International + Education Info

Thank you for a fantastic 2016! We will begin announcing our 2017 Festival dates in August

About Canada

Memphis in May International Festival Salutes Canada in 2016

The Memphis in May International Festival International Week brings cultural events to community centers, museums, galleries, performing arts centers and schools throughout the city. Luncheons and lectures unite the resources of local government and professional cultural agencies with speakers, artists and celebrities from the honored country, opening doors for international commerce and exchange. While the cornerstone events like the Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest incorporate elements from the honored country’s culture, the International events pay special homage to the country’s past, present, and future. Ambassadors and Dignitaries from each honored country join in the fun by attending many of the Festival’s events, including a glamorous evening of dinner and dancing at the Memphis in May International Festival Gala.

Performances from Canada


TRACES – Les 7 doights de la main. Orpheum Theatre. Thursday, May 5 at 7:30 pm  
Created in 2006, contemporary circus-show Traces has been presented more than 1800 times before 1 million people in 25 countries and 200 cities around the world. The show has won multiple awards, was on TIME’s top 10 list in 2011, and was featured at the Union Square Theater in NYC for a whole year. Traces takes place in a make-shift shelter, an unknown catastrophe waiting outside the doors of tarp and gaffer tape. In the face of an impending disaster they have determined that creation is the only antidote to destruction. Poetic and explosive, humorous and thoughtful. Combining traditional acrobatic forms with street elements such as skateboarding and basketball, mixed in with some theatre and contemporary dance, it surprises, awes and delights at every turn.

“A thrillingly modern brand of circus."  --Time Out (New York, USA)
“A whole new kind of awe-inspiring theater...” -- NBC TV (USA)
 “Simply stunning!” -- Rolling Stone (New York, USA)
“Unforgettable.” -- The Telegraph (London, UK) 

WHEN IT RAINS. Halloran Centre.  Saturday, May 7 at 8:00 PM 

Is luck just probability taken personally? Are we the authors of our own happiness? When It Rains is a play in the form of a live-action existential graphic novel, lit entirely by video projector. This darkly funny original work tells the story of two couples. When improbable and unfortunate events occur, communication fractures, relationships crumble and behavior becomes absurd.Heartbreaking and visually arresting; When It Rains is an award winning new production from 2b theatre company, one of Canada’s most heralded touring companies. 

Mature content, audience 18+, brief nudity Runs 70 Minutes

“...stylish, playful, and clever.”  -- Mark Fisher, The Scotsman, Edinburgh  
“An entirely fresh form of theatre that is not just ‘new’, but powerful and provocative in its own right.”   --Peter Ingle, Charleston Today  
“Extraordinary theatre, wise and funny and human and profound, the best kind of drama…an unsentimental humanity and a clarity of directness of vision that’s rarely achieved in any art form that I know of.”  -- Martin Denton,, New York

Beale Street Music Festival

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Neil Young is in the pantheon of rock stars partly for the extraordinary groups he’s been in, including Buffalo Springfield, his own Crazy Horse and, of course, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. But there’s much more to the accomplished singer-songwriter, producer, director, screenwriter and entrepreneur as well, including his humanitarian efforts and social activism. The Canadian rocker’s got Grammy Awards, Juno Awards and scads of additional recognition, including dual membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1995 for his solo work and 1997 with Buffalo Springfield). He remains prolific and has recently found common cause with the young self-described “Cowboy Hippy Surf Rock” band Promise of the Real. The group (which includes Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah Nelson) first played shows in 2008 and released studio albums “Promise of the Real” in 2010 and “Wasted” in 2012. A couple of years ago, Young jammed with POTR and later asked them to be on his project “The Monsanto Years” (Young’s 36th studio album) and go on tour with him. The concept album is an expression of Young’s longtime crusade against corporate greed, particularly targeting the agri-chemical giant. It’s garnered positive reviews from numerous critics, although not so much from the executives at Monsanto.

