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FOLDA brings online live performances to forefront during pandemic

Multimedia artist Miwa Matreyek combines animation, shadow play and entrancing music to take audiences on a dream-like voyage in Myth and Infrastructure, which is livestreaming as part of FOLDA 2020. Photo by Gayle Laird.

For the third-year in a row, the Festival of Live Digital Art (FOLDA), one of North America’s largest online live performance festivals, is back.

This year’s festival will be streaming from Kingston, Toronto, New York City, Montreal and Los Angeles from Wednesday, Jun. 10 to Saturday, Jun. 13, 2020. 

Adrienne Wong, Sarah Stanley and Michael Wheeler, co-creators of FOLDA, have been gathering artists, innovators and art enthusiasts for a week-long festival at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

Wheeler, who is an incoming Assistant Professor at Queen’s University says that the festival began because there was a huge demand for work on the internet.

“Our initial desire to create this festival was that we saw this huge influx of work, on the internet and we wanted to have a place where we can come together and see how it is changing performance,” said Wheeler.

It began as a way to “create theatre for the future,” said Stanley. “What happened with COVID-19 is that the future arrived unexpectedly early.”

“Live streaming expertise is in high demand,” said Wheeler. “My phone has been ringing constantly during the shutdown looking for advice on how to keep creating.”

Mayor Bryan Paterson is happy to see art and innovation continue during the shelter-in-place orders.

“As a city we’re always looking to embrace innovation, art, culture and technology,” he said. “This collaborative initiative is a demonstration of resilience and innovation coming out of Kingston at a time where the cultural industry around the world is struggling.”

FoldA’s 2020 programming includes livestreaming of shows happening across North America, as well as webinars, workshops, and tools for artists to create digital live performances.

To view the livestream click here and to find the full line-up click here.

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