Small Wooden Shoe is named after the tools French workers would use to "clog" the machinery when on strike. Their “sabot” – small wooden shoes – gave English the word “sabotage.”

Like them, we want to disrupt the machinery of "business as usual" in hopes for a better world. more about what we do

Once a year, we meet for good.

Announcing the 3rd Annual

Unconference on the Future(s) of Toronto Performance

A yearly intervention for a better performance ecology

Once a year we come together to meet new people and really talk
with the people we nod at in passing.
We meet to make ourselves, our work and each other smarter, better and more fun. 
We meet because we think it helps.

This year, we’ve moved the Unconference to a weekday.
Because meeting is as important as sitting at our desks.

And it’s the Thursday before Easter.
No one is going to answer that email anyways – might as well see them face-to-face.

The Unconference will be on Thursday April 21Dancemakers and the Centre for Creation – and the rest of the 3rd floor of the Case Goods Warehouse.
Hosted by Misha Glouberman.

Registration, coffee and snacks (sponsored by TAPA) starts at 9:15 am
The event starts at 10am (being early is great!)
Lunch will be around 12:30/1 and it will be done by 6 with social time after.
Pre-registration (highly suggested – there is a limited capacity) is $10

“The 2009 Unconference was one of the most inclusive events I have been to in Toronto… People were ACTUALLY meeting, we were ACTUALLY talking about issues that mattered to us as individuals… The point of this, the value of it, the necessity of it, is that it is a real opportunity for us to connect. We are so busy we don’t make enough time for it. Rather than creating a conference in which we speak about community and have panels talking about it, this just does it.”
— Ravi Jain (theatre artist – Why Not Theatre)

Pictures from last year:

The Unconference is hosted by Dancemakers and the Centre for Creation in association with Canadian StageSmall Wooden Shoe and TAPA– and the 3rd floor of the Case Good Warehouse.
With the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council.


Some common questions about the Unconference
What’s an Unconference? Many things to many people. But to us it’s an event where the content of sessions is participant driven and in which you spend most of the time in conversation with others who care about similar things. There are no panels or lectures. You’ll get to propose sessions and only attend sessions that are helpful to you. You’ll be in conversations not as a representative of your organization or as an “emerging artist” – but as an individual who wants to help and to get smarter.

What kind of people come? Last year: theatre people, dance people, music people, performance art people, people who don’t identify by genre. Actors, directors, dancers, designers, playwrights, technicians, administrators, marketing people, Artistic Directors, fundraisers, video artists, dramaturges, General Managers, students, teachers, people who don’t identify by occupation. “Emerging,” “Mid-Career,” “Established” “Award-Winning,” “New Arrivals,” “Culturally Specific,” “Ethnically Diverse,” “White,” “Not white,” people who don’t identify by those kinds of phrases. Older people and younger people and yes, people who didn’t identify by age.
This year: all those kind of people and you (we hope.)

What does the day look like? Registration and coffee opens at 9:15, the morning will start at 10 (being early is appreciated) lunch will be around 12:30/1 and we’ll be done by 5:55 with 5 minutes for a fun survey. There will be some social time after and then a move to Betty’s around 7.

We start by getting small groups to meet each other and answer some questions. Then different small groups work together on some questions that could be solved by someone in the room in 15 minutes or less (e.g. What software should I use? What should I make for lunch? Who should I talk to about X?) Then we try to answer those questions.

After lunch we do the Open Space – addressing bigger questions brought forward by you, the participants.

You spend the day in conversation about things you care about with others who care about the same things. This is how change happens.

Can I come for just part of the day?
This is an all day thing with a beginning, middle and end (in that order!). If you need to miss part of the day, get in touch with us.

Will there be coffee, lunch and snacks provided? Yes.

How do I get to the Distillery / Dancemakers and the Centre for Creation?
It’s not as hard as you may have heard. By transit, the King Streetcar to Parliament and then walking south to Mill St (one south of Front St.) is the most reliable. There are maps and other useful tips are located here: http://www.dancemakers.org/directions.html

How do I help make a better Unconference?
The first two Unconferences (read about it here and here) went great.
But not so great that we don’t think it could be better. We’re keeping the format basically the same, but know there can be some improvements. We’d like to get feedback from people who came last year. We’d like to get feedback from people who didn’t come last year about what would inspire them to come this year.
Also, thoughts about who we should make sure is there, topics you’d like to raise in the Open Space, help you’d like to get in the Helping Exercise, questions you’d like to talk about with people you’re just meeting, snacks you’d like to eat. Things like that.

Please email jacob at smallwoodenshoe.org with ideas.

More kind words from the past

Where does the name come from?