Tom Lee Park, Memphis, Tennessee - Friday, April 29

Tickets available through Ticketfly                                               

World-Class Exhibits from Canada


Lace Up explores the history and importance of skating in Canada and gives a glimpse of three major ice sports: figure skating, speed skating and hockey.  

Skating is more than a great Canadian tradition. It is an important part of their national identity. The exhibition puts Canada’s love of ice sports into a historical and social context.  

Presented in conjunction with the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.

Goodwyn Gallery at Memphis Central Library 
3030 Poplar Ave.,  
Memphis, TN 38111 
May 1-May 31, 2016 
Monday-Thursday: 10AM-8PM,  Friday & Saturday: 10AM-5PM, Sunday: 1PM-5PM 
Admission: Free

Stories Told: 100 Years of the Jewish Public Library  

When it first opened its doors in 1914 under the name Folks Biblyotek, the Jewish Public Library was intended to be a public institution serving the entire Jewish community, regardless of political allegiance, religious denomination, language or cultural origin.
One hundred years later, this exhibition demonstrates how the Jewish Public Library still marvelously fulfills this mission for Jewish and non-Jewish communities alike.
Memphis Jewish Community Center
(901) 761-0810
6560 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38138
May 1 – May 31, 2016 
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 5:30 am – 9:45 pm, Friday: 5:30 am – 5:45 pm
Admission: Free

Eye of a culture: art from the canadian arctic

This exhibit is a collection of native textiles and prints from Baker Lake in the arctic region of Canada.
Mississippi River Museum at Mud Island River Park
(901) 576-7241
125 N Front St Memphis, TN 38103
May 1 – May 31, 2016 
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 5pm
Admission: Adults - $10, Seniors (60+) - $9 Youths (5-11) - $7, Children (4 and under)  - Free 

Passage to Freedom: Secrets of the Underground Railroad   

“Passage to Freedom” provides an opportunity to travel back to the 1800s to learn about slavery, the escape route called the Underground Railroad, and the challenges freedom seekers faced if they finally reached the “Promised Land” of Canada.
The exhibit is divided into three parts: 1) Slavery: stories of capture and life as a slave; 2) Escape: illustrations and narratives about the dangers of escape; signs, codes and symbols used; the messages in spiritual songs; the importance of the stars; the inventive escape methods including a box like the one used by Henry “Box” Brown to mail himself to freedom; and 3) Freedom: stories from former slaves and their descendants who found freedom and prosperity in Canada, and also those who found discrimination, racism, and even lynching.  
National Civil Rights Museum
(901) 521-9699
450 Mulberry Street Memphis, TN 38103
May 1 – May 31, 2016 
Hours; Closed Tuesdays, Monday & Wednesday – Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm,  Sunday: 1 pm – 5 pm
Admission: Adults - $15, Seniors & Students (with ID) - $14 Children (4-17) - $12, Children (3 and under) - Free 


From the traditions of the Komoyue tribe on the west coast of Canada are works in metal and wood. The raven, eagle, and orca are playfully depicted in sculptural works and engraved jewelry. Past and present are fused together creating uniquely Canadian works.

National Ornamental Metal Museum
(901) 774-6380 374
Metal Museum Drive
Memphis, TN 38106
May 1 – May 31, 2015
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10AM-5PM
Sunday: 12PM-5PM
Closed Mondays
Admission: Adults: $6, Seniors 62+ and Active Military (with valid ID): $5.00 Students (with valid ID) and Children 5-18: $4.00
Free for children under 5, Museum Members and tour bus operators


Capture Canada shares the beauty, uniqueness and hidden gems of Canada through the eyes of photographers. This exhibition will showcase: cities, sports, landscapes and the overall Canadian spirit. CUTLER Gallery’s “Canada House Project” will include the photography exhibition as well as other Canadian features & talks. Details to come soon.

Presented in conjunction with E=MC2 Evenements & Avenue Art Gallery of Montreal, Quebec.       

