Canadian Stage Dreams big with High Park programming this summer

A maximum of 100 people per show can take in music, theatre, comedy, dance, film and more at outdoor amphitheatre from June to September


Canadian Stage has a big Dream this summer, and it involves live audiences and arts groups rediscovering its beloved amphitheatre in High Park.

For the past four decades, the theatre company has mounted its outdoor Dream in High Park productions of Shakespeare there. Last year, because of the pandemic, the amphitheatre was empty, save for walkers and the occasional interactive SummerWorks show.

Starting in June, however, Canadian Stage will be presenting a big slate of offerings including music (both pop and classical), theatre, comedy, dance, movies – plus lots of family programming.

“This summer brings us to a critical moment for arts and culture in this city,” says Brendan Healy, Canadian Stage’s artistic director, in a press release this morning.

“We hope to be entering a period of recovery and healing from the pandemic. We are all feeling tentative and yet are yearning for art and connection. What we wanted to do with High Park this summer is share it… in a way that facilitates the beginning of this recovery period ­– not just for us but for the community at large.”

Programming highlights

Highlights include three concerts by Polaris Prize-winning performer, composer, activist and musicologist Jeremy Dutcher (September 6 to 8 at 8 pm); BLACKOUT, three stories about people connecting during the famous blackout of 2003, created by Anton Lipovetsky and Steven Gallagher and presented by the company in association with Musical Stage Company (July 23 to August 15, 8 pm); Ladies And Gentlemen, Boys And Girls, a new play for young audiences about a trans boy and gender identity, presented in partnership with Roseneath Theatre (July 17 to 18 at 9:30 and 11 am); a night of stand-up comedy (July 12 at 7 and 9 pm); Box Concerts in partnership with Tapestry Opera in which a pop-up stage featuring tenor Asitha Tennekoon performs opera and musical theatre songs about connection and belonging (July 10-11 and 17-18 at 3 and 4:30 pm); Nowhen, a collaboration between the company and York University, dramatizing seven stories that happen around High Park before arriving at the amphitheatre (August 5 to 15, 3 pm); and Is My Microphone On?, a new play by Jordan Tannahill about young people confronting adults about climate change (September 2 to 19, 7:30 pm).

You can find the full list of programming here.

Safety protocols

In the before times, the amphitheatre had a capacity of more than 1000 guests. This summer, the cap will be 100 people in distanced groups of between one to four people from the same household. These numbers may change according to public health guidelines.

All shows will be less than 90 minutes. Masks are required. There will be timed entry into the space to ensure distancing, as well as on-site health screening. Sanitization stations will be set up. Dedicated safety officers will be on-site.

Tickets

Once outdoor performances are allowed to resume by the province, tickets for all the events will go on sale. Cost will vary depending on each show. The majority of shows will offer pay-what-you-wish pricing. At noon two days before each show, 50 percent of the tickets will be available, with a limited number available in-person starting at 45 minutes before each event.

As Aerosmith says, Dream on. Let’s get ready for an awesome outdoor season.

@glennsumi

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