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Announcing SummerWorks Performance Festival programming at The Theatre Centre

July 9, 2024

The beloved SummerWorks Performance Festival returns to Toronto this summer from August 1-11, and this year’s programming has been revealed!

The Movements by Zuppa Works, Photo by James MacLean.

We’re delighted to announce that we’ll be partnering with The 34th SummerWorks Performance Festival to bring The Movements and Warm up to Toronto this August as part of our 10 for 10 programming.

What’s On at The Theatre Centre

Stewart Legere in The Movements, photo by James MacLean.

The Movements by Zuppa

Co-presented by SummerWorks Performance Festival and The Theatre Centre

August 7 – 9, 2024

Toronto Premiere

The Movements is high-octane theatre/dance performance about wealth inequality in the global economy, in the form of a precisely choreographed 90-minute workout routine. Learn more.

Mykalle Bielinski in Warm Up, photo by Maxime Côté.

Warm up by Mykalle Bielinksi

Co-presented by SummerWorks Performance Festival and The Theatre Centre

August 6 – 8, 2024

Toronto Premiere

In response to the climate crisis, Mykalle takes on the challenge of bearing the energy cost of her performance and producing her own electricity. Learn more.

Photo by Henry Chan.

Grant Office Hours

August 9, 1:30-3:30pm

This unique event brings together grant/program officers and managers from all three levels of government, to unpack and discuss the specific ways in which independent theatre and performance-based artists can engage with each Council’s funding programs.

Registration for both activities will open on July 11th!

Please note, there will also be a Grant Info Session earlier that day, 11am at Theatre Passe Muraille!

Photo by Henry Chan.

Art as Heart: Community Meal and Closing Brunch

August 11, 10am-12pm

Celebrate 11 days of incredible SummerWorks Performance Festival programming, with our longtime pals at The Theatre Centre. Join us for a lively, summertime community gathering and enjoy some delicious brunch delights. This event will feature live performance programming by co-curators, Bianca Lee and Irma Villafuerte.

All are welcome; no registration required. Follow SummerWorks.ca for updated information about this creative catered experience!

And there’s more…

Photo by Alexandra Stiller-Moldovan

Too Dirty to Clean by brawk hessel

August 6 & 10, 2024

BMO Incubator

Too Dirty to Clean is a filth-obsessed satire of the messy logic of purity and cleanliness.  Performed using cleaning and disciplinary tools, a beleaguered cleaner tries to restore order to a room as the mess and the implements takes on a life of their own. Cleanliness takes on a brand-new shiny veneer of filth and fun that playfully shadows and critiques our narratives of addiction while revealing the complex experience of ongoing recovery.
Puppeteer/performer brawk hessel has utilized their lived experience as a house cleaner and a recovering addict – who is now “clean” and sober – to create this twisted, antic-filled examination of the ever-incomplete process of cleaning up our act. Combining elements of object theatre, installation, clown and performance art, the audience is invited into the age-old question, “Who made this big mess?” Learn more.

Photo courtesy of artist.

Aye Caesar by Carolyn Fe

Co-presented with Cahoots Theatre

August 8, 2024

BMO Incubator

In this reading of a new original play, an elderly woman goes online shopping and is assisted by the store’s customer service representative.  A fondness develops and a trust builds — but is the bond enough to save a life?

In an increasingly illusory world, our reality and relationships ground us.  Aye Caesar explores elder loneliness and isolation, technology, grief, communication and the need for something… and someone… to hold on to. Learn more.

Photo courtesy of artist.

Versus by Quiptake Theatre

August 9 – 11, 2024

Franco Boni Theatre

Meet Gerald Bloom: overcommitted, overworked, undervalued, overstimulated, undernourished, and pulled in a million directions by friends, family, work, politics, health and enlightenment. Today is Gerald’s birthday and he is up against everything. Everything is a fight. Welcome to Versus – a workshop premiere of Adam Lazarus’ next mind bending vision.

From the creative team that brought you Daughter and The Art of Building a Bunker, Versus is another bouffon-inspired experience that examines a common feeling in the world we believe we’re all grappling with: feeling overcommitted, overworked, undervalued, overstimulated, undernourished, & pulled in a million directions by friends, family, work, politics, health & enlightenment.