Canada House at The TVESCO Electric Warehouse 
(901) 254-8777
296 ADAMS Memphis, TN 38103
May 1 – May 31, 2016
Hours: Thursday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm 
Admission: Free

International Tour to Canada

The 2016 International Tour of Canada is April 1-9, 2016. Download the informational brochure here.

Contact Us for more information.

Speakers + Lectures

Architects of the World Lecture Series in partnership with AIA Memphis: Bruce Kuwabara

The Distinguished Architects of the World Series lecture is presented annually with AIA Memphis to celebrate the outstanding architecture and design of the celebrated country. Join us as we explore the unique architectural, cultural, social and economic environment of this year’s featured country – Canada. 

Bruce Kuwabara is one of Canada's leading architects. He is the recipient of the RAIC Gold Medal (2006) and in 2012 was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada for shaping ‘our built landscape in lasting ways.

A founding partner of KPMB Architects, he has earned public and critical admiration for projects of national significance such as Canada’s National Ballet School, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Bell Lightbox for the Toronto International Film Festival, and Manitoba Hydro Place. Also committed to raising the profile of Canadian architecture, he has taught at the University of Toronto and Harvard University and acts as an advocate for excellence in architecture, urbanism and sustainable design.

Location: The University Club of Memphis
1346 Central Avenue Memphis, TN 38104
May 3, 2016 at 11:30am
Cost: $20 which includes lunch
To purchase tickets please email (901) 525-3818

"St. Urbain Legends: A photo-story history of Jewish Montreal"

Presented by Eddie Paul: Head of Bibliographic & Information Services at the Jewish Public Library of Montreal

The Jewish Public Library’s (JPL) history describes the intellectual and cultural story of the Montréal Jewish population. Between 1899 and 1901, nearly 3000 Jewish immigrants escaped persecution in Russia and Romania by fleeing to Montréal. The major Jewish newspapers, schools and philanthropic organizations were founded in Montréal between the years of 1987 and 1914. In 1914, Reuben Brainin and Judah (Even Shemuel) Kaufmann founded the JPL as the Yiddishe Folks Bibliothek (The Jewish People’s Library) in the tradition of the former Jewish libraries in Tsarist Russia. In his lecture, Mr. Eddie Paul will trace the origins of the JPL. He will talk about the early political provocation that gave rise to its creation and the subsequent evolution of the library through the 20th century into to what it is today: a multicultural, multilinguistic entity with collections ranging from 15th-century print material to modern e-books.   

Jewish Community Center
(901) 761-0810 6560
Poplar Avenue Memphis, TN 38138
May 3 at 7:30 pm
Admission: Free  

Memphis in May - A Salute to Canada!

Wednesday, May 11th, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM 
TheNational Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103 Hooks-Hyde Hall
Keynote Speaker: Mary Hayes, President and CEO of Engage Learning Systems Toronto, Canada; Producer of the MemphisWorks initiative with the Greater Memphis Alliance for Competitive Workforce - a U.S. - Canadian partnership for building the talent base for career paths in technology.

International Business Council Presents "Doing Business With Canada"

The Greater Memphis Chamber’s International Business Council is hosting two events on Thursday, May 5th promoting business opportunities for Memphis companies in Canada, the honored country for Memphis in May International Festival for 2016. These annual business events take place each year to promote trade opportunities between Memphis companies and the honored country. Last month, a Memphis delegation (which included the Chamber’s Ernest Strickland) travelled to Canada to promote Memphis business opportunities with Canadian businesses and officials. Partners for this event include: Canadian National Railway (CN), U.S. Commercial Service, Memphis in May International Festival, Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta, World Trade Club-Memphis Chapter and Title sponsor, GP Cellulose of Memphis.   

