Canadian Geographic
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Performing arts presentation

Performing arts ecosystem

An ecosystem describes the connection between a group of living things and how they interact with their environment. The performing arts ecosystem involves a diverse array of interconnected players: creators, artists and producers, agents and managers, presenters, venue managers, stage technicians, funders and audiences.

Depending on geographic and political regions, this ecosystem has evolved somewhat differently. In Quebec, for example, strong cultural policies support and define creation, production and presentation as distinct activities. As a result, presenters are much less likely to undertake both producing and presenting functions. In rural Canada, community-based, volunteer-run presenting organizations dominate the landscape. In large cities, presenters benefit from the availability of purpose-built venues and professional artists with whom they can collaborate creatively.

The performing arts ecosystem is fluid: people and organizations can take on different roles at different times. For instance, a theatre production company might act as a festival presenter and a venue-based presenter might commission an original work or have an artist-in-residence program. A festival presenter might augment its offer with a school-based, year-round program. Some artists become presenters of their own works and other artists’ performances.

The public has become more broadly defined not only as attendees but also as participants. They purchase tickets, they make donations to arts organizations, and they volunteer in many capacities, from sitting on boards to helping at festivals.

Public funding helps to support this ecosystem and to ensure that there is a high quality of Canadian artistic expression available to Canadians, and that presenters can bring touring artists to their communities.


In this piece the performing arts ecosystem comprised of creators, producing companies, technical crews, agents, presenters, venues, audiences, funders and other sectors is explained through an animation of interlocking cogwheels. Images each part of this dynamic ecosystem complement the animation.


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Quiz :

When was the first European drama in North America staged?