International > Past Initiatives

Past Initiatives

Over the past several years, CAPACOA has pursued strategic relationship development with targeted international events, artists and organizations, while further developing its network through new initiatives and expanded virtual programming.

Virtual Cohorts

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a means of ensuring continued international dialogue and exchange, CAPACOA convened a series of virtual digital exchanges around key markets of interest with partners around the globe. 

The IMDI 2020-21 launched in September 2020 brought together international cohorts of over 150 presenters, curators, producers and artists for a series of virtual networking meetings that explored programming visions and challenges; innovative programmes developed in lockdown; artistic inspiration; current market conditions and ambitions and visions what the world of programming and touring will look like post Covid-19. A key component of the project has been the opportunity for presenter participants from Canada to introduce and endorse Canadian export-ready artists to their international peers, and in turn, be introduced to artists from the target export market. Each artist was specially selected after a number of cohort meetings to ensure appropriate synergies and opportunities. The results are already being revealed in exciting opportunities and future collaborations.

Project Objectives

  • Build reciprocal relationships with key organizations in target international markets
  • Promote the discoverability and touring potential of Canadian artists 
  • Uncover potential co-productions with significant international companies
  • Build strong international networks in the performing arts 
  • Tour Canadian and international artists by working directly with venues
  • Facilitate artist to artist relationships
Spring 2021 + 2022

In the spring of 2021, we embarked on new networking relationships with: Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, and Southeast Asia.As a continuation of the IMDI’s virtual programming, Studio Visits were launched on a bi-weekly basis, providing an avenue for cohorts to connect and share a deep look into their work. First introduced in May 2021, these exchanges (originally called “Artist Spotlights”) were presented either through virtual studio visits, a walk through an artist’s neighbourhood, or as a discussion between them and their collaborators. Each session provided cohort members an opportunity to describe their process and always featured one Canadian artist and one International artist.

Fall 2020

In the fall of 2020, the Canadian presenter cohorts paired 40 CAPACOA members with international colleagues from around the world. These participants represented the multi-disciplinary breadth of work from all provinces and territories across Canada; from equity-seeking organizations exploring diversity and inclusion. The Canadian artists and presenters were joined by peers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Mexico, Norway, Scotland, and Taiwan.

Connections: Pan-global reflections by artists in lockdown Banner

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic touched the lives of everyone around the globe in so many different ways. When it comes to the performing arts, our theatres, festivals, and organizations were all required to shut their doors to audiences, and artists, producers, presenters, and everyone front of house and backstage were without a platform to showcase and share their work.

Looking for new ways to engage, CAPACOA’s International Market decided to take action early on in the lockdown and launched Connections: Pan-global reflections by artists in lockdown. This IMDI pilot project brought international arts practitioners together virtually and provided artists and presenters with empathetic spaces for sharing their lockdown experiences, to exchange ideas, and to develop new contacts and networks. The aim was to give both artists and presenters hope for a future global reset and to position them to be market-ready for a post-lockdown recovery.

Connections 2.0

Inspired by our pandemic-related Connections pilot project, the IMDC launched Connections 2.0, a virtual networking event aimed at bringing Canadian and International artists together with presenters to promote the discoverability and touring potential of export-ready work. 

This four-day event in March 2023 provided a platform for connectivity and networking among arts practitioners from Canada and throughout Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand and Spain. Artists had the opportunity to showcase their projects through virtual Snapshots, while uncovering potential collaborations with presenters via one-on-one B2B meetings and virtual roundtable discussions. Programming highlighted a multi-disciplinary breadth of work in theatre, dance, circus and music.


The global shutdown and the uncertainty of the world surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have provided time for reflections and new concerns and narratives. Originally premiered at our 2021 Virtual Conference: Àndji Màdjitàwin/Reboot-Relance, these Snapshots provide a glimpse into the worlds of 25 creative minds from Canada and around the world.

Danse + Canada + Dance

Fifteen Canadian dance companies showcased their work at international tanzmesse nrw, the world’s largest professional meeting of contemporary dance, from August 31 to September 3, 2022, in Düsseldorf, Germany. With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Canada, CAPACOA was provided a welcome opportunity to share the richness and diversity of what Canada has to offer on the world stage. The Danse + Canada + Dance delegation of outstanding performers offered a portrait of the Canadian dance landscape, with an eye to future emergent voices as well as to those that have written history.

Feasting Relationships

Established in 2023, The Feasting Relationships symposium engaged a diverse curated group of international leaders to collectively share the shifts, stories and transformations within touring networks to reflect, conspire, and move toward a committed collective action. This event aimed to provide an opportunity to shake things up – perhaps dismantle, reshape, reflect, consider, and form different relationships to encourage change while advancing the presenting network community.

The 2023 symposium preceded CAPACOA’s biennial conference, and took place from November 2-4. Both gatherings took place on unceded Anishinaabe Omàmiwininiwak (Algonkin) territory, in Odawa / Ottawa, Ontario, on Turtle Island, also known as Kanata / Canada.

International Delegations

Working in partnership with member participants from across Canada and around the world, CAPACOA has developed a list of priority markets that have resulted in delegations to key festivals and industry events that feature business-to-business meetings, roundtables, pitch sessions, performances and networking events. Participation in international delegations continues to generate the booking of tours, reciprocal development projects, and long-term bilateral relationships.

  • Bienal Internacional de Danza de Cali
  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  • EnArtes
  • Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires
  • GREC Festival de Barcelona
  • International Cervantino Festival
  • International Theater Festival of São Paulo (MITsp)
  • Riddu Riđđu
  • Santiago a Mil Festival
  • Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting (TPAM)
Bienal Internacional de Danza de Cali

The Bienal Internacional de Danza de Cali, a project led by the Asociación para la Promoción de las Artes (Proartes), promotes dialogue between the various genres, generations and experiences of dance in Colombia. Since its creation in 2013, the Cali International Dance Biennial has managed to bring together more than 4,250 dancers from different parts of the world who have participated in 255 activities and presentations across Cali in programs that have gathered more than 224,000 attendees.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Edinburgh, Scotland

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the single biggest celebration of arts and culture on the planet. For three weeks in August, the city of Edinburgh welcomes an explosion of creative energy from around the globe. Thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over the city to present shows for every taste. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.

August 2023 participants:

  • ***

August 2019 participants:

  • Nicholas Beach, Jeanne & Peter Loughheed, Performing Arts Centre, Camrose
  • Glenn Brown, Sanderson Centre, Brantford
  • Angela Campbell, Imperial Theatre, St. John
  • Claude de Grandpré, Theatre Hector Charland, L’Assomption
  • Brendan Healy, Canadian Stage, Toronto
  • Valerie Hillier, The Playhouse, Fredericton
  • Erin Kennedy, Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre, Vernon
  • Eric Larivière, Flato Markham Theatre, Markham
  • Stéphane Lavoie, TOHU, Montreal
  • Kevin Loring, National Arts Centre, Ottawa
  • Caroline Ohrt, Danse Danse, Montreal
  • Galen Olstead, Key City Theatre, Cranbook
  • Clauderic Prevost, Valspec, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield
  • Heather Redfern, The Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Vancouver
  • Neal Rempel, Winnipeg International Childrens Festival, Winnipeg
  • Judy Harquail, IMDC Consultant
EnArtes – Mexico City, Mexico

Since 2003, the Mexico: Performing Arts Encounter (EnArtes is its Spanish acronym) has been a key international forum for specialists and professionals in the performing arts. Its mission is to create a platform that encourages national and international mobility of soloists, groups and performing arts professionals. 

October 2018 participants:

  • Reneltta Arluk, Banff Centre, Banff
  • Barbara Diabo, A’no:wara Dance Theatre, Montreal
  • Margaret Grenier, Dancers of Damelahamid and Coastal First Nations Dance Festival, Vancouver
  • Joyce Hinton, Chan Centre, Vancouver
  • Sherrie Johnson, Canadian Stage, Toronto
  • Majdi Bou-Matar, Impact Festival, Kitchener
  • Leslie McCue, Chocolate Women Collective, Toronto
  • Heather Redfern, Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Vancouver
  • Judy Harquail, IMCA Consultant
Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires (FIBA) – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Image courtesy of Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires

FIBA presents the best of theatre, dance, music and visual arts in venues and in public spaces. It is an annual summer festival that invites tourists and citizens to tour a city invented by talent. Local artists invite audiences to encounter narratives animated by the most fundamental expressions of our culture: theater and dance. Neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires host creative engagements with invented narratives alongside everyday narratives. This encourages a reimagining of the city’s spaces, in theatres, cultural centres, parks, streets, and more.

FIBA 2020 featured Canadian artists ***

FIBA 2022 included the showing of Peggy Baker’s her body as words, and three separate virtual events featuring Reneltta Arluk, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, and Sherry J. Yoon.

The delegation was able to meet with several agents, artists and presenters with whom we’ve connected through our International cohorts and initiatives, some of whom are featured in our Connections series and in our virtual Studio Visits.

