Library offering virtual performance series

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer
kkellar@fortfrances.com

The Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre (FFPLTC) is gearing up to offer everyone a series of fun and exciting online shows that are sure to be fun for the whole family as we transition out of a cold winter.

The series, called “Funday Mondays,” is seven different performances that families will be able to tune into from the comfort of their own homes, and potentially together with others at the library as COVID-19 restrictions continue to loosen in the coming weeks. Each performance is a different experience that range from circus performances, sing-alongs with Disney princesses, magic and science shows and more.

FFPLTC children’s service clerk Miss Sam Manty said the aim of the series is to offer engaging and fun things to do from the library, particularly because COVID has prevented more traditional family programming.

“Our idea was just, because things have been so up in the air on being able to do in-person programming [at the library], we wanted to offer something fun to the community that’s varied and open to all ages and bring a bit of fun and cheer to these dreary winter days we’re having,” Manty said.

“It’s neat with the virtual entertainment that we’re able to bring in performers that normally we wouldn’t be able to have here, just because of the cost of bringing them here and lodging them, so we’re able to offer a pretty premium entertainment series from the comfort of everyone’s homes.”

Manty said the performances are being organized in conjunction with an organization out of Toronto called JoJoFun, who primarily specialize in children’s party entertainment, but have moved their offering of programming into the online space as well. The pedigree of JoJoFun is also something Manty said she was confident in, particularly as she learned the organization has previous ties to the library.

“I do think people are in for a pretty good show,” Manty said.

“The person I organized this with is very well known amongst children’s artists. She has a pretty good following, and I learned after I hired her that Andrea [Avis, retired children’s service clerk with the library] has worked with her before and has had wonderful success.”

Kicking the series off on February 28 is a circus show with Katy Kartwheel, an expert circus performer who will delight children with fun circus entertainment and demonstrate some of the skills used by circus performers in their profession. The next show, scheduled for March 14, is a St. Patrick’s Magic Show with magician Gizmo, who will keep the entire family entertained and engaged.

Each performance is scheduled for a Monday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. and running for 45 minutes, roughly two shows per month from March until May. The timing was worked out to hopefully be after a family has had dinner and before bedtime, so everyone can enjoy the performance before getting ready to go to bed. The library will receive Zoom links for the performances and then distribute the link to those who are interested in watching. Everyone is welcome to watch the videos, and Manty said she’s also hoping that the library will be able to put together a limited number of take-home kits the week before each show so that interested families can use what’s in them to play along with some of the videos.

“People will be able to get into the spirit of whatever is happening that week,” Manty explained.

“As an example, for the circus show we’re hoping to get the supplies to let people make juggling balls. That being said, what I know so far, people don’t have to have these things to participate, but it’s something to make it fun and encourage people to want to go.”

Manty said she’s excited to have this line of virtual programming on offer for the community, with the chance to move in-person as restrictions continue to ease across the province, which should also see a return to more traditional in-person programming at the library as well. There is also a planned participation draw for those who attend the virtual showings, where Manty will record the names of those tuned in for each session and pull a winner at the end of the entertainment series.

“I just really want to encourage people to watch the shows,” Manty said.

“I really think it’s going to be a really fun time. I think the artists are very talented and will have a lot to offer, so i think it’s going to be a lot of fun for the community and I’m hoping a lot of people get the chance to enjoy it. I’m really excited to see people come out.”

To get the Zoom link for each planned performance, head to the library’s Facebook page and website in the days leading up to the performance, or email ffpltc@gmail.com.