This Purple Day, we invite you to join us for a special celebration, live on Facebook, with an amazing host, special guests, shared stories and creative performances by artists living with epilepsy.
This broadcast will also feature videos by YOU! Enter your video into our Power of Purple Video Contest for a chance to win $1000 and to have your video shared during our live Purple Day Broadcast. Click HERE to learn more about the contest and your chance to win.
ABOUT OUR HOST:
Mat Ricardo is, according to The Scotsman, “Undoubtedly one of the greatest variety artists working today”.
His thirty-plus year career has seen him travel the worlds theatres, cabaret clubs and festivals, advancing and redefining his artform to become one of the most critically acclaimed and successful speciality acts there is,. He is, to quote the London Evening Standard, “Breathtaking”. He also happens to have had the experience of living with epilepsy.
He has performed cabaret in virtually every place where it can be performed, in all corners of the globe, including repeat residencies in such iconic venues as The Royal Albert Hall, The Savoy Hotel and Hollywood’s Magic Castle, and more than once, privately, for members of the British Royal Family. He is the only variety artist to win the Herald Angel award for excellence in theatre.
“Terrific humour and genuine skill. The showman deserves your applause” – The Guardian
Alongside his performing work, he is a TEDx speaker, an ambassador for the mental health non-profit “Mental Ideas” and a co-host of the accompanying radio show. For two years he was a regular columnist for the British comedy website Chortle, writing about subjects as diverse as depression and creativity, gender, internet trolls and originality, he has also contributed pieces for Time Out, The Magic Circular and the Huffington Post, and still maintains his own widely-read blog. An experienced interviewer, Mat has chatted to some of the biggest stars of comedy and entertainment live on stage for the BBC, The National Theatre, and in several West End theatres.
From 2020, the pandemic inspired him to start creating regular new work for his YouTube channel.
ABOUT THE PERFORMERS:
Isabel Estrada was born in Guatemala and moved to Toronto in 2010 to pursue a career in dance. She graduated with a BFA in Dance (Cum Laude) from York University, Toronto in 2014.
She has performed internationally in works by Laurie Johnson, Andrea Siekavizza, Ruben Ornelas, Victoria Mata, Holly Small, Darcey Callison, Carol Anderson and John Henry Gerena. In 2013 she participated in “Rite Redux” as a member of the York Dance Ensemble. She considers this one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of her artistic career.
She performed in Alejandro Ronceria’s “Amalgama”, as part of the 2015 PanAm games, and was “The face of Guatemala” in Young World Faces of PanAm by photographer Robert Young. She is a member of contemporary dance collectives The Pack and Fight Like A Girl, and continues to be invited as a guest teacher in universities and dance studios in Guatemala City.
Isabel has over 10 years of teaching experience in the areas of ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, acrobatics and creative dance. She works with children, youth and adults.
Currently Isabel is writing a book supported by her university thesis which draws on her experience in dance since she was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2013. The book will include real life stories and Isabel’s own reflections on the experiences she’s had since she was diagnosed with epilepsy and how these have influenced her personal life and artistic career. Click HERE to learn more about Isabel’s journey with epilepsy.
Jen Simpson is a singer/songwriter and the front woman for Toronto based band Neon Bloom and her solo act, Kit Vale. She is also a writer, crime buff, and visual artist. Jen experienced adult-onset epilepsy along with other health issues, and since then has found many ways to cope with her seizures and authentically rebuild her life. Neon Bloom will be performing the song “Take”, which was written at the beginning of Jen’s health struggles. While not explicitly about her experience with epilepsy, the song is about the loss that comes with illness and the many strains and difficulties it may create within relationships.
Steve “Bruce” Brunton is a musician, artist and animator living and working in Toronto, Ontario. He was diagnosed with epilepsy just over three years ago and has struggled to control his seizures since then, but this has not stopped him from working, making art and creating music. He’s very excited about the opportunity to share his work with such a supportive community and hopes to inspire others to keep going and keep fighting despite how difficult things may get. He will be presenting a self-produced animated music video for a previously unreleased song from his upcoming album.
To learn more about Steve’s journey with epilepsy, click HERE.