Authors, Book Fair at the Festival of the Arts, Festival of the Arts Oct 24-26, Northumberland Hills, Poetry at the Festival of the Arts Oct 25 and 26 2019, Spirit of the Hills

FREE Events at FOTA

“The arts can create beauty, excite audiences, provoke passionate debate and build bridges between people.” Susan Statham, President, Spirit of the Hills Arts

Blog Photo - FOTA 2nd Poster 2019

Join us at the Festival of the Arts on October 24 to 26, where many events are FREE:

Friday October 25, 1:30 p.m: Poetry workshop by acclaimed Cobourg poets Wally Keeler, Ted Amsden (poet laureate emeritus), and Toronto poet Dane Swan.

Friday, 1 p.m. and again Saturday 9:30 a.m:  Artists from Northumberland and nearby regions share beautiful and exciting works, from books to creations by visual artists and artisans. (Festival feature – All original paintings: $75.)

Blog Photo - FOTA Helen van Poorten
Painting by Helen van Poorten

Saturday Lunchtime:  Buy an inexpensive bag lunch and join in passionate debate and idea-sharing in the Sharing across the Arts panel.

Ticketed events (Registration Required): 

Saturday 2 p.m: Poetry, Music and Video —  WORDS ON A WIRE:  $10

Saturday, 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m:  Arts Workshops: $25 

Thursday & Friday 7:15 p.m:  Drama and Dance: $25 

Saturday, 7:15 p.m: Book Launch and Concert: $25 

Blog Photo - FOTA marie-lynn-hammond2


Let’s Talk Books in Cobourg on King east of Division


Festival of the Arts Oct 24-26, Multimedia, Northumberland County, Poetry at the Festival of the Arts Oct 25 and 26 2019, Poets, Workshops at FOTA

Meet the Poets at FOTA!








Tickets for Words on a Wire and all other events requiring registration, are available at: Let’s Talk Books in Cobourg 

Or online at:


Drama at Festival of the Arts, Festival of the Arts Oct 24-26, Northumberland Hills, Ten-minute Plays at FOTA


Could the big events in our life all come down to a series of ‘happy accidents’?

Read Chris Cameron’s take, below. Chris is the producer of the drama and dance evenings on October 24 and 25th at the Festival of the Arts in Cobourg, Ontario. He’s also directing one play.


The important events in my life seem to have been born from a series of happy accidents.

Blog Photo - FOTA Chris Cameron

There are the careful plans I make, and then there is tripping over my own feet and landing face-first in a field of clover. I began running as a temporary way to quit smoking; thirty-five years later, I’m running farther than ever.

The three decades I worked as a professional opera singer were a career path I stumbled onto purely by chance at age 16. My memoir about those years is called Dr. Bartolo’s Umbrella and Other Tales from my Surprising Operatic Life. And naturally, writing that memoir and having it published were never part of my life plan.

Blog Photo - FOTA Chris Cameron Book

To this day I can’t say why I first became a writer. It wasn’t something I’d always dreamed of doing, as it is for so many. Over time, I just discovered how much I love the challenges and rewards of writing: to write clearly but lyrically; to put thoughts in order logically but fantastically; to communicate symbolically and be understood viscerally; to build E. M. Forster’s bridge – the one that connects prose with passion.

Through a chance meeting a couple of years ago, I discovered Spirit of the Hills, whose mandate it is to encourage and sustain art and artists in Northumberland. At the first writers meeting, I felt as if I’d walked in the front door of my own home.

Recently, I’ve taken over the task of organizing the evenings of dance and drama at the Spirit of the Hills Festival of the Arts this October 24 and 25 at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Cobourg.

Blog Photo - FOTA Ron Mackay Rehearsal Einstein's Fridge Albert Einstein and Lisbeth Feist

We are producing four original ten-minute plays in the auditorium at St. Peter’s, interspersed with dance presentations ranging from Flamenco to belly dancing.

We’re assembling an exciting line up of actors and directors for the plays. I am very excited to be directing Katie Hoogendam’s Plan X. 

Blog Photo - FOTA Katie H.

This is a rich drama that covers a universal subject concisely and elegantly. Katie is a poet, and her words and rhythm make the dialogue fairly sing.

After having performed on stage for much of my life, the chance to interpret and shape someone else’s vision and words so that I can nurture the work of other performers is inspiring, stimulating … and a little frightening!

Blog Photo - FOTA Chris-Cameron 2

Following yet another career path, I trained as an editor several years ago, and I spend much of my time helping authors make their writing the best it can be. This summer I copy edited Hill Spirits IV, the anthology of prose and poetry by Spirit of the Hills writers, which will be launched during the Festival of the Arts.

Blog Photo - SOTH FOTA Hill Spirits IV COVER

Whether it is writing a story, running a marathon, or directing a play, to me life has always been about recognizing those opportunities that spring up when I least expect them, and then challenging myself to meet them.

Once again, several exciting opportunities have come to me through the Spirit of the Hills Festival of the Arts and I intend to enjoy every minute.


Festival of the Arts Oct 24-26, Music, Songwriting Workshop, Uncategorized

SONGWRITING: FOTA Workshop by David Newland

Ever dreamed of writing a song? Or perhaps you’ve done songwriting and want a refresher? Learn from a pro!

Book your spot in musician and songwriter David Newland’s workshop at the Festival of the Arts on October 26th. (It’s only $25!)

Blog Photo - FOTA David Newland 2

We asked David some simple questions that you might want answers to.

Here goes:

Q1: What can participants expect to get from your workshop?

Participants can expect to engage informally about how songs FEEL — as opposed to how they sound. What moves us about songs? I’ll have participants give examples of well known songs and we’ll talk about how they work. I’ll also use examples about how I use certain tools or techniques to convey feeling in songs. 

Q2: Do you have to be able to read/write music to take the workshop?

You don’t have to know anything about music at all! EVERYONE who enjoys music especially anyone who is particularly moved by songs is welcome. Artists working in other genres, and those curious about the creative process in general would also benefit from the workshop.  

Q3: What do you expect participants to bring to the workshop (writing implements, attitudes, etc?)

Nothing is required to attend the workshop, but paper and pen for taking notes are welcome, and if participants wish to bring a recording of a song on a mobile device for consideration/discussion that’s welcome too within the limits of the available time attention.

Blog Photo - SOTH Festival Performers

Q4: What song-writing have you done and how do you feel about it?

I wrote my first song 30 years ago, and I’ve probably written several hundred songs since then. I’ve made five albums. The most recent one, NORTHBOUND, was recorded live in Cobourg a year ago, and released at Victoria Hall last spring. It’s currently on the folk charts on a number of different radio stations across the country.

Something happens at a very deep level when feelings, images, words and music come together. Creativity is a miraculous process. And songs are a unique art form. They must be experienced in time– over the course of three or four minutes–but have the ability to remove the listener to another time and situation entirely. To make music and to play and sing music is a spiritual thing, and yet its methods are in some ways deeply practical. It has certain qualities in common with wood carving, photography, carpentry as well as the more obvious forms like poetry and playwriting. 

And I feel very strongly that despite its mysteries, the art of songwriting is available and accessible to people who have the ability to hear and be moved by songs.

Blog Photo - FOTA DavidNewland with guitar by PeterCroal
Photo by Peter Croal

Many of my songs arise as responses to landscapes. The picture above is from a recent trip to the Arctic, where many of my songs come from.

To find out more about David’s or other FOTA workshops, please visit: