Closing the Gap: Women in Music Production

May 11 @1-3PM
Marymount Academy, Sudbury

At present here are only 1.8% female/non-binary representing music producers on the Billboard charts. Research states that the top reasons for this are insecurity in the studio which is exacerbated by a lack of representation in the Industry which encourages female/non-binary person to feel these spaces are not for them. Tessa has made it her mission to change these statistics. She developed the Equity-X Music Production program for the SOCAN Foundation which in the first year hosted 40 applicants and 500 in the second year.

Tessa Balaz – PlaySmelter Artist in Residence

Tessa Balaz is multi-disciplinary artist from Sudbury, ON. She has now spent almost a decade writing and producing original music for herself and on production teams for major artists including Daniel Caesar, Drake, the Weeknd, Migos, Mariah Carey and more. She has been nominated for 3 Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards and the Sudbury Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. She has had her original music licensed to film and television, most recently to “Kim’s Convenience” season 4. She is currently trying to close the gap and raise the percentage of female identifying producers on the billboard charts.

Playwrights Canada Press Book Sale

May 13-14
Sudbury Theatre Centre

We are extremely happy to host a table of theatre books from Playwrights Canada Press at PlaySmelter 2022. The table will be staffed by the beautiful Annie Gibson, Publisher of Playwrights Canada Press. It’s a terrific opportunity to check-out all those plays you’ve been meaning to read and add to your home library.

Traces: Multimedia Installation

May 14 @4-5PM
Sudbury Theatre Centre

“Traces” is based on a series of performance vignettes enacted in real time that pit physical struggle against emotional determination and purpose as well as an installation of the objects that emerge from the performance. Annie’s compelling use of fire and her engagement with her panels over the flames, and Michael’s obsession with fragments and hollow shells of the human body have potent personal and universal symbolic and ritualistic overtones. The traces that we leave, the ashes, our footprints, melted ice and the echoes and stains of our process speak to broader concerns over the existential threat to the planet but also to the cathartic power of art.


Annie King is a multimedia artist. She incorporates video, sounds, sculpture and installation, all of which have recently culminated in performance work based in material exploration.Her work has been included in notable exhibitions, such as the inaugural exhibition at the Vorres Museum as the Canada house, in Athens, Greece, and the inaugural exhibition of the Esker Foundation Gallery in Calgary Alberta. Annie has worked as an adjunct professor of Fine Arts at Algoma University since 2012. Annie is a volunteer Curator and mentor, educating emerging artists on best practices with Rolling Pictures Art X exhibitions. In the past year she started her own project, Art Current, geared to supporting rural, isolated or in solitude artists realising the need. She received the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Strive Arts and Culture award in 2021.

Michael Burtch is a sculptor and multi-media artist, recently engaged in theatrical scenic design with “In Your Eyes Projects,” Sault Ste. Marie and artistic collaborations with artist Annie King. He is the retired Director-Curator of the art Gallery of Algoma and is a Research Associate with the NORDIK Institute at Algoma University. As an art historian Burtch has published numerous articles on Canadian artists and was the originator and a principle participant in a major research project which resulted in a documentary film, “Painted Land, In Search of the Group of Seven”. In 2017 the film won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Editorial Research. Burtch also received the 2003 Community Recognition Award from Sault Ste. Marie’s Cultural Advisory Board and in 2017 the city’s highest honour, the Medal of Merit.

Poetry Puppy – Interactive Sculpture

May 11, 13 and 14 @5:30-9PM
Sudbury Theatre Centre

My images, words and poetry will be collaged into the creation of a papier mâché Basset Hound to represent the dog in my ongoing exploration of the human-dog relationship. The structure of the sculpture will be on-site through the Festival May 11, 13-14. I will be collaging it at the Festival and providing an interactive audience moment by inviting the audience to create poetry. Audience-created poetry will be glued to and become part of the sculpture.


