SESSION 3: KIMBERLY SUNSTRUM & WILLIAM LAU
Time & Location
About the Event
Kimberly Sunstrum: a queer, Botswana-Canadian singer-songwriter from the Ottawa region. Blending profound vocals with heartfelt lyrics, Sunstrum’s music delves into topics on family, race, feminism, queerness and the ways these multidimensional identities influence how we navigate the world.
Sunstrum expresses these themes through multiple artistic disciplines - music, video, graphic artistry, poetry. This multifaceted expression exemplifies these themes in ways that make them more widely accessible and attainable.
Kimberly Sunstrum writes about the world as she sees it with an eloquent poetry and grace. Mixed-race identity, feminism, love, and, family are reflections of her life and constant themes in her songs.
William Lau: William Lau is a refined performer and a passionate cultural worker. William was born in Hong
Kong and raised in Montreal. A graduate from Toronto York University’s Master of Fine Arts
program in dance, he was trained in both Chinese traditional dance and Western classical ballet.
Presently, William specialized in the arts of Nan Dan (male playing female roles in the Peking
Opera) under renowned Masters in China such as Shen Xiaomei, Song Changrong, Sun Mingzhu,
and Wang Fenglian. He is the only Canadian artist who specialized in all four styles of famous
Dan schools (Mei, Shang, Cheng, Xun) and presented them to Canadian audiences.
William was the founder and the Artistic Director of the Montreal Society of Chinese Performing
Arts and the Little Pear Garden Collective in Toronto. Since 2011, he founded the Autumn
Melody Collective and continued to present Peking opera in the national capital and beyond.
Under his leadership, he had developed and promoted the richness of Chinese dance and opera
to a wide range of audiences nationally across Canada as well as mentored a new generation of
cultural workers. He had also performed internationally in the United States of America
(including Hawaii and Puerto Rico), United Kingdom, China, Mexico, and Indonesia. William
always aims to bridge Chinese performing arts to the Canadian mainstream communities by
conducting workshops and lecture demonstrations at various academic institutions and
professional companies; by initiating photos and costumes/shoes exhibitions at different
cultural spaces across Canada including Maison de la culture Frontenac in Montreal, the
Todmorden Mills, Harbourfront Centre and the Bata Shoes Museum in Toronto and Dr. Sun Yat-
Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver.
Bilingual Peking opera was created by William who believes strongly that non-Mandarin
speaking artists should have equal access to participate in this unique art form. By doing so, he
is able to make the aged old repertoires more accessible to today’s context; therefore, opening
the door for diverse professional artists in Canada to participate in this art form. He had also
pushed the boundaries of traditional arts practices by collaborating with professional artists of
different artistic disciplines and diverse cultural backgrounds. Notables as South Asian
choreographer Menaka Thakkar for “Land of Cards”, contemporary composer Alice Ho for
“Dance Concerto” with the Newfoundland Symphony’s Sinfonia and New Music Concerts,
playwright Marty Chan, composer Robert Walsh and director Ron Jenkins for “Forbidden
Phoenix” with the Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre, director Heidi Specht for “Life of Paper” with the
Vancouver’s Pangaea Theatre, composer Alice Ho and librettist Marjorie Chan for “Lesson of Da
Ji” with the Toronto Masque Theatre.
William is a member of union des artists. With a deep passion for the arts, his professional
experience includes arts administration, production, scholarly research, advisory and advocacy
work. His research papers have been presented at conferences in Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong,
United Kingdom and United States of America. William had served on many Boards and
Committees including the Canadian Conference of the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, Dance
Ontario, the Laidlaw Foundation and the Cultural Human Resources Council. He has also worked
at the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Arts
Council of Great Britain. Currently, he is a Program Manager at the Canada Council for the Arts.
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