How on earth do we fucking manage? There isn’t even time to cry!
Following a narrative that is both real & surreal, Versus showcases the mundane horror of human existence. Life is funny. Life is not funny. Learn more.

Photo by Andre Alvarez Oliva.

Homebuddies by So.Glad Arts & Its Not a Box Theatre

August 9, 2024

Lisgar Park

The Homebuddies are a roving collection of anthropomorphised houses ready to find their new owners. These little rascals are led around by the Property Manager, who tries to find the ideal spots for their neighbourhood — anywhere with untapped property value.

As they roam, the Property Manager invites the audience to participate in their world through a host of interactions, including dance, auctions, house-hunting (bow and arrow provided!), a petting zoo and much more — all to sell the Homebuddies to those most deserving. Compete to earn your Homebuddy, increase its property value and keep it out of trouble.
Currently in Canada there are 5 empty homes for every unhoused person; that’s 1.3 million empty homes that stand as monuments. A co-production between So.Glad Arts and It’s Not A Box Theatre, Homebuddies calls us to re-examine the relationship between the homes of our bodies and the bodies of our homes. Learn more.

Photo by Aidan Searle.

AWAKE & STILL DROWNING by Dustin Harvey / Secret Theatre

August 10 – 11, 2024

Franco Boni Theatre

AWAKE & STILL DROWNING is a 30-minute shared experience in VR and unsuspecting performance.  It is a cautionary fable about the day Nova Scotia becomes an island, told through a combination of virtual reality and group choreography in which watching and performing signify the high cost of human migration when the exploited ocean takes back what is hers. Learn more.

Photo by Andy Carroll.

slip away by Samantha Sutherland

August 9 – 11, 2024

Co-presented with Dancemakers

BMO Incubator

​​slip away, a solo created and performed by Samantha Sutherland, explores themes of loss and hope relating to the endangered state of the Ktunaxa Language. What happens when individuals are motivated by fear? What work needs to happen to develop a sense of hope for our future? This dance solo shares accounts of the current efforts toward preservation of the endangered language, and showcases dreams of how it may continue to be enlivened in the future.

slip away is presented as a double-bill performance with SUBJECT TO / خضوع. Learn more.

Photo by Deda Productions.

SUBJECT TO خضوع by Compagnie Jil Z / Mehdi Dahkan

August 9 – 11, 2024

Co-presented with Dancemakers

BMO Incubator

SUBJECT TO / خضوع is a solo performance that deals with the mutable nature of silence, whether chosen or forced. It raises questions about the symbolism of silence and proposes it as an alternative (and louder) form of protest. Inspired by the Tanjawi ritual of Europe-gazing, where individuals of different ages gather at the highest point of the city of Tangier and sit in contemplation, gazing at Europe for long periods, often without uttering a word, this meditative performance is the second part of a trilogy on the theme of rituals of protest and resistance.

SUBJECT TO / خضوع is presented as a double-bill performance with slip away. Learn more.

Long history of partnerships

What are are celebrating as part of our 10 for 10 programming is the number of partnerships that our building allowed us to cultivate over the last 10 years.

SummerWorks, Nova Dance, Aluna Theatre – Since moving to our forever home on 115 Queen Street West 10 years ago, we’ve worked with so many companies who return to The Theatre Centre year after year.

But our history with the SummerWorks Festival goes even further back!

When we were working from the basement of The Great Hall, we were a venue for SummerWorks shows. Our former Artistic Director, Franco Boni, was also the director of SummerWorks Performance Festival 20 years ago (2000-2004), bringing his unique curatorial vision to the festival. 

Since 2014, thanks to our forever home, we have been one of SummerWorks’ primary venues welcoming amazing works that expand the possibilities of performance.

From left to right: Morgan and Michael at our 10 for 10 party, photo by 852Tanagram

Now led by Michael Caldwell and Morgan Norwich, the 34th SummerWorks Performance Festival presents 11 days of bold creative expressions from a diversity of perspectives and lived experiences, that engage with the idea of survival, in both subtle and blunt ways, with nuanced complexity. 

Read the full Festival announcement!

With over 40+ events and activities, all curated and designed around the idea of gathering together in public space, this year’s Festival offers you a moment to pause and reflect, to dive into the energy and chaos, and to witness dynamic live performances by independent artists from across Canada, and around the world.