February 2023 participants:

February 2022 participants:

  • Gabrielle Martin, PuSH Festival, Vancouver
  • Lynanne Sparrow, Canadian Stage, Toronto
  • Jim Smith, DanceHouse, Vancouver & CAPACOA IMDC Chairperson
  • Judy Harquail, IMDC Consultant

February 2020 participants:

  • Naomi Campbell, Luminato Festival, Toronto
  • Clothilde Cardinal, La Place des Arts, Montreal  
  • Heather Redfern, The Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Vancouver
  • Jim Smith, DanceHouse, Vancouver & CAPACOA IMDC Chairperson
  • Judy Harquail, IMDC Consultant
GIRART and MICA – Córdoba and Buenos Aires, Argentina
June 2019 delegation

GIRART is a gateway to the world through culture. Located in the province of Córdoba, one of the strongest centers of artistic and cultural production of Argentina, GIRART is produced by an interdisciplinary team of specialists in creative economy and cultural enterprises.

Their services promote entrepreneurship, training, marketing, distribution, dissemination and internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises of the Argentina performing arts and music sector.

Mercado de Industrias Creativas Argentinas (MICA) is the main marketplace for creative industries in Argentina that brings together entrepreneurs from the six sectors of the creative industries: performing arts, creative media, design, publishing, music, and gaming. The event includes business rounds, trainings, talks and conferences, and live samples of music and performing arts.

June 2019 participants:

  • Franco Boni, The Theatre Centre, Toronto
  • Clothilde Cardinal, Place des Arts, Montreal
  • Brendan Healy, Canadian Stage, Toronto
  • Jim Smith, DanceHouse, Vancouver & CAPACOA IMDC Chairperson
  • Judy Harquail, IMDC Consultant
GREC Festival de Barcelona – Barcelona, Spain

The Grec Festival offers a multifaceted look into arts and culture. It focuses on four elements to reflect both its graphic image and its spirit. This includes magic, understood as the transformative capacity of art and culture; nature, that pushes us to travel without moving; revolt, which leads us to renew ourselves and reinvent ourselves; and party, which helps us enjoy the summer nights.

Grec Festival programming aims to stand in the shoes of other cities and see how they respond to global challenges. It is the tension between the world of passion and urban civilization that inspires the festival’s search for good shows.

July 2023 participants:

July 2019 participants:

  • Clothilde Cardinal, Place des Arts, Montreal
  • Pierre Desmarais, Danse Danse, Montreal
  • Jim Smith, Dance House, Vancouver & CAPACOA IMDC Chairperson
  • Judy Harquail, IMDC Consultant
International Cervantino Festival – Guanajuato, Mexico

The International Cervantino Festival is a cultural buffet of music, theater, art, folklore and more. It originally stemmed from the University of Guanajuato’s student performances of short works – known as “entremeses” – penned by Miguel de Cervantes in the city’s plazas and open spaces. That event began in the 1950s and it grew to officially become the International Cervantino Festival in 1972. Growing at an unstoppable rate, it has become the biggest celebration of the arts in Latin America and runs for three weeks each year. Although the festival is now celebrated throughout Latin America, Guanajuato remains officially designated as the “Cervantes Capital of America”.

The 2019 Festival featured Canada as the guest country, with many performances focused on the 2019 theme, “Migrations”. CAPACOA was pleased to produce a three-day industry event in association with the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City. Six artists and seven agent/managers from across Canada had the opportunity to promote their work and make valuable connections with presenters from Mexico, the United States and South American countries.

October 2019 participants:

  • Margo Kane, Full Circle: First Nations Performance, Vancouver
  • Natalie Lue, Vancouver Civic Theatres, Vancouver
  • Aislinn Rose, The Theatre Centre, Toronto
  • Tim Yerxa,The Playhouse, Fredericton
  • Brent Belsher, Belsher Arts Management, Vancouver
  • Cliff Cardinal, Artist, Toronto
  • Eric Epstein, Imaginary Force, Whitehorse
  • Geoffroy Faribault, Nadere Arts Vivants, Montreal
  • Miriam Fernandes, Why Not Theatre, Toronto
  • Nicolas Filion, Fove Diffusion, Montreal
  • Roshanak Jaberi, Jaberi Dance Theatre, Toronto
  • Ian Kamau, Artist, Toronto
  • Michel Letourneau, Boulev’Art, Montreal
  • Francesca Piscopo, Eponymous, Vancouver
  • Jim Smith, Eponymous, Vancouver & CAPACOA IMDC Chairperson
  • Santee Smith, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Six Nations
  • Jon Lachlan Stewart, La Fille Du Laitier, Montreal
  • Judy Harquail, IMDC Consultant
International Theater Festival of São Paulo (MITsp) – São Paulo, Brazil

MITsp is the premier festival for Theater in Brazil. It takes place in several venues, such as the Ibirapuera Auditorium – Oscar Niemeyer, Itaú Cultural, SESC Vila Mariana, SESC Pinheiros, SESC Belenzinho, João Caetano Theater, Cultural Center of São Paulo (CCSP) and Municipal Theater of São Paulo. The festival hosts productions from Belgium, Germany, Chile, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil and others.

Created by Antônio Araújo, Director of Teatro da Vertigem group and professor at the Performing Arts School of the University of São Paulo, and Guilherme Marques, (production director) head director of CIT-Ecum – International Theater Center Ecum, the festival supports experimentation and study in the field of performing arts. The productions presented are based on the hybridity of language and the perception of theatricality as an expanded field. The programming is followed by reflective and pedagogical activities to promote reviewing, debates, and development of the spectator’s view. This festival actively facilitates experiential exchange between artists.

March 2020 participants:

  • Franco Boni, The PuSH Festival, Vancouver
  • Brendan Healy, Canadian Stage, Toronto
  • Judy Harquail, IMDC Consultant
Riddu Riđđu – Kåfjord, Norway
2019 Norway delegation

Riddu Riđđu is an annual Sámi music and culture festival, held in Olmmáivággi (Manndalen) in the Gáivuotna (Kåfjord) municipality in Norway. The goal of the festival is to bring forward both Sámi culture and that of other Indigenous peoples. This international Indigenous Festival features indigenous music from around the world, art, theater and dance, youth camps with artistic and political workshops, children’s festival, seminars, film and literature. CAPACOA led an Indigenous trade mission to Riddu Riđđu, partnering with the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the national Indigenous service organization, on this trade mission.

July 2019 participants:

  • Jason Dubois, Eponymous, Vancouver
  • Cynthia Lickers-Sage, IPAA, Toronto
  • Leslie McCue, Chocolate Woman Collective, Toronto
  • Jason Manitowabi, Debajehmujig Theatre Group, Manitowaning
  • Sue Urquhart, CAPACOA Executive Director
Santiago a Mil Festival – Santiago, Chile

Every January since 1994, Santiago becomes the perfect setting for the performing arts and for different audiences to come together. For three weeks, an exceptional event for contemporary creations is held, featuring a high level of artistic excellence and productions that are socially and politically relevant. Santiago a Mil breaks down the country’s territorial, economic and social barriers, taking its free program to 20 Metropolitan Region neighborhoods and 15 of the country’s cities.

January 2023 participants:

  • Sherry Yoon, Boca del Lupo, Vancouver
  • Sherrie Johnson, Crows Theatre, Toronto
  • Pam Patel, MT Space, Waterloo
  • Esie Mensah
  • Lynanne Sparrow, Canadian Stage, Toronto
  • Matthew MacKenzie, Punctuate Theatre, Edmonton
  • Cathy Levy, National Arts Centre, Ottawa
  • Judy Harquail, IMDC Consultant

January 2019 participants:

  • Franco Boni, The Theatre Centre, Toronto
  • Naomi Campbell, Luminato Festival, Toronto
  • Clothilde Cardinal, Place des Arts, Montreal
  • Natalie Lue, Living Arts Centre, Mississauga
  • Beatriz Pizano, Rutas Festival, Toronto
  • Jim Smith, DanceHouse, Vancouver & CAPACOA IMDC Chairperson
  • Santee Smith, Kaha:Wi Dance Theatre, Six Nations
  • Judy Harquail, IMDC Consultant
Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting (TPAM) – Yokohama, Japan
2019 TPAM delegation

TPAM – Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama is a space where people from various places in the world, who are professionally involved in performing arts, get together to exchange through diverse performance and meeting programs and gain information, inspiration and network for the creation, dissemination and vitalization of performing arts. Having celebrated the 20th anniversary, it is internationally recognized as one of the most influential performing arts platforms in Asia.

February 2020 participants:

  • Michael Caldwell, Fall for Dance North, Toronto
  • Marie Coderre, Northern Arts and Cultural Centre, Yellowknife
  • Natalie Gan, Hong Kong Exile, Vancouver
  • Shauna Kadyschuk, STO Union, Wakefield
  • Nicole Mion, Fluid Fest, Calgary
  • Andrea Nann, Dreamwalker Dance Company, Toronto
  • Heidi Strauss, Adelheid, Toronto
  • Mirna Zagar, The Dance Centre, Vancouver
  • Norman Armour, Consultant and Mentor

WOMEX – Worldwide Music Expo – is the most international and culturally diverse music meeting in the world and the biggest conference of the global music scene, featuring a trade fair, talks, films and showcase concerts.