Calliope Collective is a not-for-profit arts collective dedicated to:
“Listen for the calliope — its chimes tell you something spectacular is about to happen!”
Calliope Collective (Kuh*lie*oh*pea) seeks to explore and expose spectacle, wonderment, and the ways art and performance can transport and transform perception by combining and remixing elements from a broad spectrum of arts practices.
The collective desires to work collaboratively with artists, performers, individuals, and organizations, and to foster those collaborations through a curatorial and creative lens that will open a dialogue about alternative culture in the Kingston arts community.
Tricia Knowles and Josh Lyon have collaborated on a number of art projects since 2011, including art projects, musical events, and performing arts. They formed Calliope Collective in 2016 due to their mutual attraction to multi-disciplinary arts (combining music, dance, theatre, circus, and puppetry together), their desire to create and produce events in the North King’s Town area, and to provide equitable rates to the artists involved. Member Anna Sudac joined at the end of 2016, introducing professional theatre practices to the group, and from there they created a vision and mandate for the group with a strategic 3-5 year plan to meet their objectives. In early 2017, Justine Scala joined the collective and Calliope’s first major event: The Longest Night was held in December of that year.
The event saw approximately 500 people attend an outdoor performance in Kingston’s Inner Harbour at Doug Fluhrer Park. Feedback from the community regarding the event was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and encouraged Calliope to not only continue the Longest Night as an annual event but also to expand on its workshop offerings and create an annual 3-4 week long Midwinter Solstice Celebration that ran until 2020.
Calliope also marked the Summer Solstice in June with a community celebration following the same format: hosting wearable and performing arts workshops that brought together professional artists and community members to create a public art performance during a free gathering for others in the community. It was during the Midsummer Solstice Celebrations in 2018, that the collective welcomed arts educator, musician, and professional actor Emberly Doherty as an official member of Calliope. Justine Scala moved on from Calliope at the beginning of 2019. Anna Sudac left the Collective in 2020 as Calliope moved its creative direction away from more traditional stage shows, and towards the development and creation of a floating story on water. The collective now operates as an ad-hoc style collective in order for additional artists and creators to become involved in Calliope projects at the level of conceptualization and creation.
Artistic Director // Event Producer
Tricia Knowles is a cultural curator, festival and event producer, and arts promoter, from Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia) living as a guest in Katarokwi/Kingston. Tricia possesses an adoration for festivals and how they can be incorporated into improving the quality of life for the city’s residents is at the core of every project – creating space to bring different artistic disciplines together for spectacle and community. She has a certificate in Cultural Planning and Development from UBC with a soft spot for all things to do with Creative Placemaking and site animation.
Tricia has worked on a number of festivals such as Kingston WritersFest, Wavelength Music, Music and Beyond, Fort Fright, Skeleton Park Arts Festival, Harvest Festival, and WiccanFest among many others. She co-founded the Limestone Tattoo Arts Festival and was a lead producer for The Pan Am Cultural Festival. Passionate about the environment as well as the arts, Tricia founded and developed Kingston Unplugged, a local environmental music, and arts event in support of the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour initiative, which ran for 10 years.
Tricia is also a promotions and marketing professional with 20+ years of experience working in media. She has held marketing, writing, and on-air positions in broadcasting and print before transitioning to a successful freelance career in marketing and communications.
Education // Community Engagement Coordinator
An actor and teaching artist, Emberly spent more than ten years in Toronto activating community-based creativity projects. She has performed and taught with such companies as The Canadian Stage Company, ShakespeareWorks, and Project Humanity, and with InForma Theatre, is the co-creator of the theatre and creative play program for pre- and school-aged children called ImagineIF.
Emberly’s realization of teaching being her true love led to her decision to go “whole hog”, and Emberly’s family agreed to go on an adventure to Kingston for her to earn her Artist in Community Education, Bachelor of Education degree from Queen’s University. Once they got here, there was no turning back! She’s worked with the Tett Centre, The Limestone Players, The Juvenis Festival, ALCDSB, the Limestone DSB, and is Calliope’s newest member. Kingston’s vibrant community of people willing to try all the things creative has completely won them over and Emberly has been teaching and creating here ever since.
Multi-Media Artist // Maker of things // Technical Director
Josh Lyon is an animator & filmmaker based in Kingston, Ontario. Josh has directed, shot and edited over a hundred short films & micro-documentaries, and his work has been featured on CBC’s ZeD and screened at Film Festivals in Kingston, Toronto, and Adelaide, Australia.
He has produced, directed and animated music videos for bands such as Rock Plaza Central, Colin Munroe, Danielle Lennon, and folk duo Dala. Josh currently teaches in the Music & Digital Media program at St. Lawrence College, while also running a video production company – AKAFLK Productions – that produces work for a large range of clients, both local and regional.
Josh plays accordion and keyboards with Entire Cities, The Gertrudes and Rueben deGroot & Rocket Surgery, and has also appeared on close to thirty live & studio albums with various artists.
Production // Stage Manager
Anne Marie is the owner of Bottle Tree Productions in Kingston. She is a playwright, director, dramaturge, and designer (set, costumes, lighting). Anne Marie believes in sustainability in design, reworking previously-created sets, props, and costumes for new applications on stage. Like many theatre artists and administrators, she wears many hats to ensure that her company provides quality experiences for patrons, casts, and students. She is a sought-after Producer and Stage Manager, having contracts with Theatre Kingston, The Gertrudes, Skeleton Park Arts Festival, The Kingston Theatre Alliance, SwirlsXaRt, Calliope Collective, and Shortwave Radio Festival. A seasoned acting coach, Anne Marie developed the Stage Right and Little Stars acting programs that have provided theatre education to hundreds of young people in Kingston and area.
Wilding (aka ‘The Juggler’) loves juggling all aspects that go into pulling off creative projects like the ones Calliope Collective conjures. Wilding is both a performer and teacher of Improv, so live event production is totally their jam! What is happening in the moment and how can they help/what does this event need right now is the sort of spontaneity that lights them up!
New to the collective, they bring a very diverse 25+ years career with them – a variety of on set gigs in the Film industry, a mash up of on and off stage roles in the Theatre world and several jobs in Animation and online Video Games. Wilding is one half of the Improv Comedy Duo, ‘2 Live Queers’ – through a series of silly games and on-the-fly storytelling they bring Queer and Non-Binary stories to life with the help of many wigs and wacky hats.
Administrative Marketing Assistant
Haley Sarfeld is a singer, songwriter, poet, playwright, composer, collager, and cruciverbalist living in Katarokwi/Kingston. Haley’s playwriting and musical theatre compositions appear in the Shortwave Theatre Festival (Half Past Lunchtime) and the Watershed Music Theatre Festival (Lindworm’s Cabaret, upcoming May 2023). Haley has dabbled as a voice actor in Single Thread Theatre Company’s Virtual Ambrose and composed/performed music for Rysia Andrade’s radio drama A Strong Girl. Since completing an MA in Cultural Studies last year, Haley has enjoyed working in arts admin roles with the Juvenis Festival, SwirlsXaRt, and now the Calliope Collective. Most recently, Haley has been writing reviews for the Kingston Theatre Alliance blog and creating crossword puzzles for neighbourhood newspaper The Skeleton Press.
Calliope Collective would be nowhere without our funders and sponsors! It is with deep gratitude that we acknowledge the support of the following organizations for their continued support of the arts in Kingston.
Sponsors for Hydra include Swim, Drink, Fish (Lake Ontario Waterkeepers), Delta Hotels by Marriott Kingston Waterfront, Atkinson Home Hardware, Kingston Trolley, and Inner Harbour Marina.