, Stratford Festival Fight Choreographer Anita Nittoly and a team of designers to explore the aesthetic fantasy world the show exists within, as well as the mechanics of how the branching narrative will operate.


August 17th – 22nd 
created by Me Time and The R.A.V.E. Institute
Wildseed Centre for Arts and Activism: 76 Geary Ave.

How do you want to feel? What’s holding you back?

Release fear. Realize your potential. Discover who you are truly meant to be in this new world.

Be the first to experience PORTAL, an immersive systems update for your human software. In just 11 minutes of solo embodied exploration, PORTAL uses patented R.A.V.E. technology to tune your frequency to infinite love.

PORTAL is the latest innovation of The R.A.V.E. Institute, founded by techno-futurist Me Time in partnership with Outside the March to cultivate human potential and social change through ritual dance experiences.

Throughout the Pop-Up Experience, Me Time worked in collaboration with New Media Artist Karl Skene, Intuitive Choreographer Jaz Fairy J and Co-Conspirator and OtM Founding Member Amy Keating, to offer a limited number of participants the opportunity to apply to PORTAL, and experience a customized and ritualized solo dance experience.

Me Time’s work on this project is also support by the Wildseed Centre for Arts and Activism, and TO Live’s explorations initiative


August 24th – 29th 
A New Black Poet
created by Jordan Laffrenier
The Pop-Up Shop: 1282 – 1284 Bloor West

Langston Hughes’ ashes are buried under the floor of the New York Public Library beneath a mosaic engraved with lines from his poetry. Elijah, an aspiring poet who has taken to wandering the stacks alone after hours, has visited this engraving many times repeating the lines “my soul has grown deep like the rivers”. One evening, after a difficult birthday, Langston Hughes comes to him as if in a dream. And so begins A New Black Poet.

A New Black Poet is a love letter from the living to the dead. It is a celebration of the poets Bill Gunn, Jean Toomer, Lorraine Hansberry, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison and Gill Scott Heron. Throughout the Pop-Up Experience, Jordan worked in collaboration with Co-Conspirator and Multidisciplinary Composer and Musician Beau Dixon, Co-Director Aaron Jan and choreographer Shakeil Rollock, to explore setting some of the poems of Langston Hughes to music, and the immersive potential of modelling this piece off of a series of academic lectures.

The Pop-Up Experience was presented as part of the SummerWorks Lab, in association with the Stratford Festival Lab.

The Pop-Up Experience was also Sponsored by Wenjuan Canada Inc.  

  • August 3rd - 29th, 2021

Bloordale & Virtual