I am a Northern Ontario visual artist primarily working in papier mâché sculpture, paint media and some poetry. My sculptures are life-like and life-size and the main focus of my work is animals, both domestic and wild and their relationship to humans. I am currently concentrating on the relationship between man and dog and have been doing it during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Field

May 11-14
Ongoing during the Festival.

From Emilio: My work delves into this entangled sonic mesh, and intentionally recontextualizes regular sounds into rhythmic, psychedelic and ethereal compositions. I am continuously surprised and inspired by the act of exploring sound, by deeply listening. It is my hope to share this excitement with anyone who listens to my work. During the Play Smelter Festival, I will create multiple compositions based on field recordings of the festival itself – of conversations, noises, random soundscapes, and so forth. Collaboration is a major aspect of how I work, and I welcome working with other artists in any discipline throughout the Festival.


Along with being a musician and composer, Emilio also produces, mixes and masters soundtracks, albums, and singles for other artists, musicians, and film. The most recent co-production (2021) was with artist Jessica Karuhanga. The co-produced album will be featured as the soundtrack for Karuhanga’s contemporary interdisciplinary production entitled you feel me.

Pigments Are Bodies

Virtual Studio Visit

During the residency, Elyse will work on dye processes (with sumac and blueberry), inkmaking, pigment harvesting and processing, and painting. Some experiments will contribute to an installation dedicated to the Bennett Lake Watershed. She also plans to develop a new painting, which will have Solidago coming out of the hands of Sophia Mathur – a local/national youth activist in the climate crisis fight (part of the ecojustice court case taking the Ford government to trial for weakening Ontario’s 2030 climate target).


Elyse Portal is an ecoartist that works with botanical and mineral pigments as a pact with place-based care. In Sudbury, the radiating hues of Solidago attracted her to inkmaking, and in turn she happened upon the remedial capacities of goldenrod in removing heavy metals from heavily distrubed soils. Pigments deepen her awareness of the living urban world, and even communicate counterpoints to the ecological devastation found in and around the city. Elyse has a BFA (University of Victoria), MVS (University of Toronto) and is a professional member of the ECOART NETWORK. She teaches ecoart workshops at Camosun College.

Fast Fashion In Rehab – Community Clothing Exchange

May 14 @11am-1pm
Sudbury Theatre Centre

Public Clothing Swap! Recycle those pieces you’ve tired off and take on something new to you. Artist Gillian Schultze will be on-site to share her new project whereby she will use recycled materials to explore textile sculpture in a new way. Stage One is a Public Clothing Exchange.

From Gillian: I want to design freestanding sculptures by manipulating, sewing and using different finishes on used material. I will explore abstract art that references, in its form, the climate and the environment. I want my art to explore what we can actively do to stop the impacts of fast fashion, with a better understanding of how my choices will make a difference for the next generation. I want my work to dive deep into how I can change and influence through visual structures. Nearly 95% of textile waste in our dumps could have been recycled. By changing our current textile recycling patterns, we could change the future for our children.


Many Sudburians will easily recognize the strikingly unique style of Gillian Schultze’s work, as she incorporates textile and thread to bring her imagination to life in her art. Hers is an art that speaks to the beauty of the landscape around Greater Sudbury, often depicting the trees, rocks, birds, and waters of Northeastern Ontario. What is most unique in her work is that she advocates for the protection of our wilderness areas in the province simply by raising awareness of the sheer beauty of those spaces.

In her relatively short career as a practicing professional artist, Gillian has created over 200 pieces of art to date. Just since 2017 alone, she has had a number of solo exhibitions, and has taken part in juried art shows across the province. Most recently, she won the Emerging Artist of the Year in the 2020 Celebration of the Arts in Greater Sudbury. Art collectors and dealers who follow her art career say that Gillian’s body of work is always evolving. Her mixed media and textile works are a refection of her personal thoughts, emotions, struggles, and triumphs.