Ana Sofia de la Parra • Nov 14, 2023

Silhouettes in front of a red theatre curtain (Kyle Head/UNSPLASH).


The University of Ottawa Theatre Club premiered their rendition of The Great Gatsby last week on Nov. 8, 2023. It was at the Gladstone Theatre right in Little Italy, and it had a great atmosphere, ambiance, and audience. The theatre was full of students, families and guests who were all riled up by the theatre magic that is born when something is created out of passion and respect for the craft, which is exactly what this play was.

The Great Gatsby traditionally follows the story of Jay Gatsby, played by Corgand Svendsen and his love for Daisy Buchanan, portrayed by Breanna Sirois. The play is narrated by Gatsby’s neighbour, Nick Carraway, played by Andrew Lemieux, who’s later revealed as Gatsby’s only true friend. We also see an outstanding rendition of Tom Buchanan by Zachary Sieber, who embodied the toxic masculinity of this character perfectly and made the audience laugh as well as gasp with his performance.

After speaking with Mariana Gomez, the actress who played Myrtle Wilson, she said the experience was incredible and the people who were part of it made it special. She said the group was very particular as many of the people who aren’t theatre majors got an audition and apart, making it more special because everyone came from different places. Still, it evolved into a community and a bit of a family. Gomez also wanted to give a shout out to the stage manager, Kenzie Barrera, as she was “the puzzle piece bringing everyone together,” the actress states. She followed up by saying that Barrera made sure everything flowed and that everyone had a great time while bringing this story to life.

It was also noticed that the actors had liberty with their characters, how they wanted to portray them and what part of their story they wanted to show. Making this story and this rendition not only remarkable for the cast but also notable for the audience as we saw a twist of the great Gatsby we hadn’t seen before, which is focused on Daisy, her story and her complexity as a woman, a mother, and a person figuring out her life in front of us.

The University of Ottawa Theatre Club showcases what is possible to create when everyone brings their best and has passion for what they are doing. I encourage everyone to see their future projects, such as Heather, the musical which will be shown in December, and enjoy a night of fun, talent and a bit of magic.


Ottawa Theatre Club’s Great Gatsby

Ana Sofia de la Parra

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Arya Gunde • Nov 9, 2023

Folklore dancers at NOIR Art Festival, Nov. 2, 2023 (Arya Gunde/CHUO).


The Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park hosted NOIR, a fine art festival supporting the Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH). Launched by Wall Candy in 2022, NOIR is a chance for Ottawa’s best restaurants and artists to showcase the fruits of their labour.

This year’s theme, “Day of the Dead,” ran from Nov. 2nd to Nov. 5th. The festival’s programs were curated in collaboration with the Mexican Embassy to embrace the Mexican tradition.

NOIR began with an upscale gala featuring singers, dancers, musicians, speeches, a very talented makeup artist, and high-end restaurants serving as free-food vendors. The restaurants in attendance, dubbed ‘the Gastronomic Salon,’ included Cocotte Bistro, Coconut Lagoon, Gitanes, STOFA, Raphael, Paper Tiger, Hummingbird Chocolate Maker, YOW Popcorn Co., and Chiqui Bakery. The Thirst Responder, a mobile bar service, served drinks.


Food and vendors at the gala, Nov. 2, 2023 (Arya Gunde/CHUO).


As the night went on, multiple performances kept the crowd engaged, immersing many in the Day of the Dead festivities. A vocal performance by Dayan Salazar set the tone for the night’s elegant aura. Nick Cooper and Ruth Rivera of Firmata Music graced the stage for two performances of classical violin and guitar. In between, a Folkloric dance embodying the festival spirit took place.

The NOIR altar for Frida Kahlo and Emily Carr (Arya Gunde/CHUO).

A Day of the Dead altar honouring Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and Canadian artist Emily Carr was present for the festivities. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum describes altars as happy, colourful celebrations where death is honoured, the deceased are remembered and are enticed back to celebrate the joys of life.

The festival featured works from 55 professional artists, with many donating pieces for sale through a silent auction. All of the proceeds from the auction went toward fundraising to support the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation. The Wall Candy website states, “last year, the NOIR Gala was able to raise almost $7,000 for the hospital’s Building Space Between the Walls campaign, which has helped build a comfortable, modern, fully-equipped space for 15 bed bays at QCH.” This year, the plan is to raise that number considerably.

You can find more information about NOIR on the Wall Candy website. We hope to see you there next year!


Listen to CHUO’s coverage of NOIR Art Festival as played on The Mosaic:

NOIR Art Festival’s Opening Gala

Arya Gunde

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Mid B • Nov 3, 2023

Rows of red theatre seats (Kilyan Sockalingum/UNSPLASH).


