Calling all newcomer youth!

Are you looking for a creative, fun way to practice your English? 

Second Act is a free online arts-focused ESL program for newcomer youth (ages 13-17) to feel more comfortable and confident in their speaking abilities. 

You’ll have the opportunity to connect with peers while developing your own creative voice through interactive activities and workshops. Plus, you’ll get to work on an exciting project using photography, creative writing, storytelling, spoken word, and presentations!

All workshops will take place via Zoom video calls. If you’ve never used Zoom before or need help setting it up, don’t worry – we’ll provide you with 1-on-1 tech support. 

Second Act is led in English and is ideal for those with basic to intermediate English communication skills. All newcomer youth are welcome to join, but priority will be given to North York residents. 

This is your chance to have fun, meet new people, and even win some awesome prizes! 


Date:  October 7 – November 18, 2020 (Every Wednesday)

Time: 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Place: Online via Zoom

Price: Free

2020 Workshops

October 7, 14, 21: Creative Writing
October 28, November 4, 11: Photography

The workshops are designed to introduce photography as a tool for self-expression. This program encourages newcomer youth to explore their creative self, while developing a photo series that reflects their personal feelings and life experiences.

Youth will learn about the art of visual storytelling and use photography’s elements of design (such as lighting, composition, framing and more) to capture interesting photographs that start a dialogue.

Facilitator: Ebti Nabag

Ebti Nabag is a visual artist who works with photography, video, and installation. She is also a digital and analogue photography instructor. She teams up with galleries and community centers to develop art programs that provide opportunities for creative self-expression and aid in the development of identity. Her work is motivated by stories from the average human and she hopes her documentations serve as bridges between people and communities. 

Instagram: @ebti_n


November 18: Closing Session

Participants will present their final pieces within the group while learning different facilitation dynamics. During the whole program, participants will develop leadership skills as well as understanding more about the arts sector in the city and other opportunities catered towards their needs.

Facilitator: Julian Carvajal

Julian Carvajal is a multifaceted colourful Colombian-Canadian Queer Latinx Media Artist, Arts Manager, Producer and Cultural Promoter. He has worked for 5 years at Art Starts as a Special Projects Manager, while also producing the largest PanAmerican Food and Music Festival. Julian is currently working at North York Arts as the coordinator for their Seniors Animation Program & Second Act Program and is also facilitating a digital storytelling program for seniors with CultureLink. Julian has worked with over 300 youths in different programs. He is very excited to learn and get inspired by the participants of this program.

Instagram: @JuliCarvajalTO

Second Act History

2019 Workshops

Storytelling and Presence | Facilitator: Patrick Walters

During these workshops, you will learn and practice telling a story, creative writing, and how to perform for an audience. We will focus on curating a creative and encouraging environment for all. You will be given tips on how to project, how to stand and move on stage as well as the thought that goes into creating a compelling story for an audience to enjoy. Come and tell your story!

Improv | Facilitator: Patricia Tab

Improv is a fun tool to build-up interpersonal and communication skills in a relaxed environment. Through comedy games and physical theatre exercises, these workshops will fuel your creativity and spontaneity, making amusing memories and even potential new friends!

Public Speaking | Facilitators: Stephan Dyer and Juan Cajiao

Are you looking to overcome your fear of public speaking? Join us and let’s have fun with Improvisation and Stand Up Comedy. We will use humor as the primary tool in order to become persuasive speakers, improve stage presence, and develop self-confidence. We will also talk about how to embrace your accents and roots through the ‘mistakes are opportunities’ mentality. 

Practicing English through fun theatre games | Facilitators: Juliette Salcedo and Ebony Viani-Singer

Practice English through fun games like broken telephone, charades and more.

Conversation with Maria Montejo

A conversation with Maria Montejo (Deer clan) about the land that we stand on and our responsibilities as newcomers to the land and to the original keepers of this land. 

2018 Workshops

Getting Started | Facilitator: Cecilia Garcia

Learning a new language is hard, and sometimes the hardest part is learning the skills that we spent the least amount of time practicing. Speaking and interacting with others in a new language demands a lot of practice, courage, and confidence. Let’s get started with play and games to get to know each other and start working on our English and confidence.

Story Telling and Presence| Facilitator: Patrick Walters

This program will be focused on curating a creative and encouraging environment to teach youth the requisite skills to speak or perform publicly for an audience. Participants will be given tangible examples of how to improve their speaking ability, including tips on how to project, how to stand and move on stage as well as the thought that goes into creating a compelling story for an audience to follow and enjoy.

Improv in a Second Language | Facilitator: Alana Shields Barker

This workshop will guide participants through the basics of Improvisation focusing on our social communications skills. We all use basic improv skills every day, solving problems, discovering information, communicating our needs and desires. In this workshop we’ll be exploring how we do this in Canadian English using real time improv games and taking time to share our discoveries with each other as we play. You do not need drama or improvisation experience to join us – just a willingness to learn and explore your new social language with an open heart and mind. Wear comfortable clothing as we will be moving a bit.

Improv and Comedy | Facilitator:  Isaac Luy

This workshop is for youth that have english as their second language and are trying to improve their interpersonal and public speaking skills. We’ll focus on some physical comedy games that get your body moving and your creative juices flowing. We will do exercises that aim to get you feeling confident and into a state of play.

Body Language, Gestures and Non-verbal Communication | Facilitator:  Beatriz Pizano

Theatrical language goes beyond the spoken word.  Our bodies create images, stories, and relationships without the use of words.  In this workshop we will work on a number of simple physical exercises to compose stories in space and we will introduce the group to the concept of collective creation.  Open to all. No experience necessary.

Storytelling with Images | Facilitator:  Jackie Omstead

During this workshop we will work together to explore a variety of storytelling skills: from movement to sound making, and “frozen pictures” to narration. Have fun, build your confidence, and try something new! No experience necessary, but always welcome!

Public Speaking | Facilitators:  Stephan Dyer and Juan Cajiao

The purpose of this workshop is to overcome the fear of public speaking through Improvisation and Stand Up Comedy. We will use humor as the primary tool in order to become persuasive speakers, improve stage presence, and develop self-confidence. The workshop will also show attendees how to embrace their accent and roots through the ‘mistakes are opportunities’ mentality.

Building your Character | Facilitator: Melissa Foster 

Explore your inner ego at this workshop designed to celebrate that lesser known side of you. Brave, insecure, funny, loud, quite, shy – all types are welcome here! You’ll use basic acting techniques, character development and improvisation to create an alter ego that’s all you.

About Us

North York Arts (NYA)  collaborates with artists, arts organizations, and partners to develop, strengthen, and promote cultural programming and initiatives for North York communities

Contact us 

North York Arts
5040 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON, M2N 6R8

Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

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