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article imageOp-Ed: SummerWorks Performance Festival — Toronto August 8 to 18 Special

By Bryen Dunn     Aug 9, 2013 in Entertainment
Toronto - SummerWorks is one of Toronto's most innovative annual theatre festivals. Now in its 23rd year, a feat in itself, this is an opportunity to see ground-breaking, thought provoking, and challenging works by the city's best local talent.
Canada’s largest juried theatre festival features over 35 theatre productions and the return of the popular Music Series, Live Art Series and Performance Bar. As well, new this year is a series of international playwrights receiving new Canadian productions.
Featuring plays written by Adam Lazarus, Guillermo Verdecchia, Kevin Rees, Sky Gilbert, Jordan Tannahill, Cliff Cardinal, d'bi.young, Heidi Strauss, Greg MacArthur, Aurora Stewart de Peña and productions directed by Kelli Fox and David Ferry among others. SummerWorks also welcomes a piece produced by Mitchell Cushman who directed last year's hit show Terminus.
The 2013 SummerWorks National Series features five productions including How to Disappear Completely, making its SummerWorks debut after a successful run at Factory, and a piece by veteran artist Nadia Ross, entitled 7 Important Things. For the first time SummerWorks welcomes a full length piece from Berlin, as part of the International Series, titled Schützen by Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt and Matthias Meppelink.
Entering its second season, the SummerWorks Live Art Series showcases a variety of contemporary performance work from artists both locally and internationally. Each performance facilitates an immersive audience experience as they not only watch the piece, but become an essential element. This year the Live Art Series features 12 pieces, including the return of internationally acclaimed and homegrown talent bluemouth inc. Their performance allows audience members to navigate life and loss through the streets of downtown Toronto in their poetic and interactive performance entitled Field Guide.
Be sure to catch the Canadian premiere of Hello For Dummies, from the UK, conceived by internationally renowned artist Ant Hampton and Glen Neath. The piece connects two participants with shared headphones through which they are fed dialogue while not being allowed to see each others faces. Hampton is a critically acclaimed artist who's work has been featured in The New York Times. Cathy Gordon’s HAMMER which offers fanciful "processing techniques" for rage, compliance, feminism, and social responsibility, and At Your Service by Israeli artist Aharona Israel, is a one-on-one performance in which the artist leads a blind-folded participant through a chosen sensory experience.
SummerWorks Performance Festival presents this years Music Series, bringing collaborative indie concert experiences to its audience as well as Musical Works in Concert, and presenting three new musicals that push the boundaries of traditional musical theatre. The Music Series also includes six original pieces featuring acclaimed experimental folk duo Snowblink in partnership with Toronto-based scenographer Trevor Schwellnus, and in an unprecedented experiment, country-folk indie-rock collective The Wooden Sky team with award-winning theatre director Jennifer Brewin to present a travelling concert. The performance includes a multiple stop tour of the Shaw and Ossington area ending at the Black Box Theatre (Queen and Dovercourt) for a memorable concert experience. Transforming The Great Hall into a summer dreamscape, Maylee Todd with the help of Steve McCarthy present Maylee Todd’s Musical Planetarium, a synthesized version of her hit LP Escapology with a kaleidoscope of visuals and live projection designs made by award-winning filmmaker Tess Girard. The Music Series also features collaborative shows by Justin Rutledge and director Andrew Shaver, The Bicycles with Maggie MacDonald and Stephanie Markowitz and Absolutely Free with Michael Rubenfeld.
Finally, as part of the Youth Programming Series SummerWorks welcomes two productions from the Sears Ontario Drama Festival, as well as a piece from The Amy Project (Artists Mentoring Youth).
Five Fav's
1. Jackie's Not a Real Girl by Nichola (Nicki) Ward
2. Late Company by Jordan Tannahill, directed by Peter Pasyk
3. To Myself at 28 by Sky Gilbert
4. X by Sunny Drake, directed by Therese Collie
5. How Can I Forget by Sook-Yin Lee and Benjamin Kamino
The Festival runs August 8th-18th in multiple venues throughout the city
Click here for a full day-by-day schedule
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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