The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival returns for its 7th annual run, from November 2nd to the 4th, at the Bytowne Cinema. The event was created as a way to bring awareness to and celebrate the work of Canadian filmmakers.

“We are returning to the Bytowne Cinema again this year for another in-person experience,” says Jith Paul, a filmmaker and organizer for the festival. “I am particularly proud of the fact that five of the films selected by our jury are from teams with ties to Ottawa and the surrounding area.”

This year’s lineup will feature a range of 18 films, spanning genres ranging from comedy, to drama, animation and more.

This year’s local entries consist of the following:

  • Brise Glace (Broken Waters) is a narrated feature and Canada’s first bilingual drama featuring female Franco-Ontarian characters. Directed by Karolyne Natasha Pickett, it tells the story of a psychiatrist with unconventional methods, who is determined to cure her serial baby-snatching patient.
    A Simple Mix-Up is a narrated short by Maissa Houri, about a murder in the suburbs.
  • Impulse Control is a short narrated comedy by Mikey Tachuk and Sarah Marks. Their film tells the story of a young woman who loses control of her actions and struggles with intrusive thoughts.
    Lunch at the Rideau, which is a documentary by Jane Gurr and Kent Newson, about Ottawa’s beloved Rideau Bakery lunch counter.
  • Life After… a short narrated film by Stephanie Lalonde, follows a woman leading a support group for the grieving.

In addition to celebrating and inspiring others through storytelling, the event also brings awareness to important issues in the hopes of breaking down stigmas.

“My motivation behind making this film was knowing people who have faced a loss to suicide,” says Lalonde. “Having experienced the fear dealing with my own suicidal teen, I can’t and don’t want to ever know the grief of the other side. I told my son that if he kills himself then he kills me too. He hung on to that. There is so little said about the pain and suffering those left behind have to deal with. I felt a light needed to be shed on that side of the subject. Conversations about mental health and prevention is a big topic now. Let’s break the silence on the reality that exists in life after..”

Last year’s lineup included three entries from Ottawa. Included was UOttawa Communications grad, Fitch Jean’s More Than Hair. The film touches on a black boy’s first barbershop experience, while discovering the symbolic power of black hair. Since then, it’s been showcased on the latest season of CBC’s Short Film Face-Off.

For more information, visit Ocan Film Fest.

OCan Film Fest Highlights Ottawa Filmmakers

Mid B

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Lauren Roulston • Nov 1, 2023


In an open letter to the Prime Minister, the federal NDP caucus has written out a list of demands.

The NDP calls include but aren’t limited to a ceasefire.

They’re demanding Canada ends arms sales to Israel among reports of airstrikes near hospitals, schools, and yesterday a refugee camp.

Israel has defended the attack on the densely-packed refugee camp, which UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths describes as “an atrocity” in a statement.

“The world seems unable, or unwilling, to act. This cannot go on. We need a step change,” he says, noting the rising death toll in the West Bank.

Griffiths says the crisis in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory is global.

The NDP writes “Extremist right-wing settlers are harassing, threatening and killing innocent Palestinians as Israeli security forces watch. It has to stop, and these crimes must be prosecuted.”

Global Affairs Canada officials cannot confirm if Canadian weapons are being used in the latest Israeli bombardments and invasions.

One hundred thousand Canadians have written to the NDP Government, according to their letter. Released today, the letter also calls for unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza.

Nearly a million people have been made homeless in the enclave. The people in Gaza don’t have access to food, water, fuel, medicine, or sanitation.

“The more than 200 trucks which have crossed into Gaza so far following painstaking negotiations of some relief but are nowhere near enough,” says Griffiths

Many are drinking contaminated water and undergoing surgical procedures without anesthetic.

A UN General Assembly emergency resolution called for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce” in Gaza. The resolution passed with 120 votes in favour, 14 against, and 45 abstentions.

A UN conference room (Davi Mendes/UNSPLASH).

Canada was among the abstaining votes, another subject of NDP condemnation.

“Canada failed humanity with this vote,” says Thomas Woodley, president of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East in a press release.

“Our country is officially complacent and complicit with this terrible humanitarian catastrophe, which UN experts and scholars warn may amount to genocide,” he adds.

Griffiths also warns that failure to act now will have consequences far beyond the region.

“Canada must not abandon the principles of international law and justice. We urge you to take action today. Many lives depend on it,” reads the NDP letter.

NDP demands feds call for ceasefire in Gaza, “profoundly alarmed” they haven’t already

Lauren Roulston

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