Thursday, May 5, 2016
Memphis Botanic Gardens
750 Cherry Road
Memphis, TN 38117
10:00 am-1:00 pm

Goldsmith Room, Memphis Botanic Gardens
10:00 AM-11:15 AM

Speakers: Ernest Strickland, VP, International & Business Partnerships Greater Memphis Chamber
                 Robbin Hutton, Partner, Ford Harrison
                 Dylan Daniels, Sr. International Trade Rep U.S. Commercial Services
                 Greg McGinnis, Partner, Mathews Dinsdale & Clark, LLP
                 Mary Hayes, CEO, Workbay, LLC

Sarah’s Place, Memphis Botanic Gardens
11:30-1:00 pm
Keynote Speaker: Louise Blais, Canada’s Consul General in Atlanta

Cinema of Canada

Selected Canadian films will be screened every Wednesday evening in May at Studio on the Square, in conjunction with the Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa and Indie Memphis. 

May 4 at 7pm  |  Monsieur Lazhar (2011) by Philippe Falardeau

At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

May 11 at 7pm  |  The Forbidden Room (2015) by Guy Maddin

The latest film from auteur Guy Maddin (My Winnipeg). A never-before-seen woodsman mysteriously appears aboard a submarine that's been trapped deep under water for months with an unstable cargo. As the terrified crew make their way through the corridors of the doomed vessel, they find themselves on a voyage into the origins of their darkest fears. Winner of Best Canadian Feature Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association.

May 18 at 7pm  |  Stories We Tell (2012) by Sarah Polley

The documentary explores the director's own family's secrets—including one intimately related to Polley's own identity. A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers. Winner of dozens of Best Documentary awards by festivals and critic associations.

May 25 at 7pm  |   Videodrome (1983) by David Cronenberg

Cult auteur David Cronenberg's (The Fly, Scanners) violent take on media and politics is relevant now more than ever. A sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a very unusual fashion when he acquires a new kind of programming for his station.

MALCO Studio on the Square

2105 Court Avenue Memphis, TN 38138

General Admission $10

Indie Memphis Members & Student’s with IDs: $8

For more information, contact Indie Memphis

Cuisine of Canada

Chef Guillaume Cantin

Famed Chef Guillaume Cantin of Montréal will present a multi-course dining experience at Chez Philippe at the Peabody Hotel on May 7, 2016. 

Originally from Lévis, Quebec, Chef Cantin fell in love with good food during childhood, thanks to the culinary talents of his mother. He made his first entry into the restaurant business at the age of 15 as a dishwasher and was later discovered as the winner of the first season of Les Chefs!, Radio-Canada’s culinary competition. An avid traveler and fierce competitor, the chef always feeds from competitions and challenges. Holding several certifications (cooking, pastry, sommelier and management), his career has led him to Clocher Penché (Québec City), Panache (Québec City) and Maison Boulud (Montréal). At 31 years old, his motivation for great work and his passion are undeniable.  

2016 Five Course Menu
Oyster - apple, spruce, heart nut, celery
Raw rockfish - liver mousse, fennel, pork and verjus vinaigrette, wild caraway
Quail au foin - garnished with brussel sprouts, apricot, hazelnut, wild mustard
Maple glazed smoked bison - wild rice, butternut squash, wild ginger jus, sunflower
Red beet cake - served with berry sorbet, black walnut, dill

Peabody Hotel’s Chez Philippe 149 Union Avenue Memphis, TN 38103 901-529-4000 for information and reservations May 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Sysco is the proud sponsor of Memphis in May International Cuisine.

Saskatchewan Smokers - WCBCC INternational Team 

Rob Reinhardt of Prairie Smoke & Spice BBQ is the owner and operator of a barbecue cooking school, currently #1 team in Canada and a repeat winner in the in the Jack Daniels Invitational.

World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

May 12-14

International Gala

Featuring live entertainment from Petula Clark, The Temptations Review, Russell Thompkins Jr. and The New Stylistics, Deniece Williams, Candi Staton, Kim Weston, Ace Cannon, G.C. Cameron, Melba Moore, Gregory Abbott, and Anita Ward! 

The Peabody Hotel Grand Ballroom
149 Union Ave Memphis, TN 38103
May 6 at 6:30PM
Tickets $250 / Individual * $2,500/ Table * $5,000/ Sponsor Table
Get tickets here, call 901-525-4611 or email for additional information.