Anisa Tejpar gets the insider’s view of Peel and the GTA’s vast and ever evolving arts landscape. This is Inside the Arts.

As a Dora Mavor Moore Award winning dancer and performer herself, Anisa takes a dive into diverse arts mediums through casual interviews with vibrant artists, writers, musicians, actors, producers, curators and art makers. Nothing is off the table with these candid stories of artists’ work, inspiration and failures, and what continues to drive them towards the creation and presentation of their artforms.

As consumers of content, we all love listening, watching and experiencing the arts; whether it’s on television, or on the Top 40 charts, in a gallery, or on screen… but…

What do we know about the people who make this content? What are their personal stories and journeys, and what makes them tick? What makes them strive to create for our collective enjoyments? What drives them? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.

This show is for everyone who has ever gone to the movies, sings in the shower, or has danced in their kitchen to a song they love. She will be joined by regular contributors Matt Dionne and Deirdre Kelly. This is for anyone who laughs out loud at comedy specials, or loves to go to the theatre. This is a show about artists, by artists. These are their stories.

Join us on this wild ride.


Ashleigh (c) Angela Besharah

Ashleigh Rains

Ashleigh Rains is an award-winning producer and founder of C’mon Mort Productions. With more than a decade of film and television acting experience on shows like THE HANDMAID’S TALE, KIM’S CONVENIENCE, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2, Ashleigh brings her on set knowledge behind the lens as a Producer. Her current feature, CANADIAN STRAIN, has played festivals across North America and is distributed in Canada and the U.S.. She has produced music videos, digital content for
international brands, prestigious award shows, and award-winning short films including TOMORROW’S SHADOWS starring David Cronenberg and Karine Vanasse.

Ashleigh is a champion of Canadian film and in 2020 was promoted to Festival Director for the Canadian Film Fest, an annual festival showcasing the best in independent filmmaking from across Canada. Ashleigh volunteers as a mentor for women in film and television, as a juror for various film festivals, and as a speaker for industry conferences and panels.

She is an alumna of Canada’s National Ballet School, received her BAH in Drama from Queen’s University, and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, UK. She was selected for NSI Totally Television, Corus Media Management Accelerator and Telefilm’s Not Short on Talent at Cannes, SXSW and Clermont-Ferrand. Ashleigh is a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, Women in Film and Television and ACTRA.

Deirdre Kelly

Deirdre Kelly

Deirdre Kelly is a Canadian journalist, author and internationally recognized arts critic, style writer and investigative reporter. She is the best-selling author of the nonfiction books, Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection, the latter the inspiration for the 2015 Misty Copeland documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale. In 2021, UK’s Guardian newspaper put Ballerina at the number one spot of a top ten list of the world’s best dance books. As an arts and culture reporter, Deirdre (pronounced Dear-dree) has written for a wide range of international titles, including Marie Claire in London, Elle in New York and Vogue in Australia. In her native Canada she was for decades a staff writer at The Globe and Mail newspaper before leaving in 2017 to become Editor of the award-winning The York University Magazine. A two-time recipient of the Nathan Cohen Award for Excellence in Theatre Criticism, Canada’s most important arts writing prize, a multiple prize winner at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards and a National Newspaper Awards finalist in the category of feature writing. More information can be found at

Image Credit: McKenzie James

Laura C. Bates

Laura C. Bates

Laura C. Bates is a Canadian violinist, songwriter, vocalist, educator, and revered music geek. She was the first violinist to graduate from the renowned Jazz and Contemporary Music program at Humber College and is an in-demand studio musician and touring side woman. She’s played with Chris Hadfield, Gowan, Ed Sheeran, on the Juno Awards, works on film scores for films starring Jason Momoa, and she plays 6 string violin in her heavy metal band Völur. Laura will open your ears to her global musical community and reveal the best-kept musical secrets in your own backyard. Visit to learn more about Laura.

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