FREEUP! 2021


In partnership with CBC, the FreeUp! 2021 Emancipation Day Special features a curated line-up of Black, Indigenous and Racialized artists performing in theatres, at historical sites, and iconic Canadian landmarks from coast to coast! Talented emerging artists such as Ontario and Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Randell Adjei and Peace Akintade perform alongside marquee stars like Polaris-prize winner Haviah Mighty, and celebrated mono dramatist d’bi.young.

The themes for this year are land, connection, harmony, and freedom. Our artists will meditate on the phrase, to live in your truth when preparing their creative offering. 

From high-energy musical acts, intimate dance performances, thought-provoking spoken word and theatrical showcases – our artists are taking to indoor and outdoor venues, including theatre houses, historical sites, and iconic Canadian landmarks across the country — all to celebrate FREEDOM!

In anticipation of Emancipation Day being recognized as a national holiday, we have cultivated partnerships with presenters and grassroots organizations to ensure that this edition is a coast-to-coast event. 

What began as a Toronto open-mic event in 2017 as a way to celebrate and bring awareness to Emancipation Day, has grown into a nationwide festival, united in a borderless, multidisciplinary movement. FreeUp! is a high-profile platform for the cultural and artistic expression of diverse communities made up of young artists.

FreeUp! 2021 will be live-streamed on CBC Gem, used in over 15 million households across Canada. Last year’s FreeUp! Emancipation Day Special is nominated for the 2021 Canadian Screen Award for ‘Best Performing Arts Program’.